Secret Invasion is only into its fourth week on Disney Plus but the MCU series is already impressing at-home viewers with its skilled camera work and character dialogue.
During the show’s third episode, “Betrayed,” a tense moment between Skrull enemies Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) and Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) revealed a long-advertised scene that finally unfolded in its entirety. After the latter asks the former for a parlay, the two met up at the cafeteria of a historical museum to talk things out.
As pointed out by Twitter user @straw_hat_goofy, the camera positioned Talos on the left side of the screen with Gravik on the right. This essentially creates a visual representation of the scene’s dynamics; because he called the meeting and made sure it was in a public setting, Talos is in charge. However, after Gravik threatens to kill Talos’ daughter, G’iah (Emilia Carke) — which is another well-scripted foreshadowing — the people in the cafeteria jump to their feet and shape-shift into Gravik, revealing they are more than bystanders.
It is a simple camera technique, but it has a massive payoff when done properly. Director Ali Selim’s creative choice perfectly married the story’s script, and in doing so, elevated the scene’s tension more than it would have had both actors simply talked across from one another in a wide-angle shot.
Although Secret Invasion may not be taking off as much as Marvel hoped, its grip on the narrative is far firmer than some recent MCU installments (ahem, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law). As @straw_hat_goofy put it, “This show is already operating at such a different level,” be that in the form of unprecedented graphic scenes or a storyline that leans on the tones of an espionage thriller.
It’s a nice change of pace for the MCU, and if the superhero franchise has any hopes of keeping audiences on its toes, it’d do best to continue this character-driven plot and skillful directing in future films and TV shows.
New episodes of Secret Invasion premiere every Wednesday on Disney Plus.