Marvel has done it again. This time it’s in the form of one Luke Cage.
The hype surrounding Marvel has become very real when it comes to their releases for film and television. Marvel isn’t alone in the effort as Netflix has become a new vehicle for tremendous programming as evident these past couple of years. The hype is in fact so big that the release of Luke Cage caused the streaming giant to crash the day of release.
Luke Cage, along with Daredevil and Jessica Jones, are helping further develop and add depth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These shows, however differ from the movies with a darker and much more adult feel.
Centered in a dark and gritty Harlem, New York Luke Cage continues what the other aforementioned shows started. Which is creating a universe within a universe, all interweaving within each other seamlessly. Luke Cage immediately references to the events of Jessica Jones, the events of The Avengers, and later on Night Nurse appears. If you have seen Jessica Jones then you’re already aware that Luke Cage makes his first appearance in that series. Night Nurse appears in all three of the Marvel/Netflix shows. These are just a few examples of how these shows mesh together. Without getting into any spoilers the show pits the hero Luke Cage against classic comic-book villain, Diamondback, and Luke Cage’s journey to clear his name after being framed for crimes he did not commit.
Though I did enjoyed the series I do have very specific highs and lows about Luke Cage. To get the elephant in the room out of the way, the apparent hot topic on social media that the show is “too black” was a nonfactor for me. I actually appreciated the Cheo Hodari Coker and the show runners for having it as “black” as it was, I use that term loosely because for me it was more Hip Hop than anything. I mean the show is based in present day Harlem what did people expect to see? At the end of the day this is a comic book story and the fact that show was very heavy in African American/Hip Hop culture from the cast to the music was great. I myself am not African American but have a 20 year history in the hip hop culture so I appreciated so many things about the show. From the awesome sound track, to some of the cameos made in the show, all the way to the title of each episode also being the title of a Gang Starr song.
The show did have a couple of standout performances for me. Mahershala Ali as Cottonmouth was spectacular, in my eyes he played the part perfectly and probably had the breakout performance of the show. In addition Simone Missick as Misty, Rosario Dawson as Night Nurse, and Theo Rossi as Shades added very strong performances to the show.
All in all it the show was a great addition to the MCU but, it can’t go without pointing out the lows. There is a twist in the series that occurs about half way through that really did a disservice overall because of the character involved. There are a few other things that I took issue with and I’m not sure if it was just the way things turned out or if it was by design. One of those things being with the performances of Mike Colter (Luke Cage) and Erik LaRay Harvey (Diamondback). Colter seemed very non-convincing and Harvey seemed to be over doing it. Towards the end of the show I couldn’t stand the Diamondback character. Another thing that bothered me about the show were the fight scenes, some weren’t that great. Lastly there were some portions of the show that were kind of cheesy in action and dialogue. Again I do think this was a great entry to what Marvel/Netflix have been adding to the MCU and more to the favor of adults than anything.
So for comic fans I feel that it is a must see especially since more shows are slated to be released soon like Iron Fist and the Defenders. All of the movie releases in the MCU thus far have gone no further than a PG-13 rating to gain viewership of children for many obvious reasons. Cartoon adaptions, clothing, toys, and the list goes on. From a business stand point this is completely understandable and most diehard comic book fans aren’t complaining (unless the movie/show is just flat out terrible) because this is, in fact, the greatest time to be alive for comic book fans.
Aired Fall of 2016
Creator: Cheo Hodari Coker
Original comic: Luke Cage, Hero for Hire