Over the past few years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t just been expanding on the big screen, but also as of 2015 with their Netflix products with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and now their third series: Luke Cage. After having been introduced to Mike Colter’s Luke Cage in the second season of Jessica Jones, Colter is now getting to expand his character in his own series. In the first seven episode that I was previewed to – no worries, this is a spoiler free review -, to put it in short terms at first: Luke Cage absolutely 100% lives up to the name “Power Man”.
Something that might surprise viewers is that this show isn’t as dark as Daredevil Season 2 or season one of Jessica Jones, in my opinion. It does have the same grittiness and intensity – if not more – as those two shows, but it just doesn’t feel as dark as the two of them, which was a surprise to me. Luke’s world definitely features dark elements, but it doesn’t really have those levels of darkness that Daredevil and Jessica Jones have. Although that could possibly change in the remaining episodes that I have yet to see when it comes out on September 30, so we will see if the tone is the same.
Just like the two previous Netflix/Marvel series, the creative team behind Luke Cage has assembled a tremendous cast of extremely talented actors portraying these characters. If you had already fallen in love with Colter’s portrayal of Luke on Jessica Jones, then your love for this character is only going to grow when you see what he delivers in his own show. Simone Missick’s Misty Knight is a breakout character that kicks butt, has a fascinating chemistry with Colter and is someone that is just fun to follow. Misty never feels like a sidekick or secondary to Luke, she is able to be on equal ground with Luke and you are rooting for her as much as you are rooting for Luke.
It’s almost impossible to compare the villains of each of these shows, with Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin, David Tennant’s Kilgrave and the power players in Luke Cage. Each of these antagonists are written and portrayed beautifully in so many different ways, that it becomes impossible to compare. What Mahershala Ali’s Cornell Stokes and Alfre Woodard’s Mariah Dillard bring to the table, is intense, fun, but also complicated in a good way. That is one of the few things that sets Luke Cage apart from the previous Netflix shows, is that we have two power players to deal with for our protagonist. The two characters have a very complex relationship, but you can’t help but love it. Without going too much into specifics about Theo Rossi’s Shades, he is just as intimidating so make sure to watch out for him.
While not part of the main cast as a series regular, Rosario Dawson’s presence is 100% greatly appreciated as you can’t have enough Claire Temple in your life. She continues to have that extra touch that the Marvel Netflix shows need and is continuing to be a great connecting thread, in a similar way that Clark Gregg’s Phil Coulson had in Phase 1 of the MCU. While we have many voices of reason on the show, Claire’s voice stands out a lot more, in particularly with her interaction with Luke and it’s a dynamic that I think many will come to enjoy very quickly.
From a comic book perspective when looking at this show, it definitely delivers of being a superhero show as well as the comic book history that Luke Cage has. However just like with Daredevil and Jessica Jones, this show doesn’t just have a superhero tone to it, as it goes beyond just being a show about a man whose skin is unbreakable. The world of Harlem is fascinating as the writers and the show portrays Harlem as its own character in many ways. As I mentioned before, the show is definitely dark, but not as dark as one would think, even though with the topics they touch on, are intense, but in an important way.
If I were to describe Luke Cage with just one word: it would be soul. Not just the character of Luke, but the show itself with all of its characters, the story that it is telling and more. There is a lot of great and fun action because let’s face it, when you are dealing with a superhero who is unbreakable and super-strong, you are in for a treat. The tone of the series also does fit in quite nicely within the MCU, while being able to stand on its own, but again, definitely matches this big world that Marvel Studios has built.
The fact that we are finally getting the first African-American superhero show and having seen these first seven episodes has me extremely excited for the rest of the world when they see Marvel’s beloved Power Man on September 30. December may be the month of Christmas, but September is without a doubt the month of Sweet Christmas, all thanks to Luke Cage.
“After a sabotaged experiment leaves him with super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) becomes a fugitive who attempts to rebuild his life in modern day Harlem, New York City. But soon he is pulled out of the shadows and must fight a battle for the heart of his city _ forcing him to confront a past he had tried to bury.”
Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 1 will be released on Friday, September 30, only on Netflix.com/MarvelsLukeCage. In case you haven’t seen them, check out our Comic-Con interviews with the cast and crew of Luke Cage.