‘Marvel’s Luke Cage’ Season 2 Review: Sweet Christmas It’s All About The Villains

Luke Cage Season 2 Netflix Marvel

When Luke Cage appeared in the first season of Jessica Jones and it was announced that he’d segue into his own series, fans were excited to see Marvel’s wokest hero getting his time in the spotlight. Luke Cage season one was nearly masterful. The first half of the season has one of the greatest arcs for a villain that I’ve ever seen in a Marvel/Netflix series. That all falls apart in the latter half of the season when they introduce us to a much different villain and then the plot starts to get wacky and a little bit zany. Cage also appeared as a centrifugal character in the Marvel/Netflix team-up The Defenders. What we saw from him in that series seemed like the second season of Luke Cage could be a little bit different.

After a rocky start, Luke Cage season 2 develops itself into something masterful. The first five or six episodes build up the story and villains leading us on a very different journey for our hero. Cage gets caught up in a war that withstands his tenure in Harlem, giving the antagonists a chance to shine. The show may be called Luke Cage, but don’t get it twisted — season two is all about the villains. If season one introduced us to some brilliant antagonists with Shades and Mariah, season two uses a nitro boost and shifts them into an arc that involves money, guns and a lot of family drama. It’s like the producers took what worked in season one and put them right in the center of the story. The story envelops the villains as they’re put at the forefront and Luke Cage gets caught up in a war between Bushmaster and Mariah Stokes while trying to protect Harlem. By the end of the season, we see a much different Cage because of it and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for the character but it’s an interesting thing for the series.

Mike Colter is back as Luke Cage and it feels like he’s finally found his footing in the role. He’s the overseer of Harlem and after a stint in prison, he’s now dealing with the fame that comes with being a bulletproof, super-powered black man. The late Reg E. Cathey plays Cage’s estranged father and as with any performance by Cathey, he knocks it out of the park. Cathey’s dialogue and chemistry with Colter plays so well on screen you actually believe they’re related. Simone Missick is back as Misty Knight and she’s got a new arm. Misty is back in the Force and is dealing with her missing limb as well as being treated differently by her co-workers as well as her superiors. The arc that she has this season turns her character into something great and very relatable. She’s dealing with whether she believes in police work or vigilantism and Missick is a delight in this role.

Rosario Dawson returns as Claire and she is a catalyst for Luke’s growth this seasons as tensions run high between them, causing some interesting things to happen to Luke. Dawson doesn’t have much to do this time around but she does deliver a powerful speech that lingers throughout the season. Finn Jones returns as Iron Fist and he’s a completely different character. Netflix brass probably paid attention to complaints and gave him a soft reboot. I’m actually looking forward to seeing more of him in the second season of Iron Fist. His interactions with Luke were beyond perfect and it was like seeing a Heroes for Hire comic book in live-action. I would really love for them to have a spin-off. Jessica Henwick also makes an appearance as Colleen Wing and she has a great Daughters of the Dragon moment with Misty Knight busting some heads in a bar. Her role in this season is more so as guidance to Misty to dealing with her injury as well as helping her get that cool new Rand Industries arm. With the little screen time she received, you can’t help wanting more of Colleen Wing.

The supporting cast that stood out in season one is back and all of the characters do a damn good job at helping Cage. Sugar, Bobby Fish and D.W. all return and have a role to play throughout the season. Ron Cephas Jones as Bobby Fish is something the series can’t do without. His mentoring of Cage after Pops’ death is very important to the series and it shows in season two. Sugar was one of Cottonmouth’s thugs in season one and Luke scared the crap out of him leading him to where he’s at in season two and his entire arc is brilliant, to say the least. You could even say that Sugar is quite possibly the heart of the series. D.W. was the kid selling bootleg DVDs in season one and in season two he’s one-upped himself. He has become good friends with Cage and business is definitely booming. His final scene was one of the most powerful moments of the season.

The villains were the main event of Luke Cage season two. From start to finish, the focus was on Alfre Woodard’s Mariah Stokes. Alfre Woodard showed us through each episode of season one how far she and Mariah was willing to go and season two turns that up a notch. Mariah has spent the last two seasons becoming a force to be reckoned with. We all thought she met her match with Luke Cage, but introducing someone just as powerful without Cage’s compunction for being polite puts the fear of god in her. Woodard’s performance in season two is something I’ve never seen in a series. Her powerful delivery is one of the best performances I’ve seen in a Marvel series and it almost rivals Jon Bernthal’s performance as The Punisher in Daredevil season two. Mustafa Shakir’s Bushmaster is a nuke that turns Harlem into a war zone. Bushmaster is a villain that makes you second guess your position in the series. His backstory is so disturbing that you almost feel for him and understand his actions. His performance was full of rage, pain and vengeance and you almost want him to succeed. The clashes with Cage are some of the best fights I’ve seen in the series and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Bushmaster. Theo Rossi is also back as Shades, the villainous henchmen of almost everyone in the series. This season, Shades has a lot going on and Rossi plays the role masterfully. The emotional layers of Shades are slightly peeled off ,and by the ending, Rossi and Shades will shock you.

Overall Thoughts: Luke Cage season two is definitely better than its predecessor. It’s a slow build but once it picks up this is definitely a series you’d want to binge. Mike Colter brings it as Cage. Misty Knight’s arc will be very empowering to viewers of all ages. The cameos are some of the best things any Marvel series has done on Netflix. This season’s focus on its interesting villains and powerful message is at the forefront. If you’re a fan of the Marvel/Netflix offerings, this is definitely the next series you should watch.

Score: 8.5/10

The 10 Strongest Members Of The Avengers, Ranked

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The Avengers Marvel ComicsWithout a doubt, the Avengers are the mightiest team in the Marvel Universe. When villains hear Captain America yell “Avengers Assemble,” they know they need to get out of there ASAP. Jam-packed full of some of the strongest superheroes in comics, super villains need to think twice before messing with The Avengers. Over the years, the team’s various incarnations have saved the Earth from all kinds of destructive plots.

The powerful heroes on the Avengers are the only thing that stand between Earth and destruction on an almost constant basis. Without every one of the Avengers listed below, the Earth and all its inhabitants likely would have already met their death at the hands of a dastardly villain like Doctor Doom or the Skrulls.

Hit Next to read on about the ten strongest members of the Avengers! 

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Nate Brail

Nate Brail

Executive Editor. Lion. Geek. Friendly neighborhood A-Hole Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @NateBrail