By Jeremy Julian @FAITHFULMANTIS
Sweet Christmas! Marvel has released the third show in its “Defenders” series on Netflix. Luke Cage, also known as Power Man is a hero that Marvel created back in 1972 but was never featured in a live-action role in film or TV.
That changes with the first season of Marvel’s new show “Luke Cage.” It stars many notable actors like Mike Colter as Luke, Rosario Dawson as Claire and Simone Missick as Misty Knight. The show also has a strong cast of villains, portrayed by actors like Alfre Woodard, Mahershala Ali, and Theo Rossi.
The show takes place in Harlem, New York and it is immediately apparent that this show has a hip-hop vibe to it. The incredible soundtrack is produced by hip-hop producer Adrian Younge and Tribe Called Quest Member Ali Shaheed Muhammad. The Wu-tang and East Coast rap fueled soundtrack helps set the overall tone for the show.
Luke Cage has impenetrable skin, super strength and a fast healing ability, making him almost invincible. The show explains how he got his powers in a series of flashbacks to his time in prison. His powers are forced on him in a chamber, similar to how Wolverine gets his.
Mike Colter is excellent in his role as the hero, but the real star of the show is Simone Missick, who plays Misty Knight. She’s a Harlem detective that is as important to the story as Luke. Her character is so well written and acted, she stands out above the others. She puts on a powerful performance as a cop who just wants to help her city and get the truth.
For the most part, the main villains of the show are fantastic throughout the season. Cottonmouth and Mariah are played by Ali and Woodard. The relationship between them and their status in Harlem are integral to the story.
Cottonmouth is a big time mob boss that basically owns Harlem, and Mariah, his cousin, is a crooked councilwoman. The two villains’ relationship with each other is very heated throughout the show but they depend on one another and are fueled by their hatred of Luke Cage.
What stands out about this show is that it differentiates itself from other superhero shows by its story presentation and how it touches on real world issues.
The show doesn’t just involve a superhero that is black, it is a black show to its roots. It touches on aspects in the black community from police brutality to gang violence and how it ties to all of the characters involved.
In this show, Luke Cage is a bulletproof black man that wears a hoodie, and that is no coincidence. Mike Colter spoke about why this character wears a hoodie and how it is a political statement to the stereotype of black men in hoodies. Unfortunately, many people see “thug” when they see a black man in a hoodie but in this case he is a hero.
Marvel’s Netflix shows are great in their own way and Luke Cage is no exception to that. It differentiates itself enough from the others to hold up on its own while still having strong ties to the other series.
The most unique thing I initially noticed about the show is that it has this vibe I haven’t seen in many shows before. It gives lessons on black history while playing an East Coast Hip-Hop soundtrack, which gives the show its roots in blackness.
Where the show doesn’t have as many cool and well choreographed fight scenes as other superhero series, it makes up for it in its smart and politically charged story that resonated with me.
“Luke Cage” is a well-written superhero show with a narrative that draws real world issues into its plot. It’s a dark, gritty and violent series but it is also fun to watch throughout the 13 episodes. The soundtrack makes the show what it is. It captures the vibe of everything that is going on and adds to the overall storytelling.
Overall, “Luke Cage” is a great show that tells a riveting story throughout the 13 episodes and does it in a smart and socially aware way. The narrative is well-structured and has real development among its many characters.
It’s a straightforward story of a man trying to save his city from the forces of evil but it tells it in a manner that relates to real issues in communities today. From the fight scenes to the dialogue and soundtrack, it is a great show all-around and I recommend anyone to watch it.