What to expect when expecting LUKE CAGE?

Creating a superhero TV series is always an iffy thing to do. And no matter what character you take up, it is always gonna be a hit and a miss. Even after you establish yourselves, you can fall to the depths of Tartarus as a show( Green cough, cough Arrcoughow). Now one of the biggest issues with tv series has been budget for big Special effects ( Smallville suffered a lot for that) and problems of confusion with Movie versions. Marvel Netflix has cleverly avoided these two issues with taking the lesser known characters (even Daredevil is not THAT big once you go outside us comics geeks) who are street level. And Luke Cage is no exception there. But with these properties, there comes a BIG RISK.

With the properties that Marvel Netflix is handling, there is always this question – DO I REALLY NEED TO SEE THIS?

yeah, yeah, if you are a comics nut like me , you are definitely watching it. Netflix Marvel has churned out some of the best material ever. But even then , you might wonder, is this a show I need to dedicate this weekend to, or can I take it easy?

Well, fortunately , there is enough info available now due to reviews to use to know what we can expect! So here it goes!

WARNING : We poor guys at Comicaddicts.com, unfortunately, are getting no preview copy obviously, so we rely on the lucky souls who do.

 

THE POSITIVES

1) THE CHARACTERS IN LUKE CAGE :

1. LUKE CAGE:

From what we hear, Luke Cage is kinda the Captain America of the Defenders. While the others like Daredevil or Jessica or Punisher in this world thrive on moral ambiguity, Luke is all about doing the right thing. He is the guy who believes in ” with great power…” thing. He does everything that he can, because he thinks he should. And there is nothing that is beneath him, as long as it is for the good.

And the good thing is, it works. Marvel succeeds in showing us that someone who tells the truth, stands up to the bullies, and doesn’t kill can be a really compelling character!  This is the Journey of Luke Cage as he finds his own place in the world and his purpose, and it is awesome!

Casting wise, Mike Coulter is just perfect. In fact, expect a significant improvement in the character from what we saw in Jessica Jones. The action is much better, though don’t expect any Ninja moves here. Luke is a bullet proof one man army and he fights like one.

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Luke Cage

Character wise, Luke has been given a beautiful arc and Coulter has nailed the character. Expect him to be one of the better interpretation of a Comics hero that Marvel has done.

2. Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes:

One of the biggest strengths of Marvel Netflix has been its villains, just as its bigger sibling on silver screen has faltered there. Luke Cage, thankfully is no exception. ( Though I will take this chance to send The-One-Above-All a request that an exception occurs in Doctor Strange!)

Mahershala Ali‘s Cottonmouth is JUST BRILLIANT. Some reviews have gone as far as calling him the MVP of the show. Expect a villain as nuanced as Kingpin. Ali has given a brilliant performance and created a character with depth, just like Kingpin.

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Expect someone who is not just the bad guy for the sake of being the bad guy. Oh, he will be evil. But expect him to have a side of his story that might leave you feeling a bit sympathetic to him.

3. HARLEM:

One the biggest things that comes across from the reviews is that Harlem itself is a leaving breathing character that makes its presence felt throughout the series. Unlike DD and JJ, the series takes place in a real place with a vibrant and colorful culture with shades across the spectrum. the series takes the time to make the best of it to create a vivid and realistic picture that would resonate with anyone leaving in Harlem or a similar community.For the rest of us, it shows us a glimpse into this world that we might never first hand experience.

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I know Black Panther is getting huge credit for being a major movie with 90% African-American cast, and Spider-man : homecoming is getting the same for 50% + non white cast, but before all that arrives, Luke Cage has already done that and more. This is the unapologetic African-American superhero and superhero show that was awaited.

 

3. Misty Knight :

One other major problem a Superhero production faces is the LOVE INTEREST. They end up inconsequential(Thor), wasted (Iris West in Flash) or may spell doom for the show itself ( Green Arrow).

Fortunately, Simone Missick has been hailed as absolutely brilliant in the show. Unlike most times, this love interest might be connected heavily to the hero, but doesn’t mean that she revolves around him only. She gets her own arc, which Simone has done so well, this is what Jeff Loeb had to say about her.

Simone just knocked it so far out of the park that we’re still trying to find the baseball. It’s somewhere out there traversing the globe. So it’s really great. And I can tell you that what she’s doing on Luke cage, it’s just incredible. The fans are really going to love it. – Jeph Loeb

Misty’s on-screen chemistry with Luke Cage has also been called “off the charts”, something Marvel Netflix has missed out on so far…

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Misty Knight is already confirmed for THE DEFENDERS event and there are even rumors of her getting her own tv series.

 

5. Claire Temple

While Claire will again be a supportive character, expect a more powerful role, if not longer. Rosario Dawson has done a fantastic job!

 

6. Others:

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Fortunately, performance and character wise, Luke Cage wins across the board. Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard should be the surprise package of the show from the looks of it. Other supporting characters like Rafael Scarfe and “Shades” Alvarez  have gotten praise too!

 

2) Music:

Just like Harlem, Music is a live , breathing character that is an integral part of the show. It is being hailed as the best soundtrack that you wil have heard in a superhero production, some saying even better than GoTG in some ways.Music is a major part of the show’s identity and really helps Luke Cage stand out in a satisfying way.The show’s mix of rap, R&B gems, and deep blues cuts is just brilliant!

The show runner Cheo Hodari Coker wrote for Rolling StoneVibeThe Source, and XXL and it shows how much effort he has put in it! Expect it to rule your playlist soon!

3) The over all tone of the show :

This is a much more thought provocative show than anything Marvel has done now. With the issues that the African-American community is facing at the time, Luke Cage is being hailed as one of the most socially relevant show coming to you this year. This will also be the biggest political statement that Marvel has made. The show ill continue to hold the darker shades that DD and JJ has set. While it may not look as impressive as DD and JJ straight away, reviewers are saying  that in terms of quality and commitment to  characterization and story, Luke Cage is miles ahead.

 

 

THE NEGATIVES

 

Everything has a flip side. And everyone has their own preferences. So there are very few things that get universal love, and even they will have some detractors. For example, some people think Star Wars suck. Well, I feel that should be considered a punishable offense but hey, it is just my opinion. 😛 And people are free to make their own mistakes. 😛 😛 😛

 

  1. As  I said, Luke Cage is being hailed as a more cerebral show. Which means that it is not gonna be as fast paced as shows like Daredevil or the Flash. There will be times when you get more monologues than you would like.
  2. What we know is only from the previews of first 7 episodes. While we do expect that it will maintain that level, but some loss of steam like Jessica Jones experienced in 8th and 9th might strike here too.
  3. Action will be less that, let’s say DD season 2 and it will not have the finesse that DD had. But then again, it should not. This is exactly how a bulletproof man would fight. he is a tank, he doesn’t need flashy moves. He is a street brawler with no training for martial arts either.

IN  CONCLUSION

THE POSITIVES

  1. A strong hero with a good arc.
  2. An excellent villain with a point of view of his own.
  3. Brilliant recreation of Harlem.
  4. Fantastic Love interest/Female lead.
  5. Great support cast.
  6. Awesome music that is deeply integrated into show.
  7. Show with a soul.
  8. A powerful sociopolitical message.
  9. Action accurate to the character.
  10.  Great writing, direction and editing leading to a beautiful experience.

THE NEGATIVES

  1. Less action, more cerebral show.
  2. Less “stylized” action.
  3. Details of last 6 episodes not known now.

All in all Luke Cage is a critical success for sure. Question is …

WILL WE LOVE IT AS MUCH?

Well, Stay tuned for our review next week. Looking forward to your response!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vit Patel

An overworked doctor and a passionate Comics fan, who like Chandler Bing will use sarcasm to hide his pain. I will love it or hate it, that is how I will review!

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