Marvel’s Luke Cage debuted on Netflix last Friday and it’s indeed another good Marvel/Netflix series added to the catalog. It is a continuation from where Jessica Jones left off and we get some origin stories into the mix. What’s great about these shows and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is that everything is connected together and they do solid job in continuity and making each show feel like it is a part in subtle manner. In case you didn’t know, Luke Cage will eventually meet up with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist and in a mini-series to defend NYC against an undisclosed threat (which is likely The Hand..you’ll need to watch Daredevil and The Defenders teaser trailer to know what I’m talking about).
First, lets take some time to talk about Rosario Dawson as she has been an essential part in the Marvel/Netflix series. She plays Claire, a nurse with the willingness to help others that finds the passion to want to help superheroes. She had a pretty good sized role in the first season of Daredevil and had a couple cameos on season two while only having one essential cameo in Jessica Jones. But on Cage, she has a larger role and appearing in more episodes. She’ll need some funding to pursue her passion because taking care of people is likely exhausting and expensive if you’re using up your own money! But I guess that is where Danny Rand (a.k.a. Iron Fist) comes in as the rich kid who inherits family money and becomes a kung fu master bearing the mystical powers of the Iron Fist. If you’re unfamiliar with the comic books, Luke Cage and Iron Fist team up as Heroes for Fire to help those in need. I believe that is the direction that Marvel is going with with possibly adding Misty Knight into the fold as well since she plays Rand’s girlfriend in the comics.
Now, Mike Colter has done a great job playing Luke Cage and I know some fans may have been skeptical at first but he was awesome. Each time he says “Sweet Christmas” I end up laughing because it’s corny and was used in the comics. Remember, the comics were from the 70’s! But they poke some fun at it when Cage is wearing a teairra and yellow shirt for brief time while on the run from the cops. There’s some humor throughout the series, especially on the topic of “coffee” and the action was sufficient. It’s apart from what Daredevil was, only because Cage is a bulletproof, one-punch knock out type of guy. But the soundtrack was phenomenal which was produced by Adrian Younge who has worked Delfonics and Wu-Tang by delivering that funk and jazzy sound from the 70’s. You’ll hear songs from Ghostface, Method Man, Raphael Saadiq and original compositions. When watching Cage, you definitely felt like you were watching a contemporary remake of a 70’s gangster flick that takes place in the Bronx. Kudos to Younge.
As for the antagonists, there were a few to name and the show actually gives you a couple twists as to who really is the larger threat. Without spoiling it, I’ll say that the finale felt anti-climatic but I think they did that on purpose to provide an open ending for a next season. You have Luke Cage who can rip through any organization and tear them down physically but in the end, how much has he really accomplished? You realize everything he has done has only been a short fix to a much bigger problem and he’s not the only one who realizes that as others go through the repercussions of challenging a corrupt system. For example, Misty Knight played by Simone Willick did a wonderful job in playing out the frustrations of trying to do right within the criminal justice system as she goes for a couple whirls and based on her blinded decisions she paid the consequences of it. With Erik LaRay Harvey, he always brings that over dramatic “don’t fuck with me” type of attitude and I think it’s great for this type of show as I loved him in Boardwalk Empire. But it’s good to know there will be more story to tell with him in the near future as well.
Overall, I recommend this show but if you haven’t watched the other Marvel/Netflix shows, I suggest you do so as they all tell a story. Although, they are connected to the Marvel movies as well, you can do without having to be sped up on all of them. At the end, what we do know is they’ve set up Luke Cage for something larger for the next time we see him as he’ll likely be meeting a familiar lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen who will be doing a favor for Claire.