Marvel become the Target of television and film, while there are many stores like it, the quality separates it from all the others. With Daredevil being the golden standard thus far, we were given Jessica Jones shortly after, a second season of Daredevil, and finally Harlem’s very own Luke Cage. A character created in the blaxploitation era in the 70’s, Cage has always represented a black excellence, but beyond his color, a hero every man and woman can call their own. Marvel cast Mike Colter, an near flawless actor in terms of fitting the build (literally) of the title character, and with an afrocentric soundtrack that bumps like acne we are taken for a fascinating look at the streets of Harlem set in the Marvel Universe.
Like the two previous shows mentioned, this stands on it’s own in a world that doesn’t need Iron Man, Captain America, or any of the other Avengers because they tell different stories. Luke Cage is a man working in a barbershop for a respected Harlem figure who requires the young and old men to hold themselves with respect while in his shop. That dynamic evolves and exists frequently through Cage and sets up the powerful character early and effortlessly. With every character we get introduced to, we are seeing important perspectives of figures who have plenty of fruitful things to say. It’s like actually being in a black barbershop in the city in most cases which gives the show a surprisingly warm feel while a Daredevil gave a more gritty look into the streets of New York.
DISCLAIMER: There is definitely some usage of the n-word in the show so don’t get taken by surprise
For the first five episodes I was glued to the screen, constantly wanting to see where the story was going to take me, and I absolutely loved where it was going. Sadly, the show takes a short period to slow us down and tell us the histories of certain characters (that’s expected), but to some degree it almost didn’t need to explain anything just yet. To be fair, I’m sure they needed to fill the episode quota, and fans would have clamored for explanations anyways so maybe that’s just me. Beyond that, the villains in this show end up taking the reins as the most compelling of all the characters in the show beyond the return of a certain Daredevil character that fines and I included loved.
For me, the show always look nice aesthetically, but doesn’t pack as much a punch as I would have hoped as far as action. Instead, I’m given more of a great drama, which, if I had known would be so culturally relevant would have made the show that much better. I’m starting to think the show didn’t need any super-powered characters to be gripping and compelling original television. The characters alone are enough to sell it for you, but in the long run, a black man in a hoodie who just so happens to be bulletproof is enough to sell most of us into watching it.
The show falters the hardest by not allowing certain characters to develop further. What we get is a plethora of bad guys that just seem to be growing like hydra heads without anything really stopping them, which in the long run may be what makes them so threatening… Nonetheless, the show is worth the watch and it backs some emotional punches as well as humorous banter between a few of the characters like any good show ends up doing while also engaging you with a more humanistic story rather than about a character who just so happens to be bulletproof. I’d say this makes the list as the second best show Marvel has ever done thus far, sorry Jessica Jones, but you were just too boring for me.