Luke Cage – Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos Review

Marvel Netflix Luke CageRating 3.5/5 – Luke Cage has been a character I’ve pretty much grown up with.   You cannot be  comic geek without knowing him.   Luke was Marvel answer to what is ridiculously named “Blacksploitation.”  Like many things in the past there’s a lot of rose color glasses viewing of what exactly those movies were in an attempt to find something positive from a pretty grim period of movies aimed at black ticket buyers.   Marvel has been using Luke Cage off and on even giving him several series over the years.  It wasn’t until the Jessica Jones intro comic series Alias then the New Avenger that his popularity skyrocketed among comic readers and now Marvel has given him his own Netflix series which, if you go by the live Tweets, is going to be another huge hit for Marvel.  I was trying to decide exactly how I wanted to tackle this one, either a review per episode or as a whole.  Then I remember I suck at the episode by episode thing so since I’m one of those “must binge it the first day” people, I’ve seen and can tackle Luke Cage as a whole.   This one is going to be a long one folks so sit back and enjoy the ride.   Let’s do this.

Luke Cage Overview

As I’ve commented on several times before there’s this weird game when it comes to movies and shows developed by Marvel Studios where people wonder exactly when they are going to fail.   13 Movies, one TV show and now three Netflix series later, the question still persists.   Marvel has about the best marketing campaign for every single inch of everything they produce.   First they announce they are making it, then they drop hints and set photos and tidbits through interviews and Q&As and every tidbit they drop gets reported, then they drop trailers leading up to the movie or the show.   Marvel embraces the social media, quick information and rumor age like boa constrictor embraces pray.   Marvel does not ignore their direct base, comic book geeks, depending on them to piggy back and become cheerleaders for everything they drop.    Finally Marvel crafts a movie or show exactly like they do a comic, finding the right talent to the right story.    This is why even if Thor wasn’t their most successful movie people remember Chris Hemsworth for mostly being Thor and why lesser characters are more successful like Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy and Jessica Jones.

And in case you think I’m exaggerating about how every Marvel info drop worms its way until the news think about the last time you did not hear major news channels talking about a Marvel Studio movie thing since Iron Man.    Go to places where news outlets upload their videos and see if a Marvel story isn’t injected into the news cycle.

Luke Cage Mike ColterLuke Cage was done with pretty much the same formula.    In a world where people get pissed if a male character is played by a woman or a stormtrooper removes his helmet to reveal a black character, every inch of news on Luke Cage was pretty much embraced by the same people who go mad that Mad Max has an equal badass woman in his movie.   I’m not kidding.  They announced Luke Cage, the world pretty much applauded.   They said “mostly black cast” and everyone went “okay, that makes sense.”   They announced the people behind the scenes would mostly be people of color and again the same people who went on racist trolling fits when Jennifer Lawrence was spurred to even more action by the death of a young black girl (who was playing a character who was actually a young black girl in the actual Hunger Games book) said, “AWESOME!”   The weeks leading to Netflix dropping the series you could not go on any social media without someone somewhere dropping a flurry of posts in anticipation for the show.

So what’s the verdict?   Marvel has another hit on their hands.    (Seriously, can these guys ever fail?)  Social Media exploded during the first hours of the show, Twitter was dominated by #LukeCage, #LukeCageDay, #SweetChristmas and #MistyKnightSoLit, and the number of viewers literally brought down Netflix’s servers.   They trended all day on September 30ths and half of the day on the following Saturday.  Even with some of the clunky dialogue, a lot of over the top violence and more speeches than a political rally people, for the most part, were going nuts for the show.   What they did right was connecting the show to Hip Hop culture while embracing the American history of the shows setting, Harlem.   The most fit the show even the songs I personally find objectionable – but I’ll get to that later.   Mike Colter was a perfect as Luke Cage playing the role with a quiet strength even when in the middle of throwing guys through ceilings.   The story has a few issues but for the most part worked.  The biggest surprise was that they had four distinct villains yet it never felt over crowed.   That lead us to a smart-ass answer to the initial question:  Has Marvel failed?    Not with Luke Cage.  Maybe Doctor Strange will be the one, but I wouldn’t hold breath on that one.

They did not shy away from directly connecting Luke Cage with the rest of the MCU.   I still feel it’s out of place for them to constantly refer to a massive alien attack on New York City as “the incident”, but equally  feel the criticism by geeks that they should not connect these shows with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be completely fucking stupid.   Marvel has said this a connected universe was their mission from the beginning.  Besides that, you can’t have shit like robot armies or alien attacks or big green creature tearing up cities happen without people referring to it.  No one slinks away from 9/11, why would they not be aware that a millionaires mountain side house was destroyed during a terrorist attack?   Adding Turk and Claire Temple to the story was also great as these two character serve has huge connective tissue to the other Netflix series.   Luke Cage wasn’t perfect by any means but I know a hit when I see one and this is another home run for Marvel.



I'm from Brooklyn New York and this is my opinion on everything.