The Marvel Cinematic Universe is shaping up pretty nicely it seems. After the success of Daredevil’s Netflix series, Harlem’s Hero Luke Cage got to take a crack at it. How does the man with bulletproof skin do? Alright, I suppose.
The thing that really makes and breaks Luke Cage is its cast. It seems pretty evenly divided between great performers and awful ones. Mike Colter looks the part of Luke Cage, but his acting skills are incredibly weak. The dialogue written for him isn’t great, but I just can’t believe a word he says. Nothing about him is believable once he opens his mouth. Rosario Dawson is in the season heavily as Claire Temple, or Daredevil and Jessica Jones fame. Dawson has never been a great actress, and she doesn’t start being one for this series. To balance those off however, there are some fantastic performances. Mahershala Ali steals the show as the gangster Cottonmouth, and Simone Missick is tremendous as Detective Misty Knight. There are plenty of other great performances on top of those, perhaps most notable is Alfre Woodard as Councilwoman Maria Dillard. It’s a weird mixture of talent that makes it hard to take the show very seriously.
I’m No Hero etc
Luke Cage’s powers are pretty simple. He’s strong as shit and has unbreakable skin. As exciting as that sounds, every time he springs into action, it leaves something to be desired. The action sequences in the show come across slow and plodding, and just look cheap overall. Compared to the ridiculousness of Daredevil’s action scenes, these look like amateur hour. Now I know Luke Cage doesn’t fight the same as Daredevil and he won’t be doing all that flippy shit, but it just doesn’t look nearly as good. The special effects are pretty hit or miss, and there is one really awful looking explosion in the show. The show does a good job covering this up by being pretty fucking violent.
There is a lot about Luke Cage that is great however. As mentioned above, Cottonmouth is a fantastic character and great antagonist for Luke. Diamondback is also a great villain for Cage. Shades is the perfect slimey fucker, and Pop is the perfect mentor for Cage. Scenes of bullets bouncing off Luke are always cool, and there is a great message that underlies the whole season. Luke Cage has its fair share of problems, but it’s a very fun show to watch. Is it as good as Daredevil? No, but there are far worse things on Netflix to watch. If you’re a Marvel fan, give it a watch. What did you think of Luke Cage? Let me know in the comments.