5 Reasons Why Luke Cage Will Blow You Away
He's bulletproof and very charming
Superheroes are certainly all the rage right now. But, few creators can pull off grounding an almost invincible hero with superhuman strength. At least, not with as much style, punch, and depth as Cheo Hodari Coker has done with Luke Cage. The new Marvel series, streaming now on Netflix, based on the comic book character of the same name, is not only grounded but exhilarating. Mike Colter, who stars as Cage, not only makes a great superhero, but also a genuinely charismatic character, in a realistic world, who you will grow to care about.
Here are five reasons why Luke Cage will blow you away.
Gotta pay respect.
What makes Luke Cage work so well is what makes Marvel's most critically acclaimed movies work. The show's creators show respect for not only their source material but also some of the best of classic cinema.
Guardians of the Galaxy pays homage to 80s sci-fi. Captain America: The Winter Soldier plays like a 70s political thriller. Luke Cage, particularly early on, feels like a 90's Spike Lee film. Each of these pull conventions and styles from some of the best in cinematic storytelling. None of them take themselves too seriously either. That helps when telling stories about men and women with superhuman abilities.
Luke Cage feels like the character from the comic. He's from New York, he's bulletproof, and he's a hero for hire. It helps that the character's roots play so well with the cinematic vibe. The first couple of episodes, featuring frequent exchanges between Pop (Frankie Faison) and Cage on the streets of Harlem, can feel like they're ripped right out of Crooklyn or Do The Right Thing. That the cast includes the likes of Alfre Woodard and Faison only enhances the show's chosen style and tone. It reminds me of how perfectly at home Winona Ryder and Matthew Modine felt in Stranger Things.
2. The stakes are high
When a story features a near-invincible character and is set on the streets of New York, you need to find an interesting way to raise the stakes. Showrunner Coker does this by putting innocent people in the line of fire with serious consequences.
Cage can't and doesn't save everyone. He may be bulletproof but Harlem isn't. So don't feel like any of your favorite characters are destined to stick around. Things stay interesting when you know no one is safe from harm's way, including Mr. Indestructible himself.
3. This is the Defender's universe
The show definitely fits within Marvel TV's universe on Netflix. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage are all leading up to the team-up series The Defenders. You can tell that Luke Cage has its own soul but the lighting, cinematography, and tone still look and feel coherent with the other two. That they all take place in New York definitely helps.
Various other elements reinforce this cohesion. The themes of home, family, community, and neighborhood running throughout each of the series. There are references to The Incident (aliens invading New York in The Avengers) and Wilson Fisk. And, Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), who nursed Daredevil, plays a reoccurring role on the show, coming to Cage's aid on more than one occasion.
4. The tone is just right
Pop played Frankie Faison
There's plenty of violence and grit in Luke Cage. Much of the show takes place at night in the clubs, restaurants, and alleyways of Harlem. If you watched Daredevil or Jessica Jones, you'll know what to expect here. What makes this series feel even tighter is the music, especially the 70's soul and funk tracks, which feel right at home in the Harlem setting.
5. The guy's face breaks hands
If you want action, this show has plenty of bullets and fists flying around. Considering Cage is bulletproof, expect the arsenal of his enemies to get even bigger and badder. There are some sequences that maybe won't live up to everyone's expectations but, for the most part, the action is heavy, fast, and real. Cage is no martial artist but he packs a serious punch. Like in Daredevil, some of the most impressive fight choreography takes place in close quarters.
Whether it's the action or the drama you want, Luke Cage has it in spades. What sets it apart from the other series is its completely relevant style and tone. Now that Marvel has established such stellar characters in all three series, we can't wait to see what's in store for us with Iron Fist and The Defenders.