Luke Cage: Review

This review is ridiculously late. I know. I’ve been slammed with work lately and haven’t had any time to write anything here, but, hey, I’m finally reviewing ‘Luke Cage’!

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Basically, ‘Luke Cage’ is about this guy who, under certain circumstances, has acquired abilities: he is super strong and has bullet-proof skin. I want to begin by saying that I absolutely love what Netflix is doing with superheroes right now. I loved ‘Daredevil’ and ‘Jessica Jones’ is probably my favorite show ever. ‘Luke Cage’ is a very good fit to the franchise. Out of all three shows so far, however, ‘Luke Cage’ was the one that I liked the least.

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Don’t get me wrong. I loved the series and I’ll get into that in detail in a bit. It did, however, feel a little unoriginal to me, in one aspect. The plot of the show is not as engaging as one would expect from a Marvel superhero series. I think that the main reason as to why is the villain of this story. So far we have seen Kingpin, Punisher, and Kilgrave in other Netflix shows, and the bad guy in ‘Luke Cage’ just didn’t contribute to the story as much as the other villains did to theirs. I thought the show was a bit unprogressive when it came to developing the main conflict between Luke Cage and the villain. Also, the story goes a bit overboard in the last few episodes, there are a lot of sudden changes which I personally didn’t like, but weren’t specifically bad for the plot of the series.

Disclaimer: what I’ve said so far are pretty much the only problems I have with ‘Luke Cage’. I wanted to get the negative out of the way so that I can continue praising the show from now on.

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Remember when I said above that the show was ‘unoriginal’? Well, it is when it comes to the villain and some parts of the plot, but in other aspects, ‘Luke Cage’ is the newest and freshest superhero story on TV or on the big screen. Let’s forget about the fact that it is, of course, not at all like the generic movies Marvel is now producing (I used to love watching Marvel films, but they are so similar and predictable at this point that even I am not that excited to go see a new one). ‘Luke Cage’ explores the nature of being a hero more than any other show/movie has done. It explores the mindset behind thinking about others more than you think of yourself and uses that to create and analyze the character of Luke Cage. The villain is not very compelling, yes, and the general conflict between him and our protagonist is not very exciting, yes, but the show compensates for that by exploring other qualities of the superhero. Never have I seen such a detailed explanation from a medical standpoint about why a superhero has superpowers. ‘Luke Cage’ has a whole story-arc in order to explain why the main character is the way he is. There are many other interesting story-arcs in the show: there is talk about corruption, religion, the desire for power, one’s past, love, and so much more. And finally, ‘Luke Cage’ confronts racism; it’s a show about a black superhero in a black neighborhood with mostly black friends and it explores the struggles that come with not being white without taking too much of the main story.

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When it comes to the character of Luke Cage, he is brilliant. The backstory that he has connects with the issues he currently struggles with and that brings a lot more to the character. It is very interesting when you watch the show and try to understand Luke Cage. He is not a very emotional guy on the outside, much like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, and you have to truly explore the rare emotional breakdowns he has to really understand the character and what he is going through. Beside Luke Cage, there are many other characters that are beautifully explored and developed, like Shades and the villain. I didn’t, however, like Misty Knight’s character. I thought she was too different from the comics, didn’t develop as much as needed, and was overall an annoying person. Finally, there is one very major character in Luke Cage that we’ve seen in a Marvel series before. I don’t want to say who because I don’t want to spoil it, but they play a very major part in the story and are developed amazingly, much better than they have been before.

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The directing is good in ‘Luke Cage’, nothing spectacular, but fine. Again, I thought the pacing was a little off, especially in the last few episodes, but it wasn’t something that bothered me a lot. When it comes to cinematography, ‘Luke Cage’ is the best out of all three so far. There are so many amazing shot in this series. Also, I noticed one other thing that was particularly great: the color fixing. The editing was also fantastic and so were all the sound effects. Visually, ‘Luke Cage’ is wonderful.

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I honestly believe Mike Colter was born to play Luke Cage. He embodies the character perfectly and it is very clear that he has done some serious research and rehearsing to portray Luke Cage so well. I also loved the portrayal of Shades by Theo Rossi (I don’t get why a white guy is playing Shades; I’m not one to nitpick about such things, but I’m just so curious, I honestly can’t find an explanation) and the one of Cottonmouth my Mahershala Ali. They both embodied their characters and gave them a certain vibe than made the viewer feel uncomfortable when there was a scene involving one of them (or both), which is a very hard thing to do. Overall, the acting in ‘Luke Cage’ is fantastic. Now, I liked Simone Missick’s portrayal of Misty Knight, but I thought the casting of that certain actress for that certain role was wrong; at certain times, I just didn’t feel like it was Misty Knight was watching.

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‘Luke Cage’ is a fantastic show. It explores topics that no other superhero series/movie has. It puts something very fresh to the table. I liked it the least out of all three only because the main conflict between Luke Cage and the villain was not as compelling as it was in ‘Daredevil’ and ‘Jessica Jones’. Other than that, ‘Luke Cage’ is close to perfect and I highly recommend it.

  • Plot: 3.25/4
  • Characters: 3.25/3.5
  • Directing: 2.75/3.5
  • Technical parts: 2.5/3
  • Acting: 3.5/4
  • Does it know what it is?: 1/1
  • Did I overall like it?: 1/1

Total: 8.6/10

This TV show gets a STAR! (A STAR is given only to TV shows I adore and highly recommend)

Thanks for reading,

Mickey Angelov