Luke Cage - Season 1 Review
"Everybody wants to be the king!"
Marvel and Netflix have another cool TV series on their hands, from bringing us Daredevil in 2015, to Jessica Jones and now Luke Cage this year, even though I wasn't really sold on Jessica Jones, some episodes are watchable but it's my least favorite, Luke Cage on the other hand changes that though. The "Hero for Hire" has been trying to punch his way onto the screens since the 90s, at first Quentin Tarantino was once rumored to direct a Luke Cage film, but instead he choose to make Pulp Fiction, there were still talks about a movie in development but it went no where. Fast forward a couple years and more Luke Cage movie news starts to progress, this time writer, director, and producer John Singleton was attached to helm the project, Columbia pictures had casting for the film already in hand starting with Tyrese as Luke Cage and Terrence Howard as Diamondback, but Hollywood fell through again and the project never got the green light, until Marvel and Netflix makes a deal. With heroes like Daredevil, and Jessica Jones becoming so successful on Netflix, why not bring on a Luke Cage TV show, its perfect. Some Marvel characters have their own lane and belong on the TV side instead of the big screen, I rather watch binge-watch a 13 episode of 50 minutes season of Luke Cage than watch a 2 hour feature film and have to wait 2-3 more years for sequel.
While its still taking place in the MCU like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, Cage takes a different approach for a Marvel character, and I'll say this, if you're a fan of blaxploitation movies (which I definitely am) such as Super Fly, Coffy, Shaft, The Mack, Black Fist, Uptown Saturday Night, Black Dynamite, Black Belt Jones, Foxy Brown, Across 110th Street, Black Caesar, even Harlem Nights and more, then you will love this show, and that's what I got out of this, Luke Cage takes elements from all of these movies, people say the writing or the dialogue is corny but that's kind of what Cage is in the comic that was introduced to fans in the 70s, and even though some of the lines isn't all that great, they're still cool and will make you want to watch a blaxplotation movie after, as much as I wanted to see Luke Cage uppercut someone and call him a "jive ass nigga" we never got it, but who knows maybe in season 2.
The characters in the show you will love and hate, I wasn't so sure of Mike Colter as Cage but he's cool to me, and I really don't see nobody else becoming this character other than him now, Simone Missick is an excellent Misty Knight from the acting to her look, she is the Foxy Brown of this show, no question about that, she carries that aura, her and Pam Grier most def. have something in common and we get that glimpse throughout the series, especially in the first episode, sweet Christmas. Frankie Faison is great as "Pop" but its kind of funny watching him in this but all you can think of is the landlord in Coming To America opening the door with "alright now what the fuck do you want!" or telling Stu his rent his once again, but it was good to see him back on screen. Rosario Dawson is back as Nurse Claire, you can expect nothing but greatness from her all the time, Ron Cephas Jones is your typical chess player in the barbershop known as Bobby Fish, but all you see is Uncle Ice from Paid In Full hanging out at a new spot, and Mahershala Ali as Cottonmouth, Cottonmouth is one of those villains that you'll actually like, its a different lane from the comic but that's cool, he owns a nightclub called Harlem's Paradise, unlike how crazy Wilson Fisk was in Daredevil, Cottonmouth is more smooth with his crime besides the fact that he had to use a RPG to blow up the Chinese spot, he actually has somewhat of a heart, when the barbershop gets shot up and Pop gets hit with a bullet and dies, Cotton loses it and throws one of his associates off a roof for not going by his orders, Cottonmouth is a dope villain who should have lived longer, and as much as I love 'Power", I can't stand Ghost, the more I watch Cottonmouth in the episodes he's in, the more I think Cottonmouth would have Ghost shook if you really compare.
The characters I really hate in this series are Shades, and Councilwoman Mariah Dillard. Theo Rossi and Alfre Woodward both act their asses off but I never wanted their characters dead so bad. I wanted Shades to get his glasses knocked off so bad it hasn't happened, Shades pops up under the orders from Diamondback to work with Cottonmouth but after Cotton's death he switches up and works with Mariah and starts to fall for her, meanwhile Mariah Dillard is about as crooked as a councilwoman can get, with Cottonmouth being her cousin and her killing him in a later episode, I was waiting for her to go, and I hope Misty does it with her bionic arm in the future. I also hate Diamond back just off the strength of his fade, the same haircut Will Smith had in After Earth, he shows up in the 3rd act of the show and he has history with Luke but he's also crazy and more of a loose cannon, and I'm glad Luke gave him that work when they finally squared off in the street.
Luke Cage is as black as a superhero TV show can get, and with what's going on in society right now, being a bulletproof black man in America with super strength is what we wish we could all be right now. The music in Luke Cage is also superb and sets the tone of what's happening in the show, from appearances by Rapheal Saadiq, if you haven't checked out his albums 'Stone Rollin' and 'The Way I See It' please do, especially TWISI, Faith Evans makes a cameo performing Mesmerized, Jidenna performs the dope record Long Live The Chief in episode 5 (he still looks like Bird from Bird & The Midnight Falcons though), The Delfonics, Method Man and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings also perform in episodes, and I hope we get to see more artists in season 2. Despite of lack of utalizing Luke to his full potential and powers, which we will see in in the future, characters dying fast and other minor flaws, I really didn't have a issue with this show, this is what I really wanted to see out of this charater and Marvel got it right and I liked the Easter Eggs they teased for season 2 whenever they start filming, while my favorite still might be Daredevil Season 2, Luke Cage will probably change that after I watch it a few more times, and I can't wait for Marvel to bring on Iron Fist and The Defenders series to Netflix in 2017, I'm giving Luke Cage a cool 8.5/10.