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Luke Cage: The MCU Expands with Netflix's Latest Superhero Series
Superheroes have been taking over big and small screens for a while now and with Netflix dishing out some of the best shows to hit screens in years like Stranger Things, it has also given us some of the best superhero shows of the past few years with the likes of, DareDevil and Jessica Jones on its roster.
After introducing the character in a few episodes in Jessica Jones, it seemed only a matter of time before a standalone series was given to Luke Cage; an African-American superhero with unbreakable skin and the strength to almost rival the Hulk, superhero fans couldn't wait for the series to start.
Following the same tropes as earlier Netflix superhero shows, it follows the title character and the issues and threats he has to face, with a back-story on how he got his powers and abilities – it's a tried and tested formula and it works.
Covering issues that resonate in America today, like racism, corruption, police brutality and even the Black Lives Matter movement, the show toys with the idea of "a bullet proof black man" as they say in the show, which plays as a double edge sword as it shifts more to a character-based series; the villains know they can't hurt him physically, but they can hurt his friends and hurt him psychologically.
The acting in the show is top notch all-round, with Mike Colter reprising his role as Luke Cage, giving him depth and conveying the struggles and emotions of the character perfectly, while keeping in great physical form to give you the sense of strength and indestructibility.
Story wise it works, with Luke Cage going to Harlem, hiding out and working as a sweeper in a barber shop till a plot point where he has to choose if he wants to help the community he's in or help himself and run away.
The season has a strong score heavily influenced by jazz, hip-hop, and blues, which provides a little bit of context of how the episode is going to play out.
There are a few issues that pop up from time to time, however, like drawn-out plots or too many filler episodes which could have been better used in showcasing more of the characters instead, especially the villains.
Keeping faithful to the comics and source material, as well as the style which Netflix follows for their shows, it has the same dark, gritty mood, while basing it in a reality where other heroes like Ironman and Thor exist. Other characters like DareDevil and Jessica Jones are also referenced, while there are plenty of Easter eggs referencing the Avengers and Luke Cage's original look from the comics make an appearance.
All in all, Luke Cage is an entertaining show with a message to communicate and with Netflix preparing for Iron Fist coming next year, it will be a nice change of pace as no two characters in the Netflix-Marvel universe are the same.
Harrelson has a starry supporting cast backing him up made up of the likes of Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi, Ice Cube, Ben Foster and Robin Wright Penn. Brie Larson plays Dave’s daughter Helen, and after him, she’s the best thing about the film. The relationship between the two runs on hate and scorn mixed with a twisted kind of love. It brings to mind the saying about how blood is thicker than water. How you can hate a family member so much and see them for the worthless scum that they are, yet still allow their opinions and words to affect you. It’s a toxic relationship, one of many in the film, yet it packs a punch that the others don’t.
The story is occasionally difficult to keep track of as it jumps abruptly from one topic to another, but Dave’s internal conflict is more compelling than anything the story throws at you. Dave and Helen’s scenes together are far more powerful and infinitely more interesting than any of the scenes in which he brandishes a gun or kicks a guy to a bloody pulp. The film has some fine camera work; it forgoes flashiness just for the sake of it and instead focuses on bringing the viewer in closer to the actors. It works with the actors to set the scenes’ mood instead of just framing them.