Luke Cage was a show I had been waiting for for a very long time. He’s always been a favorite of mine throughout the years of comics. Whether it went to leading the secret Avengers team during the first Civil War, or just being an all around bad ass with Iron Fist throughout the Heroes for Hire saga. Luke Cage was supposed to be the jumping off point for Netflix’s Defenders series, and for the most part, it does exactly what it was seeking to do.
The big problem with Luke Cage is definitely the pacing. Mike Colter does a phenomenal job of playing Cage throughout the series, but it’s not always enough to carry the plot jumps. At this point, we’ve pretty much been introdced to Luke and his power set through Jessica Jones, however there is still a lot to explore within his background and backstory. Unfortunately, this leads to a pretty slow setup for a character who is always about ten times cooler when he’s punching things.
I’ll definitely say that this Cage is a different Cage. He doesn’t start as cocky as he did in the comics, but it’s a reasonable point of contention that a Cage who hasn’t stepped out into the limelight wouldn’t exactly be thrilled to have it pointed directly in his eyes. Going up against villians like Diamondback and Cottonmouth doesn’t always help Luke’s case either, because there’s almost no contest between he and their strength. In the same vein, a lot of the plot also boils down to the misunderstanding and “civilians are afraid of heroes” tropes. Definitely a huge letdown when compared to Daredevil’s story ramping tactics.
However, don’t let me sour you on the idea of Cage. What the show lacks in pacing, it makes up for in phenomenal acting and interesting characters. Misty Knight, Cottonmouth, Luke Cage himself, people like these set a backdrop for Harlem’s Hero that really come to life throughout the course of the series. An all black cast helps to keep the series feeling as down to Earth as Luke Cage should be. It’s a story about African American pride as well as pride in the city you come from regardless of race. Luke isn’t just a hero for African Americans, he’s a hero for all of Harlem.
As exciting as Luke Cage is, I’m thinking that this is going to be a better story as time goes on. Season 2 promises to be an extremely strong entry into the series that Marvel has gone out of their way to create. While often slow at times, Cage fans will find themselves enthralled by Colter’s performance. Add in Danny Rand (The Iron Fist) to the equation, and I think that things are going to be even better as time goes on. It’s a great entry into Netflix’s current lineup, and one you definitely don’t want to miss if you’re a comic book fan, and even if you’re not.