In October, Netflix debuted its newest Marvel superhero incarnation with the presentation of the bulletproof Luke Cage. It has taken me practically three months to process my thoughts about the show, indicating I would probably suck as a tv show reviewer required to shoot out next day reviews. But, I started this review the day after I binge watched the series in October, and, here I am in December just finishing it up.
Played by Mike Colter who portrayed Cage in the other Netflix superhero series Jessica Jones, Luke Cage is muscular angst fueled by an every-man want to live a life free of drama and strife within a village of camraderie and familiarity. Of course, if he got his wish, there would be no show. So, the Luke Cage series is fraught with high drama of the superhero kind– violent action, double agents, evil doers and conspiracy–reliant on Cage to save the day.
The series features legendary actress Alfre Woodard, Mahershala Ali, Rosario Dawson and Simone Missick who I have never seen before, but was impressed with her emotional depth acting out a script that was at times laughable and most times awkward and stereotypical. I was also happy to see Theo Rossi–last seen in the cable show Sons of Anarchy as the murderous biker who was trying to hide his bi-racial identity (which was so weird because he NEVER looked white, he looked Latino, but, he was, in fact, Black, and his squad was racist as fuck).
First off, I will say that I loved the show. I will also say that it kinda got on my nerves. Yes, it’s crazy. I sat watching, thrilled to see so many black and brown employed actors on screen for a Black superhero show. But, the stereotypical tropes could not be ignored for long and the writing made it difficult to watch at times. Despite that, the over-the-top characterization of Alfre Woodard’s character was one of the highlights for me and Mahershala Ali’s nuanced gangster character was on point, making me love and hate his character all at once. But, most times, the lines they were given were down right disrespectful in their cheesiness.
However, most of the characters seemed to sizzle more than the lead character Luke Cage, and therein lies my main issue with the series.
I want it to have a second season. I want to see evil Alfre Woodard return. Also, I want to learn if Luke Cage and his nurse love, played by Rosario Dawson, ever get to consummate their relationship while I want to see Simone Missick get some more screen time and a male counterpart she deserves. But, I’m really not sure if Colter is the one to bring the fire as Luke Cage because he just didn’t bring it in the first season.
If he returns, I would hope he will infuse his character with more emotional roundness, giving more dimension to his acting by practicing facial expressions and voice inflections to add depth to interactions with actors who are stronger character actors. Colter has a beautiful body and physically meets the expectation of Luke Cage. But, I sincerely hopes that he strengthens his acting to be on par with the superior actors they have paired him with. I think it was easier to work on Jessica Jones as the actors on that show were not as strong, particularly the lead actress who I think was a poor choice for a heroine who is supposed to be dynamically fierce, conflicted and moody.
All in all, I am a super big fan of the franchise, excited that it made it to Netflix and hopeful it will return, better than the first season. Netflix is on a roll with its excellent programming options.