The newest Netflix Marvel show, Luke Cage, has definitely benefitted from the success of the previous two shows, because the day it was released, the Netflix servers crashed! Now, we saw Luke Cage in Jessica Jones, and got a hint of the character, a large African-American man with impenetrable skin and super strength. While the tone of the show was very different, and unapologetic in it’s Black American culture, it still fits in well with the other line up.
As far as the general public, outlash at the shows so-called “reverse racism” was due to the ~95% African-American cast. There are very few white characters, and those characters are largely inconsequential to the plot of the story.
However, this is not a bad thing. With the latest culture uprising of #BlackLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter, and even #AllLivesMatter, this show handles the situation fantastically. It shows, on the ground level, African-American citizens trying to survive in a dangerous environment, cops trying to do their best in situations they weren’t trained for, and those around not know what to do, but not wanting to do nothing. This show has a strong political message in a time for it to be best heard, and best recieved.
The cinematography in this show was phenomenal, giving subtle visual cues as to which character to pay attention to, and which characters are the current power players. The music sets the mood for each scene perfectly, especially with the performers of the club. The script was expertly crafted, with plenty of shorthand between characters, implying a history of relationship that happened before the cameras were rolling. From a technical standpoint, this show hit it out of the park.
The story had beautiful arc, with no filler. The villains took their scenes in dynamic and unique ways, each having their own motivations. No villain was left behind. References to the other Netflix Marvel shows left us begging for more, and call backs to the MCU as a whole tied it all together, reminding you that these characters know Captain America as a celebrity.
Luke Cage – Carl Lucas (Birth Name) is framed and goes to jail. After secret experiments give him super strength and impenetrable skin, he escapes prison, changes his name to Luke Cage, and becomes a superhero.
Power Man – While Power Man was originally the superhero identity that Luke Cage gives himself, it would sound silly in todays superhero culture, so it is instead a nickname that Pop gives to Luke.
Hero for Hire – Power Man decided that the best use of his abilities was to make money, however this new Luke Cage says “I’m not for hire,” showing he wants to help people because it’s the right thing to do, a much more common sentiment in todays entertainment.
Willis Stryker – In the comics, it was actually Willis who framed Carl Lucas so that Willis could date Carls girlfriend. While that is never shown in this series, we find out that the rivalry really comes because Willis finds out that Carl’s dad, the Reverend, is Willis’ father as well. However, the Reverend never lets anyone know, as to not ruin his reputation.
Seagate Prison Experiment – While in the comics, the experiment was to try to recreate the super soldier serum (just like Project X and Bruce Banner’s gamma research in some stories), they decided instead to make it more of a youth serum, seeing if you could cause your cells to regenerate fast enough that you never age.
Reva- While in the comics, Reva was the girlfriend that causes Willis to turn on his friend, Reva is actually a psychologist from the prison, who falls in love with Carl, even though she knows about the illegal experiments that the warden is forcing Carl to take part in.
Mariah Dillard – A 400 lbs woman who steals valuables off of recently deceased citizens, turned drug dealer called “Black Mariah” in the comics. Completely scraped for the show, wherein she is a Councilwoman, who bankrolls her campaign with money from her cousins illegal activities.
Detective Misty Knight – Her arm becomes injured, but not replaced into a metal arm, like in the comics.
Edit: She loses her arm in the Defenders series, only for her arm to be replaced with a bionic arm in season 2.