“Sweet Christmas, It’s Power-Man!”
By: Steven Zawodny
This past Friday, we were all treated to the highly anticipated release of the Netflix’s latest Marvel series, Luke Cage. Like so many people, I was excited for the introduction of a brand new superhero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the past year, we have seen the debut of Daredevil and Jessica Jones to the MCU, both of which received positive feedback due to how well those two shows were done. So it was obvious that Luke Cage was sure to receive the same reaction; and you better believe, Luke Cage did not disappoint.
I started my binge early Saturday morning and before I knew it, I had gone through seven out of the thirteen episodes and by Sunday night, I was finished the series. I went into Luke Cage with absolutely no knowledge of the character. I didn’t know his up-bringing or how he acquired his powers. I only knew him from his brief appearances on Jessica Jones so I knew he was very strong and had impenetrable skin, but even then, I was very much into the character.
Like the shows predecessors, Luke Cage is given a strong origin story and an even stronger cast. From the main character to the supporting cast, I’ve never seen a more unique group of characters in a series or even any Marvel movie. The show runners really hit the mark when they captured every aspect and every detail of the setting that the show takes place in; the city of Harlem. You really feel like you are “on the streets” when watching Luke Cage because you are immediately immersed in it. From local shops to nightclubs, the city of Harlem is portrayed beautifully in a gritty sort of way. And that is just one of the many reasons I loved the show.
As I mentioned before, I love the characters. They are complex and real. The same goes for the story. Luke Cage is written like a crime drama that many people can relate to if they are from a bad part of the city. Guns, violence, and corrupt politics are the main focus and the residents are in turmoil from fear. They need a hero; A hero from Harlem. So what happens when you take a man that is literally bulletproof and put him in a city where criminals will shoot first and ask questions later? Luke Cage has that answer and more.
Luke Cage was the hero that Harlem needed, but I think the show has an overall message to it that is more than heroics. It’s about the importance of black culture. The show is full of references to African-American political and cultural figures, and shows Harlem’s rich history and locations. The music was the show’s glue that held everything together. The creator of the show wanted to use a hip-hop/R&B score to help set the tone and vibe of every scene. The show is vastly different from its predecessors in that there is a lesson to be learned from Netflix’s Luke Cage. And that is to be true to yourself and do the right thing.
Our special correspondent and writer, Tavia Lewis-Castagnozzi