Luke Cage: A 15 Point *Spoiler Free* Review

By OckyDub | Posted Oct 5 2016 | 9 Comments  

luke-cage-marvel-netflix-mike-colter

I almost feel like there is nothing left to say about Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix that already hasn’t already been said. There have been some very positive and glowing reviews of the series – created and executive produced by Cheo Hodari Coker – which upon its release, briefly crashed the servers over at Netflix. In hopes of not repeating many of the same sentiments of those reviews like “Luke Cage is unapologetically Black”, I did jot down my thoughts and feelings in real time while binge watching the series.

Luke Cage: A 15 Point *Spoiler Free* Review

1. I loved the balance of Black male representation. We see real life common depictions of masculine sensible and sensitive Black men; contrast with the murderous Black males of the series. Even though the villains (Cottonmouth and Diamondback) were blotches on their communities, we witness the hands of the parental or authoritarian females and males in their early developmental lives that cause their current manifestations.

Marvel's Luke Cage

2. Social media is full of muscled chiseled 6% body fat gym bods…Luke Cage is not those dudes. Cage (Mike Colter) is a muscular thick dude and displays a more natural gym body.

3. This series doesn’t feel like Tony Stark’s-The Avengers-Daredevil’s New York. This feels like a community. It feels like a neighborhood. Daredevil’s Hell’s Kitchen is a place; Luke Cage’s Harlem is a character in the series.

4. The series is interwoven with social commentary concerning politics, racism, drugs, gun violence, hood riches, hypocrisy of the Black church, fatherless homes, police brutality, the prison industrial complex, Black history, incest and even briefly touching on transgender abuse.

5. The tone or internal conflict is not like that of other Netflix Marvel series. The other series’ lead characters (Daredevil and Jessica Jones) are brooding tormented individuals who seem like they need a hug and a therapist. Luke Cage (even though he has troubles) feels grounded. He is trying to decide is he a public or private hero while kicking ass and taking some of the spoils.

6. Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) is easily the standout of the series. I can think of or envision other Black male actors who could have possibly played Luke Cage; I can’t envision any other actor playing Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes.

cottonmouth-with-biggies-crown-in-luke-cage

7. Alfre Woodard’s ‘Mariah Dillard’ is the villain we didn’t know we needed. We witness her development from larva, pupae to adult villainy whose character changes the show midstream. Episodes 6-7 completely flips the show on its head.

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8. Fighting choreography kinda left much to be desired for me. This doesn’t mean the action is not entertaining (it is); It’s just that it was not as entertaining as Daredevil’s martial arts action but is well above Jessica Jone’s. Luke Cage is about “throwing them hands”, hood style.

9. Cottenmouth’s laugh is everything. It may can only be eclipsed by the Joker’s evil laugh.

Negatives
10. The “science” behind creating Luke Cage aka Power Man within the series is weak, wack, corny and so not believable. To me, this was the biggest let down and downside of the series.

11. Being honest, I didn’t like Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey). His character looks like Sticky Fingaz and Samuel L Jackson had a son. It’s not that the actor didn’t do a good job at playing the character; I just didn’t like the character. Without spoiling the story it just seems like he could have been saved for season two and manifested himself as a ‘Coldfire’ mash up.

erik-laray-harvey-1

Closing Thoughts
12. Regardless if we like to discuss it or not, colorism exists within and outside of the African American community. Many view lighter complexion Black people as more desirable or attractive. I bring this up not because I’m color struck but because Mike Colter’s very dark complexion, I feel adds to his overall appeal which is needed in mainstream spaces. 

13. Shades (Theo Rossi) needs recognition! His character is a conduit that moves the story forward. 

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14. Watching Luke Cage feels like I’m in 1995, getting a haircut, with BET’s Rap City on the television and a radio is tuned into a Black radio station blasting Reakwon in the background. Luke Cage is soul, r&b, jazz and hip hop…just like Harlem the music is a character in the story. The title of each episode is a different title track from the 90’s rap duo Gang Starr. Yes there is the ever watchful Biggie Smalls “Crown” portrait that hangs in Cottonmouth’s office but there is also the presence of D-Nice, Wu-Tang, Nas and ODB (in the promos), in addition to soul music running throughout the story.

15. Cage’s signature hoodie is a direct homage to Trayvon Martin, who was murdered while wearing a hoodie. A hoodie is always present, acknowledging that simply by existing, many view Black males as threats.

luke-cage-bulletproof

Of all Netflix’s Marvel series so far, Luke Cage is easily in the top position. The only stand-alone solo series I could see dethroning Cage is The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) series that is currently filming. At any rate, Long Live the Chief.

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author
OckyDub

Octavius is a founder and editor of Cypher Avenue. He's here to help speak for us and show the world that masculine gay / bisexual men of color are not a part of the stereotypical gay normal that is seen and fed to the masses. No...we are a distinct breed, filled with character and pride. Cypher Avenue is here to show the world how we are different.

   
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9 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. BlackguyExecutive
    BlackguyExecutive | October 5th, 2016
    +1
    Ockydub

    [​IMG]

    I almost feel like there is nothing left to say about Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix that already hasn’t already been said. There have been some very positive and glowing reviews of the series – created and executive produced by Cheo Hodari Coker – which upon its release, briefly crashed the servers over at Netflix. In hopes of not repeating many of the same sentiments of those reviews like “Luke Cage is unapologetically Black”, I did jot down my thoughts and feelings in real time while binge watching the series.

    Luke Cage: A 15 Point *Spoiler Free* Review

    1. I loved the balance of Black male representation. We see real life common depictions of masculine sensible and sensitive Black men; contrast with the murderous Black males of the series. Even though the villains (Cottonmouth and Diamondback) were blotches on their communities, we witness the hands of the parental or authoritarian females and males in their early developmental lives that cause their current manifestations.

    [​IMG]

    2. Social media is full of muscled chiseled 6% body fat gym bods…Luke Cage is not those dudes. Cage (Mike Colter) is muscular thick dude and displays a more natural gym body.

    3. This series doesn’t feel like Tony Stark’s-The Avengers-Daredevil’s New York. This feels like a community. It feels like a neighborhood. Daredevil’s Hell’s Kitchen is a place; Luke Cage’s Harlem is a character in the series.

    4. The series is interwoven with social commentary concerning politics, racism, drugs, gun violence, hood riches, hypocrisy of the Black church, fatherless homes, police brutality, the prison industrial complex, Black history, incest and even briefly touching on transgender abuse.

    5. The tone or internal conflict is not like that of other Netflix Marvel series. The other series’ lead characters (Daredevil and Jessica Jones) are brooding tormented individuals who seem like they need a hug and a therapist. Luke Cage (even though he has troubles) feels grounded. He is trying to decide is he a public or private hero while kicking ass and taking some of the spoils.

    6. Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) is easily the standout of the series. I can think of or envision other Black male actors who could have possibly played Luke Cage; I can’t envision any other actor playing Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes.

    [​IMG]

    7. Alfre Woodard’s ‘Mariah Dillard’ is the villain we didn’t know we needed. We witness her development from larva, pupae to adult villainy whose character changes the show midstream. Episodes 6-7 completely flips the show on its head.

    [​IMG]

    8. Fighting choreography kinda left much to be desired for me. This doesn’t mean the action is not entertaining (it is); It’s just that it was not as entertaining as Daredevil’s martial arts action but is well above Jessica Jone’s. Luke Cage is about “throwing them hands”, hood style.

    9. Cottenmouth’s laugh is everything. It may can only be eclipsed by the Joker’s evil laugh.

    Negatives
    10. The “science” behind creating Luke Cage aka Power Man within the series is weak, wack, corny and so not believable. To me, this was the biggest let down and downside of the series.

    11. Being honest, I didn’t like Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey). His character looks like Sticky Fingaz and Samuel L Jackson had a son. It’s not that the actor didn’t do a good job at playing the character; I just didn’t like the character. Without spoiling the story it just seems like he could have been saved for season two and manifested himself as a ‘Coldfire’ mash up.

    [​IMG]

    Closing Thoughts
    12. Regardless if we like to discuss it or not, colorism exists within and outside of the African American community. Many view lighter complexion Black people as more desirable or attractive. I bring this up not because I’m color struck but because Mike Colter’s very dark complexion, I feel adds to his overall appeal which is needed in mainstream spaces.

    13. Shades (Theo Rossi) needs recognition! His character is a conduit that moves the story forward.

    [​IMG]

    14. Watching Luke Cage feels like I’m in 1995, getting a haircut, with BET’s Rap City on the television and a radio is tuned into a Black radio station blasting Reakwon in the background. Luke Cage is soul, r&b, jazz and hip hop…just like Harlem the music is a character in the story. The title of each episode is different title track from the 90’s rap duo Gang Starr. Yes there is the ever watchful Biggie Smalls “Crown” portrait that hangs in Cottonmouth’s office but there is also the presence of D-Nice, Wu-Tang, Nas and ODB (in the promos), in addition soul music running throughout the story.

    15. Cage’s signature hoodie in direct homage to Trayvon Martin, who was murdered while wearing a hoodie. A hoodie is always present, acknowledging that simply by existing, many view Black males as threats.

    [​IMG]

    Of all Netflix’s Marvel series so far, Luke Cage is easily in the top position. The only stand-alone solo series I could see dethroning Cage is The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) series that is currently filming. At any rate, Long Live the Chief.

    Read the whole post here.

    Execellent Review!!

  2. TheDarkness
    TheDarkness | October 5th, 2016
    0

    Great reflections, Ocky! I agree with you and others who made the observation that Diamondback’s entry into the series was, ultimately, superfluous. Cottonmouth was a better developed, and better acted character. Diamondback was more “comic-booky” and his backstory was weak.

    But, as you alluded to, what was wonderful about “Luke Cage” was the engagement of the community, Harlem! It was as if it were a character in the proceedings. And the muzik throughout all episodes was EVERYTHING!

  3. Crescent Mugizi
    Crescent Mugizi | October 5th, 2016
    0

    Great review Ocky!
    Also, some good samaritan went through the trouble of putting together an unofficial soundtrack for Luke Cage if anyone wants it.

  4. Sean
    Sean | October 5th, 2016
    0

    Bro, one of your best reviews!

  5. redsai84
    redsai84 | October 6th, 2016
    0

    great review man i just want to give a shot out to my boo Misty Knight maybe soon we can get
    Heroes for Hire

    [​IMG]

  6. Rick
    Rick | October 16th, 2016
    0

    I just finished the first season this weekend, busy with work and family life. But this rainy weekend it was just me and Netflix.

    I agree with almost everything you said:

    1. The balance of Black male representation, was on Point not everyone was the same, the show had a mix of different dudes.

    Luke Cage is the shit, and not just cause I like thick dudes, his story makes more since with him being fit, but not gym body fit.

    3. Harlem is show with both good and bad, and its a major part of the story

    4. there so mush social commentary on todays issues, not seen in the other Marvel series and its done right

    5. I like the Tone, and internal conflict also, as he struggle to stay and fight or to run.

    6. Cottonmouth made the first part of the show so good, he was one of the best bad guys I seen in a while, you saw his whole story and what shaped his life.

    7. Alfre Woodard’s ‘Mariah Dillard’ is who i didn’t like the first part of the show, turned out to be the best Villain she could be, as she uses politics and power to get her way.

    8. Fighting choreography was cool, I probably liked it more then you, but I think also it could have been better.

    9. Cottenmouth’s laugh is everything. (agree 100%)

    one last thing I will say I also didn’t care that much for Diamondback in the second 1/2 of the season

  7. DreG
    DreG | October 17th, 2016
    0
    Ockydub

    6. Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) is easily the standout of the series. I can think of or envision other Black male actors who could have possibly played Luke Cage; I can’t envision any other actor playing Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes.

    [​IMG]

    Another Marvel villain killed off way too soon.The arc with Moriah was good,but I wish we had more of a possibility of his return.They did a good job giving him layers with the childhood flashbacks,and his genuine respect and love for pops.

    Ockydub

    13. Shades (Theo Rossi) needs recognition! His character is a conduit that moves the story forward.

    The actor playing him was subtle but still somehow a standout. (maybe cuz I think he's kinda hot)

    I will NEVER understand how one of my friends said he tried to watch it and it seemed like "low-budget crap" to him.

    Daredevil wore a suit,and Jessica could fly,but I feel like Luke Cage had more of the vibe I look for from a superhero property.He really was the one making a difference for a larger population,while also serving as a champion behind whom people could rally.He was pulling off the image of a hero who could provide hope while also feeling like an avatar for black men in general.

  8. Discordant | November 5th, 2016
    0

    This show was everything I needed in a Marvel series. There were a few missed opportunities (Misty Knight being a major one,) but I thought it was great. The characters felt alive and I loved that they finally found something to do with Claire. Mariah and Cottonmouth were great and scary for completely different reasons. Diamondback… meh, but he served his purpose too I thought.

  9. NikR
    NikR | November 8th, 2016
    0

    Possible spoilers below…

    I think I'll be the odd one out. Shades annoyed the f*ck outta me. With the whole trying-to-sound-profound raspy voice and overly dramatic indoor sunglasses snatching. Dude, I know you can see without those damn glasses! It's not like you have photosenisivity from Graves' disease! Or maybe you do and that's why you weigh about 120lbs when wet. Smh. Anyways.

    And I can't get over diamondback's costume. WTF was that pot on this head? What, is he the second coming of Magneto, just with an uglier, much greener get up? Up until that moment, he terrified me. Then…not…so…much.

    Always, I liked the character development. The many twists, the many WTF moments. Diamonacks savagery could have gotten more horrific-glad they left it where it was. I was surprised by Mariah and her taste in men- I was hoping she would bag that power-hungry, sex on legs intern Alex-he seems deliciously obedient. Which works for me.

    Can't wait for season 2!




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