Who is Luke Cage?
by Adam Sibile
The Internet is a buzz on how Netflix’s new superhero show Luke Cage took down the Netflix servers due to traffic volume, but who is Luke Cage? What makes Luke Cage such an important character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
With the success of all the recent comic book to screen adaptations, it seems like Marvel has been reaching with bringing lesser known characters such as Jessica Jones and The Agents of Shield to television, but why? Luke Cage was a character that made a brief appearance in the Jessica Jones Netflix series and then left the show. Now, Jessica Jones was a series that I felt somewhat indifferent about. If you haven’t seen the series yet, I still recommend a watch due to David Tennant’s absolute stunning performance as the villain Kilgrave. While Kristen Ritter (Jessica Jones) also did a fantastic job, I still felt the show was extremely slow with the plot before kicking it into high gear and I felt that Luke Cage may also fall victim as well.
Luke Cage starts out in a barber shop in Harlem with typical barber shop banter. While I felt this is a pretty typical scene for movies and shows that take place in Harlem, this set the entire feeling for the show. Netflix did an exceptional job with the feel of the show. What I mean by that is the music is exceptional, the camera angles are beautiful, and the fight scenes are riveting. To me, the entire show feels like if Shaft from 1971 was combined with Kung Fu movies from the same era. I don’t want to get into detail and spoilers in the show, so I’m not going to talk plot. What I can say is the action starts early and continues throughout the show.
The cast is excellent and we do see some crossover from other Marvel Netflix series, but the main star, Mike Colter as Luke Cage steals the show. His portrayal of Luke Cage is absolutely amazing. Luke is level headed, intelligent, and always in charge. Other notable stars are Theo Rossi (Juice, Sons of Anarchy) who plays the villain Shades. Rossi’s performance as a cool, collective villain is chilling to say the least. The lovely Rosario Dawson returns in her role as the nurse Claire Temple from other shows in the series Daredevil and Jessica Jones. The interesting thing about her is how much her character grows throughout the series. I love Dawson in anything she does and I feel she’s an underrated actress in general. It’s nice seeing her continue her character through Netflix’s Marvel series.
But why is this show so special? Luke Cage isn’t Iron Man, Captain America, or Thor, in fact, he’s not even close to being a known character outside of the comic book realm. So what’s the big deal? Here’s my personal take on why this series is so important and hyped up. The character Luke Cage is an intelligent, strong, and moral African-American man in a community that is known for high crime and generally unfavorable conditions. In an era where African-American children have a hard time finding superheroes that stand out, Luke Cage rises to the top. Now do not misunderstand me, this is not a show for children, but Luke Cage is a character that can be looked up to. Sure, the Avengers have Falcon and War Machine, but they always seem to be in the sidelines. Luke Cage, like Jessica Jones, is a superhero that is nearly indestructible, but instead of using his powers for criminal intent, he chooses to do good. While there is no Falcon movie or War Machine television show, Luke Cage has one and this show stands on its own extremely well.