(HY)Lights #41 – Marvel’s LUKE CAGE

Yes, folks, it’s that time again!!! It’s MARVEL time and once again, we are getting into the MCU – the Netflix universe with the third series installment with LUKE CAGE and given that so far with the Netflix/Marvel deal, we have gotten good stuff from them with the 2 seasons of Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Now as usual, we ask the question?

Who is Luke Cage?

The character was created by Archie Goodwin, John Romita, Sr. and George Tuska, he first appeared in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972). Imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, he gains superpowers in the form of unbreakable skin and superhuman strength. With that said, there has been attempts to make a Luke Cage movie, mostly been in development in 2003 by Columbia Pictures, wanting to cash in to other Marvel properties due to their success with Spider-Man in 2002. It had John Singleton in mind to direct and people such as Jamie Foxx, Tyrese Gibson among others for the lead as Luke but since then it’s been reverted back to Marvel Studios and the rest is history.

The premise of this show is that Luke Cage is trying to lead a normal, quiet life in Harlem working at Pop’s Barbershop and also a dishwasher at the nightclub Harlem’s Paradise, owned by Cornell ‘Don’t call him Cottonmouth’ Stokes but that quiet life pops up to something large and threatening once the people and Harlem are in danger and soon Luke must soon confront his past and fight a battle for the heart of his city.

 

The show’s style this time around is the gritty 1970s blacksploitation style only matched in the present day only with a ’90s hip-hop flare thrown in there. Watching all 13 episodes does have that vibe whether it was the action scenes, simple dialogue moments between characters and a few bits and pieces with some easter eggs and yet it didn’t felt hokey or pandering or trying to be cool. It was cool and it still has the overall MCU TV experience but with a different style….pretty much like they always have.

Hell, one tweet described that better than me:

That’s a hell of an analogy and I can agree to that.

The writing of it flows well within the whole run. It’s in the run where the writing does match the essence and embodiment of Harlem without being too coonish, sugarcoated or bland. I will mention halfway through the show……there will be a big twist and as usual, I don’t want to spoil it for you. It is worth watching.
Yes, the word “nigga” or if you want to go with the “-er” version (which I rather not) is used in the show but it’s more of a casual word rather than going full Tarantino and also Cage himself prefer not to use it (which, yeah, good on him.) There is also the fact the writing is very relevant presenting current race issues, politics and the idea of a bulletproof black man in the neighborhood….something in our recent times that many of us want or need to be. It can be a blessing in disguise but it can also curse you and especially around others you know and love and in here……that’s definitely the case.

As usual with these shows, the acting is perfect from all around the corner. Mike Colter does a great job as the title character although I said that before on Jessica Jones but he does excel here. Other performances like Simone Messick (Misty Knight) and Alfre Woodard (Mariah Dillard, not the same character in Civil War mind you) are great here as well and really had some good impressions on here but the two performances I was really focused on here was the first being Mahershala Ali as Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes. Most of you probably known him from House of Cards as Remy Danton but him on here…..I definitely placed him as a very complex villain that is one menacing motherfucker the one minute and the next….an intelligent man that could’ve become someone greater if someone hadn’t forced him into the life he’s in now.

Now, the other performance I’m definitely pleased with is Erik LaRay Harvey as Willis Styrker. Again, don’t want to spoil much but as soon as he comes into play, he definitely kept me focused on what he might do next and again, somebody that has more in his character than what we see.

Oh, one last thing. I usually never mention the music in these and call me biased considering you know me as a hip-hop fan…..and soul……and funk…..the music score is fantastic. The score is done by Ali Shaheed Muhammad (aka Mr. Muhammad of a Tribe Called Quest) and Adrian Younge, most known for doing music for Black Dynamite and producer of Ghostface Killah’s 2 previous albums 12 Reasons to Die (Pt. 1 and Pt. 2). The opening theme and music throughout the show is the perfect blend of ’70s soul and funk mixed in with hip-hop that elevates it so much more than before. I would definitely want to own the soundtrack once it comes out. Oh, and did I mention each episode is named after a Gang Starr song? From “Just to get a Rep” to “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?”….also made things interesting for the show.

FINAL VERDICT: OK, not gonna lie. This might be my top favorite Marvel/Netflix show so far, surpassing Daredevil and Jessica Jones for me and who knows about Iron Fist? That might surpass it but who knows? The show got a lot to offer from a compelling and interesting character to the many scenarios and other situations around him along with a style that fits in to the tone of the show without being played as a joke. So yeah, this gets a very high recommendation from me if you keep up with the MCU Netflix shows. It is a fantastic series….in fact…..

Image result for 10/10

Yeah……..It gets my KING SEAL OF APPROVAL. I just love this show so much.

 

Anyway, that is all from me for today until the next Marvel/Netflix project……or next Marvel anything so….next month?

I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid! SWEET HALLOWEEN!! It’s the first of OCTOBER!

 

LUKE CAGE – courtesy of Marvel Television / ABC Studios

 

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