Full disclosure this will be spoiler free. In fact this isn’t a review so much as a quick post about how Luke Cage and the shared Netflix universe go together, and the aspects of the show I like. I’ve only seen episodes 1-5 so this is based solely off of that.
I want to start by talking about the opening theme, because it works so well alongside Jessica Jones and Daredevil while still being it’s on thing. Like Daredevil the credits move around Luke Cages body which is used to show us images of the city. This gives the audience an idea of how deeply ingrained Harlem and our hero for hire are in the same way the red around Daredevil’s costume and the images of Hells Kitchen and justice weigh down in Matt’s opener. The main difference is the coloring. Daredevil makes you think of a bleeding city, while there’s something a bit more hopeful about the orangey- yellow colors for Cage. Harlem isn’t his home the way Hell’s Kitchen is Matt’s, but Luke’s desire to protect Harlem stems form the deep rooted connections he has there with the people (and his deceased wife Reva). Compared to Jessica who is neither from Hell’s Kitchen or attatched to anyone there until the series progresses it makes sense
As for the show itself, I will come straight out and say it: the dialogue can be a bit cheesy at times. However I don’t think this distracts from the shows strengths. Mainly because it’s super refreshing that black people get to be kind of cheesy while still be taken seriously. My sister and I joked about this, but in all honesty it’s so nice to be able to like Luke Cage the person, not because we’re starved for representation, but because he has a goofy side to him reserved for well developed white characters. We found him endearing in Jessica Jones because he was who Jessica needed at that point in her life and now we can root for him on his own terms.
Granted it’s been almost a year since I’ve watched both J.J and D.D, however from memory I can honestly say while they are fun to look at Luke Cage really takes advantage of their shots. In the first episode alone we’re treated to several fun framing devices, and this one scene when Luke and Misty are outside and the light makes it seem as though they pass each other when they are standing still is beautiful. I was only a film studies minor in college, but I know that there was care being put into the way this show was being filmed. The lighting was heaven sent given how dark (literally)and cool toned the shows predecessors were.
This scene was Wilson Fisk levels of cray
The final thing I want to throw in about the show is that it gives us two new interesting female characters who make their debut as the second and third most relevant black women in the MCU (I say that because Rosario Dawson [Claire Temple] is Afro- Latina and I’m not sure if they’ll be playing up the ‘afro’ part). As soon as Misty Knight came on screen, I loved her. Like Luke Cage my desire for WOC on screen had nothing to do with it, her charm was all her own and I’d be happy if my younger peers looked up to her. She’s smart and cares for the city in a way that’s not comparable to Jessica or Karen which is a good thing. She allows the conversation about vigilante justice to be continued from Daredevil season two and contrasts beautifully with Mariah whose love for the city doesn’t stop her from being ambitious or turning a blind eye to crime. There aren’t really any female villains of note in the MCU so if Mariah steps it up, that should be very fun to watch indeed. Also I love Claire, okay. Everyone loves Claire.
*All images are from google