Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pilot Review: Marvel’s Luke Cage

Luke Cage (Netflix)
Premiered September 30

Shows have produced spinoffs and sequels in the past, but there’s an unprecedented phenomenon happening now with Netflix and its Marvel properties. This is now the third series to focus on a different famed Marvel character to be launched by the streaming service, with a fourth on the way and then one that’s going to incorporate all four players. What’s unique about Luke Cage is that he already appeared quite extensively on “Jessica Jones” and therefore he gets to start his own series as a preexisting character with strong ties to someone else who I don’t believe is slated to appear on this show (though I would be beyond thrilled). That show astounded me from the start, and while I’m excited to see Luke take center stage, I’m not sure this has anywhere near the same hook. This pilot functioned very much as a standalone show, with a brief reference to place it chronologically after the first season of “Jessica Jones,” and it introduced its own dark world in which violence is prevalent and bad people can be found around every corner and also in plain sight. Luke feels like a very isolated character, silently sweeping up hair in a barbershop and then flirting with a woman while subbing as a bartender in a too-small suit. Like the other grim Netflix Marvel offerings, New York City plays a very central part, in this case Harlem and its mayor Mariah Dillard, who is in bed with nightclub owner Cottonmouth Stokes, who dabbles in some very dangerous business. There are some good actors in this cast, namely Frankie Fraison from “Banshee” as Pop, Emmy nominee Mahershala Ali from “House of Cards” as Cottonmouth, the esteemed Alfre Woodard as Mariah, and Theo Rossi from “Sons of Anarchy” as the quietly intimidating Shades. Mike Colter has already proven himself uniquely qualified to play this role, and I’m eager for him to reprise it. The end of the episode suggested the most positive direction this show could take with a great display of Luke’s powers and his willingness to help people. I still need to see where this show will focus, but I’m hoping to get on board.

How will it work as a series? I’m just not sure. The criminal underworld that we’ve seen so far definitely needs to be cleaned up, and Luke has to be careful to keep a low profile in combating them. How he’ll function is even less clear than with Jessica Jones on her show, but I think the fact that he has his own show indicates that the justifications will soon emerge.
How long will it last? Ratings aren’t really relevant since Netflix doesn’t release them and I don’t think even considers them, but the reviews have been very strong, which is great. The streaming service has its own grand plan for the Marvel universe, and I imagine that will include a second season if there’s enough material there, though it likely won’t be for a few years since there’s so much already on the slate.

Pilot grade: B

1 comment:

Core vpro said...

I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful. Good day! chinchilla cages by cage heaven