Luke Cage

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Luke Cage

Postby Australia » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:38 pm

Up until now, each semi-Defenders season has been better than the last. Luke Cage is probably the weakest of the four so far but it’s still a fantastic show. It’s a bit slow at the start but the third episode is awesome and the last half of the season is great. And the theme has never been more relevant. Now on to the part where I analyse fiction more than I do actual lives and events, as is my curse.

The Good
I love that we now have a superhero whose sole solution to literally every problem is just break and destroy stuff. Locked door? Punch through a wall. Running into a bunch of douchebags? Rip a car door off and smash the entire building up with it. I mean, sure, there’s the Hulk, but he’s Banner most of the time and Luke doesn’t hide behind his strength.

The characters were all interesting and complex. It was great to get more presence and backstory from Claire, who’s kind of just been an ex-machina for injured heroes up until now, and Jessica’s victim Luke’s wife. And I always like when a city feels like a character in and of itself, like Las Vegas or Springfield (when it hasn’t been done to death, like Manhattan or LA, when it’s just sort of expected).

The music was very fitting.

All the twists got out of the way early so they could focus on the story and impact of those twists.

Pop’s death was predictable but it was used well, in that it had repercussions for practically every character on every side for the rest of the season.

The whole fighting bad guys while running from the law was very Supernatural season 3 (one of the exceptions that didn’t turn to shit during the writers’ strike. Here’s looking at you, Scrubs) and it’s always interesting to see people get hit from both sides of the system. I’m sure we’ll be getting a lot of that in the next few movies now that half the Avengers are fugitives.

The Marvel universe as a whole worked to the show’s favour. The foreshadowing of the Defenders was pretty natural. Luke’s lawyer will be Murdoc and Jessica’s will probably be Nelson. But more importantly, something like the super-bullets would have felt very contrived if it wasn’t for the dozen movies slowly introducing alien technology that could be used against Luke. My first thought was the kryptonite bullet from that Fox show that had three watchable episodes a year but even the solution was harrowing and backfired, in a setup for a season 2 villain. And I loved the throwaway gags like the guy selling a bootleg copy of The Avengers Incident in the street.

Speaking of humour, every time Luke looked down forlornly at more bullet-ridden clothes was hilarious. His slide from snide comments about having to buy new shirts all the time to frustrated sigh to deadpan eyeroll just amused the hell out of me, like Marvin constantly falling for “Marvin!” in Midnight Run. And there’s the payoff of it becoming a fashion trend.

I’m going back to Hell’s Kitchen where it’s safe.


The Bad
Due to timing of similar franchises, some of the things fell flat. Luke’s origin story was practically identical to Deadpool’s, for example, so it was hard to take it seriously when it’s been done quasi-comedically a few months ago. Ditto with Diamondback being Luke Cage’s long-lost brother. While it actually had a point and was done much better than the nonsense that was Spectre, the parallel was a little cringey for me. And the only thing that can beat the hero is an exact replica was very tropey. Ant-Man had it between two mini-guys and while that was a fun scene, it wasn’t surprising then and it’s not now. (Ironically the Rocky 3 freeze frame ending from the exact same scene I always find amusing.) On the flip side, seeing a Fish Mooney character done infinitely better was actually a positive for me, so I’m finicky like that.

Luke’s speech in the last episode was too cheesy and on the nose, considering the whole series was showing this rather than telling, but as Claire says, he’s corny, as half of superheroes are, so if it had to be said by someone, best the main character. And at least it didn't have a Tumblr ending where the whole precinct applauded. The whole Spiderman-esque ‘you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’ food fight with the Green Goblin thing towards the end of the series didn’t do much for me either. Why do people like that movie? Support is one thing but let’s not get over the top.

Did anyone else feel like they killed Cottonmouth and tried to top him with a less interesting villain? I didn’t hate the Diamondback arc but he seems very similar to Kingpin in his demeanour and grudge and lust for power and the fact that he’s behind bars. I guess now that it’s implied he’ll have powers next season, there’ll be more of a separation in terms of the two villains. Purple Man and Kingpin are the best villains in the entirety of the MCU so far so I was expecting someone else iconic, but while all the villains were good, they weren't spectacular, much like most of the movie villains.

Why must every good detective have Will Graham's recreation-deductive powers?


The Ugly
I can’t believe a fantasy show set in Harlem didn’t have the Globetrotters show up every time some scientific mumbo-jumbo needed explaining. Missed opportunity.


It's fun and dark and everything we've come to expect from a Netflix superhero series, which is to its strength and detriment.
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Re: Luke Cage

Postby TheSyrupNugget » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:14 pm

Honestly, I've strongly enjoyed all of them, but I'd probably slot Luke Cage in a little bit ahead of Jessica Jones but behind Daredevil S1.

I think all the Marvel shows would be stronger if they were 6-10 episodes instead of thirteen to a season. That's usually been my only gripe: Too much meandering around.
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Re: Luke Cage

Postby AboveGL » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:21 pm

I've watched ten episodes so far and I'm really enjoying this show.

I'll move onto Daredevil next.
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Re: Luke Cage

Postby Australia » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:28 am

Luke Cage season 2. It didn’t suck. But I can’t say I would have watched the whole thing quite as quickly if I wasn’t contractually obliged to put these out as close to release date as possible. And by contractually obliged, I mean compulsively driven. And by put I mean crap. I also watched Fallen Kingdom and Upgrade in the last week and I enjoyed them a lot more than this. They may even be in my top three films of the year* so far beneath the untoppleable Infinity War.

The Good
Claire’s back. Only first because I feel like my number one in the bad column for a while now has been one Defender or another getting injured and going to some rando for treatment. You have a perfectly perfect person in the franchise for that already, ya idjits.

Little things like Luke’s one second fight with a goon were among my favourite parts. Then again, that big fight at the end of ep 12 was also satisfying.

I’m a sucker for a bar fight so my favourite fight scene was Misty and Colleen’s brawl. Misty trying to swing a right before realising her instinct doesn’t match her physicality, then proceeding to beat everyone up one-handed was far more effective character work than the stream of tiring hand jokes. No, not masturbation. Why’d your mind go there, you filthy TCSer?

Team Ups. This is what I’m talking about. It’s so much more fun to have heroes bouncing off each other. I really wish Danny had stayed on for the remainder of the season because I think he and Luke are at their best when they’re together.

So I’ll say ep 10 is my favourite of this run because of that, the continuation of nobody believing Iron Fist fought a dragon and Mariah completely losing the plot. Oh, and patty cake. Epic.

When there’s trouble you call DW… and he’ll sell a shirt with your name on it. [pause for laughter and ‘I understand that reference’ memes]

Cockroach? Really? These crims don’t even try to hide their allegiances walking around with names like that.

Bushmaster waking up between two bushes. Seriously, the names in this show are off the fucking chain.

I quite enjoy that the Jamaicans' motive for ruling Harlem is ‘I just wanna’. Clearly not the satisfying answer Cage was looking for in a nemesis.

Shades remains as unstable as ever. Though that may be overstating things when you compare him to his gal pal. In fact, he grew more stable as she slipped into mass murderer mode.

Misty’s got a winter soldier arm!

I like that Luke just falls into the hero for hire business. Felt pretty natural. Falling into position of King of Harlem a little less so but it should make for a very interesting third season.

“You can fight a honey badger, right?”

“Funny how you’re always behind me on your investigation.”

The Bad
As has been proven with the MENU lately, it takes a few episodes to get going. If it was a week-to-week show, it would be less noticeable (well, I say that but Walking Dead. Actually, in their case it takes fifteen episodes to get going) but with a streaming show, you really have to have a sharper pace, especially without the luxury of filler villains, or fillins if you won’t.

Last year on Supernatural, a fictional President was possessed and this year they referenced President Trump so unless the idiot who hosted the Apprentice was named Jefferson Rooney in their universe, I guess it’s inevitable the Donald will rule the world in every timeline. Same thing happened here, with characters referencing President Obama and Trump despite Iron Man rescuing a fictitious President a few years ago. I just wish they’d pick one or the other. Hell, I know the DC TV shows don’t care that much about internal continuity but I’m pretty sure Supergirl’s Earth has a current female President and they still make references to MAGA but a) I don’t really pay attention to that show because it manages to be the most boring of that group despite having freaking aliens in it, and b) They have a Rick Sanchez-like portal gun that they never use to solve problems it really would solve so I guess it’s possible they’ve been to our Earth off-screen and are using MAGA as a metaphor for their political climate. Wait, this is a Luke Cage review. My point is the Netflix shows are generally better thought out than that.

I didn’t hate Iron Fist as much as everyone else but it would have been hilarious if he vanished in the middle of his episode due to the snap. Along with all Cage’s nemeses and Cage would just shrug and say ‘Guess my job’s done for me’. It would spice things up in Luke Warm. Is it a Freudian slip if I write it on purpose and refuse to delete it?

Like last season, the music is good at setting the tone but the Night Nurse jingle mid-episode was a bit cartoony. Then again, I liked the ‘It’s my show’ line so who knows how, or even if, my brain works.

I feel like most of the good guys had just as much reason to take the Jamaicans’ side over Mariah’s in the war so I would have liked them to be divvied up more but I guess we root for them because they’re loyal to each other and have each other’s backs so disagreeing on which are the lesser of two evils probably isn’t a believable enough motive. And I think they all realised the decapitating steroid abuser was more likeable by the end anyway.

At least we know why Mariah didn’t call her campaign Family Comes First. (This is in the bad section because this is a bad joke not because that monologue sucked. Tilda do we part).

The end of episode 6 was great and like any good show or movie had me asking ‘how’s he going to get out of this one?’ And then it turns out the paralysis wore off after five seconds. Whatever. I think kicking him in the nuts would have paralysed him for at least a minute but maybe the poison wears off in the water or something and it was just ignorance on Bushmaster’s end.

How many people are going to be thrown out of that club window before someone puts a safety net over the dance floor? Well, sure, it might throw off the feng shui, but I’m sure Danny can sort that out.

Jessica Jones 2 – Mummy issues. Luke Cage 2 – Daddy issues. Guess this is what counts as variety this year.

Grenade hands was a fine enough action sequence but who are these idiots who keep thinking they can beat Luke with baseball bats?

The Immortal Iron Fist has an iPod?

Shades’ lawyer is very unprofessional. Dropping him as a client mid-interrogation just because he was flippant about getting your son shot at? You’re never going to survive in the legal world (or the Luke Cage world for that matter) with skin that thin.

Was Mariah quoting Training Day in court? Is that an acceptable defence in Harlem?

Mariah’s revolving door of visitors in the last episode got real stale real fast but it had a good payoff so I guess it evens out.

The Ugly
Piranha’s head in a Piranha tank. It’s how he would have wanted to go.


*Jurassic Park fans beware – I maintain Jurassic World is a decent movie and I like that the idiocy of the characters actually drives the plot of the latest one so take that recommendation with a grain of salt. But if you just want to see dinosaurs on the big screen again, this is definitely for you. They are awesome.
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