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I was looking forward to this more so than the other Marvel Netflix
shows, but Luke Cage is easily the weakest of the bunch.
The show improves throughout its run, but it really only picks up over the last few episodes. The story is not compelling, the acting is troublesome at times (mostly early on), and Cage's story arc and motivation (or lack thereof) leaves much to be desired for most of the first season. At times it's hard to believe he's the same character who first appeared in Jessica Jones.
The biggest issue is the tedium. The director appears to have a problem with story telling, but the real issue is there just isn't enough material to fill each episode. Every hour drags on and on. It's awkwardly punctuating by musical numbers that will not be appealing to most viewers with frequent cuts back and forth which simply interrupt the consequential moments of each episode instead of accentuating them.
The villains are too weak for the season to drag on as it did. Cage is very overpowered in this series (far more powerful than in Jessica Jones) and there's no plausible reason he doesn't mop things up by the end of the first few episodes. To account for this, much of the show is filler. Some of the reviews I've seen remark how much character development there is on the supporting cast as one of the show's strengths. Honestly, it seems to be a glaring weakness. Not only is this too, filler, the character development is poor. It not only doesn't explain who these people really are and in fact detracts from the characters as you see how weak and ineffectual the rest of the cast is.
In reality, Cage could have pimp slapped the villain out of Harlem at any point in the entire series and they could have moved on to a new and better story line.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*SPOILERS* I started Luke Cage with high expectations, as I am sure many people did, because I thought I already knew what to expect. After all, this is not the first time we have seen this character (he also appeared in Jessica Jones). In terms of the main character, Mike Colter brings the same good performance to the character this time around, but where this show falls flat is everyone else. I want to say that the supporting cast kill this show, but that isn't fair to the actors and actresses who play them, because the acting is solid all around in Luke Cage. The problem is the writing. The writing makes this by far the worst of all the Marvel TV shows. This was not immediately clear, and so for the first few episodes I really enjoyed Luke Cage. The music was fantastic, the villain, Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes, was very charismatic and initially intimidating, and the banter between characters (usually involving "Pop") was enjoyable. Then it started to fall apart when it came time for Luke to step up to be a hero. The biggest misstep is one that Marvel consistently has problems with: the villain. "Cottonmouth" is quite possibly the dumbest, least powerful (or in any way successful) villain in the entire MCU. In order to raise the stakes, the villain has to pose a threat of some kind to the hero. The best villains match, or even exceed the power of the heroes they face off against. "Cottonmouth" is not very powerful and intimidating to begin with, and does nothing as the series goes on but lose more power and control. Wilson Fisk in Daredevil was a fantastic villain because he was not only physically intimidating (even to the point of being able to go toe to toe with Daredevil himself) but he was a master manipulator and strategist. It took everything Daredevil and company had to put him away, and Daredevil only barely pulled it off at that (and not till the last episode of the season). "Cottonmouth" on the other hand, is not physically intimidating, and is not only not an intelligent strategist, but he cannot even control his own crew to the point that they kill people that he does not want dead. He repeatedly tries to kill Luke, with absolutely no success, and yet refuses to try anything else. There is even a scene where his cousin (a corrupt city councilwoman who is also completely ineffectual) advises him to try to kill Luke in a different manner, such as drowning or burning. To this "Cottonmouth" simply responds nah, I'll just shoot him some more, because that seems to work really well. To make everything worse, midway through the season after building a rivalry between Luke and "Cottonmouth" the entire time, "Cottonmouth" is abruptly killed in a stupid spat between him and his cousin. This apparently was a way to frame Luke for the murder, I guess to bring Misty Knight (the female detective that is constantly on Luke's case for no good reason) back into the plot since she was no longer relevant. This makes no sense, because Luke has an alibi for the murder, having been with Claire (nurse from Daredevil) being shot in the park at the time of the killing. So instead of a showdown with "Cottonmouth", Luke now battles for his life against a villain who we haven't even seen on screen the ENTIRE season until he abruptly shows up and starts shooting Luke with super bullets for reasons? There is no tension at all for this fight because we don't know anything about this person (except he's the one called Diamondback, who has been name dropped a couple of times) or what his motivations are for wanting to kill Luke. Honestly, I enjoy Luke Cage as a character, but as a show it is completely forgettable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Started very slow for a marvel series but the setting and most of the
cast were promising better episodes.
Instead the story remains very weak and after a little highlight with the unexpected death of cottonmouth i hoped that the series will now change in regard to the main villain diamondback.
Instead my expectations were not even met and it absolutely turned into an unlogical mess.
Nearly not a single action of the main characters makes any sense and there were so many plot holes that they couldn't be counted.
The old superman issue of invulnerability was again solved with a special weakness element which then of course develops to a very common ammunition for everyone to create more tense in lukes battles but absolutely fails.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*SPOILERS* Allow the stage to be set. Luke Cage is an incredibly
interesting and loved character from Marvel comics lore. Back in the
days when few people ran around mask-less, he did so with a bravado
unmatched, and in more recent years grew to have a wife, became a
father, and even lead his own team of Avengers. He's a business man who
doesn't take any back talk. Mike Colter showed us he was clearly the
man for the job back in Jessica Jones, encapsulating the style and
attitude very very well. And then the writers for this monstrosity got
The series doesn't even start off all that bad. They introduce way too many characters without giving us a real feel for any of them, and despite the fact that Luke had been introduced prior, he too quickly feels estranged. A forgivable mistake, perhaps they will actually utilize all these characters and they'll grow on us over time. Before you know it, one of the main villains (of which there are at least 4 since not a single one can seem to hold any weight) is dead without providing a single threat to our titular hero. The rest of the villains mostly squabble among each other for the duration of the series, leaving Luke to develop a highly unnecessary and very, VERY forced relationship while facing more non-threats like a doctor who helps get him healthy again.
The only wounds suffered by main characters are healed practically by the whims of god with no explanation. The pacing is off, any good themes developed in the beginning not only disappear, but many are even reverted and send the opposite message by the end. The plot is a tangled mess of nonsense that, instead of twisting and turning in an intense roller coaster of thriller action, just flops around like a fish out of water. This show falls short of the greatness presented by the 3 seasons of shows presented prior to this one, which is incredibly unfortunate after seeing a bit of Luke presented back in Jessica Jones so perfectly.
Anyone a fan of the cinematic universe or the character will likely be disappointed. Any slight victories in the first few episodes are thoroughly erased by the end. This series, as a whole, is not worth anyone's time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The first few episodes feel good. Nice music, nice directing, Luke Cage
is played by a good actor and a couple of supporting actors are good as
well. But from episode to episode it falls into the ridiculous.
Cottonmouth has powers in the comics, he's got nothing here... Just
another stupid gangster, with an origin story than comes way too late.
And then poof, he's dead. Right after the writers put some depth into
him. What's the point...
And then Diamondback comes into play. And all turns to mush. Sure, he's his secret brother yeah we'll swallow that... But the Hammer suit and ridiculous final battle ? Also there are a LOT of annoying characters. Shades with his ridiculous smile, 0 origin story and survives strangulation for I don't know how long, coming out perfectly OK ? Yeah sure... Then there's Misty. For how long can she be so clueless, she's supposed to be the smartest but at no point in the show do we see how smart she is. Like it's been said, the villains provide no real danger to Cage. As a comparison, Jessica Jones was way better. The Purple Man provided a much more dramatic arc, it tackled a difficult subject such as rape and manipulation. In Luke Cage even the most dramatic even, Pop's death, was a joke because orchestrated by a cliché of a stupid gangster... Plenty of those in there by the way, Cottonmouth is surrounded by idiots, and he's not very bright himself.
Luke Cage is too powerful for the show. The Purple Man is usually Luke Cage's villain, and psychic powers are perfect against "power men" such as him or Jessica Jones. But here we have regular gangsters instead ? As some points Harlem is well represented, but it turns to a farce way too quickly with Black Mariah. It's like everyone but Cage has a clue about what's going on and Harlem people turn on Luke Cage like that before liking him again... Daredevil had Ben Ulrich, Foggy, Claire, Karen, even that black cop. But here, the police is just a bunch of morons with Misty being slightly less moronic... This is very frustrating to watch at times.
There are a couple of good things: Claire Temple and her will to become the Night Nurse, the Luke Cage origin story in prison, a couple interesting elements such as his deceased wife who actually knew about the experiments and was manipulating him, and a few funny things mainly when Harlem is involved (the Method Man thing was funny). But it doesn't deserve the appraisal it's getting, and like Jessica Jones, 13 episodes is way too long, you can do this in 8 and not need Diamondback... Jessica Jones had more ambition, and delivered more drama.
This review will include spoilers as it is impossible to talk about the
flaws of the TV show without details.
I was very excited when I heard that the best part about Jessica Jones was getting his own TV Show.
Then I heard that one of the produces of the shows said that Luke Cage would be The Wire of the Marvel Universe. That was a pretty bold statement to make.
I was cautious. Thinking it couldn't reach the levels of one of the best TV Shows ever made, but it would at least attempt it.
There was no attempt. This show is bad.
It was pretty clear from the get go that this show didn't try to be like the Wire. There is no complexity here. It is always pretty straight forward, but in the dumbest way possible.
The writers of the show were so focused on the characters making tough speeches, they forgot to add depth and motivation to them.
I still don't understand Luke Cage. Sometimes he goes out of his way to throw people around and other times he does nothing, or bails at the smallest hint of a challenge. Like when Cottonmouth found out who he was.
Just wear a mask.
We only really find out more about Cottonmouth in the same episode in which he's killed. By his cousin. The one that still doesn't have much depth, but a lot of tough speeches.
The episodes before that barely spend any time on Cottonmouth's character. Instead we saw him overlooking his club, listening to music which took up way too much time and hear him laugh. A lot.
Every single day someone in his club gets killed, there are shots, something gets broken, but somehow the people still go there. The people of Harlem are stupid. Criminals and police a like.
We spend an exceptional amount of time with the dreadfully boring and judgmental hypocrite known as Misty Knight.
A policewoman who knows it all by looking at pictures. Like Cottonmouth, she too spends most of her time in one place only. She stands in her office and looks at pictures of people. That's 90% of her screen time.
She obsessed with Luke Cage and when other police start to focus on Luke Cage, she says that the focus should be on someone else.
Lady, you spend the majority of the season chasing a vigilante who did good, while the city was sucked dry by Cottonmouth. You never found out who killed Pops.
She usually also always shows up where she should be, asking questions that she couldn't know, because ... well how would she?
Where and when exactly did she find out that the top crime bosses disappeared? Did she ask her photographs?
While on the subject of plot holes and oddities, here are a few:
In one scene Cottonmouth argues with his Cousin that money is more important than respect.
Then why didn't he sell the club when he needed the money?
Why did he rob rich people? His people didn't wear any masks. You can't do that without consequences. No one was put in jail for that. What is the police doing?
The traitorous Hispanic police officer was never mentioned again after Misty arrested him.
Why didn't Luke Cage just give the girl her ring back? Why did he have to awkwardly include it in his underwhelming speech?
Mariah Dillard's solution to police violence is to motivate them to buy more brutal weapons and Harlem agrees.
Why does anyone listen to her when she calls for a meeting of the gang bosses? How is she making demands and why is the Hispanic gangster even listening to her in the first place?
What's Shades motivation for all of this? Is he in it for the puss'? Because I'm pretty sure he can do better.
Why didn't Misty tell anyone that facial recognition identified Striker as her attacker? This is the guy who attacked a police officer, arrest him.
Why didn't Luke punch Cottonmouth in the face when he just fought his henchmen in his club? This guy is responsible for Pop's death.
Why does Luke believe Cottonmouth that he wasn't responsible for Pop's death? And if he didn't, why didn't he punch him in the face?
Why not punch Shades as well?
Why didn't Luke just destroy the obvious power generator on Willis back?
Why is Shades allowed to walk out of the police department after trying to kill Misty in the Club? Is her testimony worthless?
Why did she spill the beans about Candice being dead? Mariah might not have known this (She didn't).
Why did no one really investigate the death of Pop? I mean the audience knows who did it, but the police doesn't. I thought he mattered?
Why even rebuild a barber shop if you have no idea how to run it?
Why is everyone switching alliances faster than I change my socks?
Why didn't Misty tell people that Luke Cage had an alibi after he told her that he was in an ambulance when Cottonmouth was killed?
Since when does a terrible speech about Harlem undo someone's crime? Luke Cage is still a vigilante.
Why did Luke Cage run after he was arrested if a speech was enough to let him walk free? Was there a reason to believe that Diamondback would run?
Why didn't Diamondback just run?
All in all: A waste of potential. At times it feels like Tommy Wiseau wrote this show.
Instead of going always forward, the show should've spend more time reflecting on what it did wrong.
Also: The fights are exceptionally boring. Stop throwing people and start throwing punches.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
So first of, I realized I am just not very into the whole marvel
superhero theme anymore after 30 years of reading and watching. They
just seem to have too many plot holes and go against my knowledge in
natural science. Perhaps its about time to stop watching them.
Neither daredevil or Jessica Jones got great rating from me. I gave them 6 and 7 out of ten, but overall I felt they are decent stories (daredevil 2 got absurd so it lowered the rating), and try to stay clear on the plot line, and didn't try too much on bullshitting science. The heroes are not invincible (and therefore wouldn't have too many plot holes, as it is more difficult for people to depict unrealistic events), and they are likable human characters. The bad guys also can be relatable, which makes the viewing all more satisfying.
Now Luke Cage tried similar formula, but kinda failed. I will explain later, but let me first mention the pros:
1. Good music. The soundtracks in all the defender series are quite good. Luke Cage has outdone daredevil and Jessica Jones on music. +1 point. 2. Luke Cage, Claire, and Mercedes are very likable characters. They are simply very relatable and you can easily imagine yourself to be any of these characters and do what they would have done in the show. +1 point. 3. Some bad guys are interesting. Cotton mouth is excellent, shades is weird and almost funny to look at but then you grow to like this character, and few other supporting characters are not too bad either. +1 point. 4. Good plot twist. Cotton mouth was dead in the middle of the show. I didn't see that coming. I thought he was the final big bad. +1 point.
Now let's see why I only give the show 4 out of 10, cons:
1. Corny. At least the show is admitting to it through the dialog, but it also seems to take itself very seriously to the extend it almost feels like Gods of Egypt. The final fight is the pinnacle. It was so bad I don't even know what to say. (BTW it is probably even worse than the final fight in daredevil 2.)
2. No sense of urgency. The show doesn't give viewers the real sense of urgency, while it could easily do it. For example, when Luke got shot by diamondback, he could really die. Instead just to shoot Luke in the head, this guy just jumped out and started bullshitting (so corny), resulting at letting Luke getting away. Then he bullshit again after he had chance to shoot Luke in the theater, bullshit again after he caught Luke on the street (and just let Luke go after he shot him), and then he just could not keep his mouth shut...it makes the viewers feel like it is all going to be okay because the bad guy is never going to really do anything to get to you.
3. The big bad diamondback is a moron. Besides the fact he doesn't know how to shut up, his final battle suit just makes him looking like an idiot.
4. Plot holes. Why couldn't diamondback just equip himself with more vibranium bullets while he equipped NYPD with those bullets. How can the doctor spend so many years without realizing the temperature was a key factor to recreate the condition? There are just too many random plots don't make much sense in the show.
5. Not scientific, this is not an issue if the show just want to be fun like deadpool or guardians of galaxy. But the more serious the show is and try to come up with bullshit to explain real science, the less seriously I can take it. Despite the nonsense of Luke's ability, other details in the show don't make sense either. For example, Luke destroyed a pillar in a theater, based on physic, he should be knocked back 20 feet unless he weights 10 tons. Also to create the force and speed to destroy the pillar, the floor should be destroyed too. And since Luke's power he should be having much larger steps like 10 feet per step and much faster (hard to film tho, hahaha). It's almost like Trump running for president. You just can't mix seriousness and complete nonsense together.
6. The plot didn't hold together after the death of cotton mouth. It introduced a terrible new bad guy, and then the whole speech thing at Harlem's Paradise didn't make sense (forced plot). In fact almost everything after the death of cotton mouth feels rather forced, except the love story between claire and Luke (although their visit to the doc was a forced plot).
There are more cons, but I will just stop here and list the main problems.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really wanted to like this program, it has a great cast but the script is so very poor, the pacing is so slow, and the the action is rubbish. I could not watch past episode four where we see the same old story of old mentor gets killed, super hero emerges - ta da! It looks like an Eddie Murphy film to be honest - 99.9% black cast is way out of wack with the Politically Correct movement we expect today - wonder if anything will be said! I have no idea how this is scoring so well when it is frankly pants. I can only assume that the first reviews are from friends and family - it has to be - surly nobody actually likes watching pointless interactions ?
The first half of season one rocked--the second half flopped.
Excellent acting performances for complex characters, masterful integration of powerful music, introspection and confrontation with current social issues--all highlights of the first several episodes.
Unfortunately, as the season progressed, one could sense that whoever was driving this bus fell asleep, or was otherwise distracted. A couple of scenes were reminiscent of old Batman and Robin episodes. B-rated, campy, predictable dialog replaced the eloquence of the early episodes. Logical progression of plot lines and at least cursory explanations of how this-lead-to-that were ignored. All capped with an uninspired, unsurprising finale.
My hope is the show will learn from its mistakes, correct the flaws, and become even better next year.
There's a lot to say about this series but I think the most obvious is how underwhelming the main character is. Colter comes off as rejected, docile, and often simple. There's background of him being a former cop but his intellect as Luke Cage seems far too simple for any skills of the sort. That along with the monotonous tone he takes throughout each episode really diminishes the character. The supporting cast works well and they are engaging and entertaining; especially Cottonmouth. The musical cameos are great as well and remind me of the old New York Undercover TV series when every episode featured someone new in the background. My only complaint is Luke Cage himself.. in the comics he was an active and athletic guy that didn't walk around in hoodies all of the time speaking with his "inside voice." This is like Luke Cage on Ritalin.
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