Luke Cage

7.5 / 10
55 min
Superheroes
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" gives "Luke Cage - Season 2" a 7."
Written by on 1 August 2018.
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Luke Cage - Season 2

The hero of Harlem is back! After his adventure with The Defenders, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) has returned to his home to keep things safe. Because of his actions he has become a local celebrity, but he's not happy about that at all. It only makes his struggle against Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) and the newly introduced Bushmaker (Mustafa Shakir) more difficult.

Just like the previous season, it is difficult to grade Luke Cage.

I thought that the previous season was very difficult to grade. On the one hand, there was a really good vibe, solid acting, effective social criticism and there were some entertaining moments. On the other hand, it was a bit tedious and there wasn't really that much of a storyline. In the first season I really considered this lack of story to be the show's downfall, but the actors, vibe and social criticism made it quite watchable. The second season feels a bit different, due to a new perspective, but in many points it is still the same. Just like the previous season, it is difficult to grade Luke Cage.

The main characters still manage to steal the show, due to solid acting by Colter and Woodard. Misty Knight (Simone Missick, Wayward Pines) also does a great job. Due to a traumatic experience her role in the story changes, but she handles that very well. The new villain, Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir, The Deuce), is a great surprise. Shakir manages to portray the character in an interesting way. His somewhat melodious voice and pronounced facial features are quite appealing. Due to that he can be compared to the villain Killmonger from Black Panther (although the backstory of Killmonger was a bit more elaborate).

Where Jessica Jones is more independent, Luke Cage really immerses itself in the Netflix/Marvel-universe by having various guest characters from other shows appear. This is incredibly fun for the experienced viewer, but for those who are new to the marvel-verse or are there just for Luke Cage, it could actually be a deterrent.

Just like in the first season, the pace is still quite slow. Thirteen full episodes that last between 50 and 60 minutes, with one outlier episode that lasts for 70 minutes. And all that for a story that could've fit into 8 episodes. However, the slow pace is quite suitable for the show, contrary to Jessica Jones or The Punisher. The same applies to the storyline. There isn't much of a storyline, but Luke Cage is more of a portrayal of life in the black community of Harlem.

Luke Cage is the most successful show when it comes to providing us with social criticism and setting up a believable world.



What Luke Cage also requires, and is successful at, is the social criticism and credible worldbuilding. Some accurate parallels are made with this time of the Trump administration and some of its supporters. If a black person is attacked, it is difficult to fight back. If that person does fight back, then lots of people will make claims that all black people are savages. If that person doesn't fight back, then the attacker(s) will feel powerful. This dilemma is shown in Luke Cage, in both the first and second season.

Just like in the previous season, Luke Cage is once again incredibly atmospheric. The orange glow that covers all, the fantastic music. The atmosphere comes straight out of the heart of the inhabitants of Harlem. But there is one weakness in its cinematography and that is the fighting choreography, just like in Iron Fist and The Defenders. It's messy and it feels a tad slow.

Just like the previous season, it is difficult to grade Luke Cage. On the one hand it feels as if I want to dislike it. The pace isn't fast enough, there's a lack of story and an implausible progression definitely don't do the show any good. On the other hand, it is actually quite good with some solid actors, atmosphere and accurate social criticism. I find it incredibly difficult to grade this show. After taking everything into account, I've decided to give it a 7. Whether or not there will be a third season, is as of yet not known, but if I only look at the ending of the second season I wouldn't mind if there will be.
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