By Kaylee Brewster
“Luke Cage” is a Netflix superhero show that focuses more on its complex main character than high-intensity action but it proves to be a series as strong as its lead.
Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is a super strong, bulletproof black man on the streets of Harlem. All he really wants is to be left alone but when the streets call him, he answers.
Luke fights drug dealers, gun runners, murderers and corruption at all levels. He’s made his mark as a hero and now the bad guys just won’t leave him alone.
While the series provides some action and twisty-turny plots, it is character driven.
Audiences watch Luke transition reluctantly into the hero role and then figure out what kind of hero he wants to be. While Luke is, without question, the hero, there are times where you doubt his judgment and his decisions, which makes him more compelling and relatable.
The supporting characters are similar. Claire (Rosario Dawson), a nurse who helps Luke, provides his moral compass, whether he thinks he needs the help or not. Misty Knight (Simone Missick) is a Harlem police detective who believes in the law and is critical of Luke’s vigilantism. However, she also begins to see the good he is doing and starts to question how effective her policing role is.
While “Luke Cage” is our hero, a hero is only as good as the villains he faces and Luke faces some doozies. Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali), Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) and Shades (Theo Rossi) are just the beginning. However, the story doesn’t treat them as mere villains. They are characters with emotions and motivations. At times you can understand, even sympathize, with them. At least for a moment before they do something so awful you’re wanting Luke to give them a beat down.
The focus on characters can make the story seem a little slow but “Luke Cage” is well-worth the wait.