LUKE CAGE Review: Thoughts by Writers

***This post contains spoilers for LUKE CAGE.*** 

***You've been warned.***

LUKE CAGE debuted September 30 on Netflix for your binge watching pleasure and a few of the writers, who have finished the entire season, took a few moments to reflect on the latest edition to the series.

Here's some of our opinions here at The Daily SuperHero...

Nicole Teeters -- GOTHAM Beat Writer

Along with JESSICA JONES, LUKE CAGE is absolutely the type of show that Marvel should be making more of. While it’s been fun to focus on all the white males, it’s time for some diversity to shake things up. Luke Cage’s race added another level to this show and made the entire setting of the show feel more realistic. There were racists within the police system and innocent black men on the run for their race; the racial politics within the show made it more compelling to watch. I was intrigued to see how certain actions and sayings would affect not only the characters, but the community as a whole. There was the entire unraveling of a corrupt system to watch unfold as well.  
As a white female, I do not try to pretend I understand the struggles of black men, but shows like these are what can help me, and people like me, to understand and sympathize — especially considering their struggles more often than not include being unfairly killed by police, more and more commonly these days. Overall, it was fascinating to watch a superhero character have other problems besides a few criminals and a love interest. 

Kaitlin Roberts -- THE FLASH Beat Writer

If you’ve watched any of the other Marvel Netflix shows, the premise of LUKE CAGE might not surprise you — a reluctant hero fighting to save their city from an underground criminal empire isn’t exactly groundbreaking when it comes to superheroes, after all. But the truth is a plot description of the show is never going to capture the appeal of LUKE CAGE. A plot description could never hope to convey how the show brilliantly communicates the resilient, hopeful spirit of Harlem nor the seamless manner in which soundtrack including everything from funk to hip-hop is woven into scene after scene in a way that enhances your viewing experience like nothing you’ve ever seen. It certainly can’t hope to explain how powerful and political many of the images are, especially when these moments are often wordless. 
Which isn’t to say LUKE CAGE is subtle with its messages, because it really isn’t. It stumbles one or two times by not having faith that the audience has gotten its point, which can give the show a few repetitive moments. It also made some unnecessary and occasionally bizarre changes from the comic books which overcomplicated things at times. But ultimately, Marvel has succeeded wildly at updating this classic character and making him both exciting and relevant for a new audience. 
Although there are plenty of loose ends left for future seasons to explore, it’s hard to do much speculation since it’s guaranteed THE DEFENDERS will be released before a potential LUKE CAGE Season 2 hits; so there’s no real way to say what Luke’s physical or emotional state will be. But if the ending is any indication, almost all of the villains from this season are going to making reappearances. While most of these characters were enjoyable and deserving of a second go, the show will have to do a little extra work to avoid being repetitive with that many of the same antagonists. If they do decide to go the 'Heroes for Hire' route it’s easy to imagine they might deal with more Mariah and Shades’ henchmen rather than facing them directly. But whatever route the show chooses, I know I’ll be tuning in.

Peter Freeman -- TV & Animation Writer

I’ll start off by saying that LUKE CAGE is absolutely worth watching. A lot of times reviews are spent pointing out what’s wrong with a series because it’s easier to find the flaws in something. They stand out, they make you groan or roll your eyes. There’s some of that in LUKE CAGE, but there’s plenty that LUKE CAGE got right as well. So it’s worth noting that no matter what you read in my review here, you should absolutely go watch LUKE CAGE. It’s a more important series than people give it credit for, especially in this day and age.  
In terms of the series itself, you don’t need to know a whole lot about LUKE CAGE in order to dive right in. Even if you didn’t see JESSICA JONES, you won’t feel totally lost. That said there are a bunch of references to JESSICA JONES throughout the show. In fact, more than the other Marvel and Netflix series. Also, there are a ton of references to the outside Marvel universe so people will get a kick out of that.  
The villains are usually the key in a Netflix series. LUKE CAGE is divided into two segments, each involving a different main villain. The first is the one that’s been advertised in all of the promos, Cottonmouth. He has charisma and a menace that is sorely lacking in the villain of the back half of the show. Diamondback is essentially a poor man’s Tony Todd and it’s unfortunate because that character is way more interesting when he’s not in the show. Everyone fears this man, but when he shows up, there’s a lack of menace to back up those fears.

Daniel Wolf -- Founder and Publisher

LUKE CAGE is the perfect show to debut right now because of all the Black Lives Matter movement. However, I did not enjoy LUKE CAGE as much as I wanted to — and this is coming from a big fan of 70s martial arts films and blaxploitation movies that LUKE CAGE gains lots of influence from, in my opinion. I have to admit that I enjoyed both seasons of DAREDEVIL and JESSICA JONES a little bit more. 
The positives in LUKE CAGE are all about the casting and the actors. Actors Mike Colter, Simone Missick, Alfre Woodard, Theo Rossi and of course Rosario Dawson. All stood out above in their respective performances.
Then there's one of my biggest pet peeves which is always about villains. Marvel has somewhat failed its villains in LUKE CAGE. It didn't help matters that DAREDEVIL and JESSICA JONES villains had, by far, some of Marvel's best villains ever seen in any movie or TV series they've made, so it was going to be an uphill battle for LUKE CAGE and its villains anyway. Woodard's Mariah was the strongest of the show's villains, mainly due to her character getting a chance to have the most development throughout the show. In fact, her path to becoming corrupt and a true villain is fun to watch unfold. But Cottonmouth and especially Diamondback were the weak links because neither were really memorable or iconic like Kingpin or Kilgrave. It's a shame because LUKE CAGE deserved better villainy and missing on two of three villains is unfortunate because this translated into those two villains being throwaways like a used Kleenex. Cottonmouth, specifically, deserved better instead of just being a plot tool for Mariah to realizing her full villain potential. Which brings us to Diamondback who was as campy of a villain as there's been in any super hero adaptation which is a shame because his build-up early in the season, without actually seeing him and just hearing his name, implied him as a powerful antagonist later in the series. He was not and it hurt the last half of the season more than helped it.
I'm not sure if there will be a Season 2 for LUKE CAGE and, honestly, it's probably best to have any potential Season 2 be a combined season starring both Luke Cage and Iron Fist in a 'Heroes For Hire' spin-off season. Fans everywhere want this and Marvel has to be feeling the pressure to bring a 'Heroes For Hire' adaptation to Netflix sooner than later.