So, the much anticipated companion series to Marvel’s Jessica Jones went on UK release on 30 Sept 2016. How does Luke Cage stack up? Well, Luke is of course a very stacked hero, and there’s plenty of opportunity for him to flex those pecs when taking on the gangs of Harlem. Yes, it’s a much more wham-bam series than Jessica Jones, and so pounding most of the time that it inevitably lacks the smooth noir mood of JJ. LC also sacrifices subtlety and nuance for tempo and compulsive viewing. This lack isn’t just in plotting but also in characterisation – and certainly in the first three episodes (as reported by a good number of viewers) it’s hard to give two hoots about LC himself, although things greatly improve from episode 4 onwards.
Clearly, then, LC is far from perfect (and nowhere near as good as JJ for my money), but it’s well worth a watch. The political situation within Harlem is intriguing and twisted, although the larger politics of the series as a piece of art are a tad dodgy (with a Shaft-blacksploitation feel and a very hetero-normative depiction of women). The ‘moral compass’ of the piece shifts around a fair bit, regularly catching the viewer out. And there are enough tricks and quotable lines that you can’t end up loving it (guiltily maybe, but it’s still love). 8 out of 10 from me. Give it a go!