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Friday, October 7, 2016

Review of Luke Cage by Sir Kent

Luke Cage Review!
#sirkentsaid #toylab

Sir Kent is a guest blogger covering film on Toylab you can find him at the local theater or on the social media sites below:

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Luke Cage is very good the series currently has a 5/5 stars on Netflix and I give it a 9 & ½ out of 10.

Let's begin with a question is Luke Cage "too black"? To many that question is silly.  Luke Cage is black and his comic series was very much about black culture, black history and black social issues.  That said on many comment sections about the series there were comments like....

"I think it was just too black for me"


"I didn't get it, too black for me"


"I don't get black culture"


I actually had to go back and rewrite this review because of a post by Matty B at TOY LAB shared  mentioning the comments of people asking if the series was "TOO BLACK".
Luke Cage series was “TOO BLACK”! WHAT DIRECTLY THE F'BEEP IS THAT??? For white people to complain about anything being “Too Black” is like Black people complaining about Trevon Martin being “TOO DEAD”! Remember how people lost their f'BEEPin’ minds when they made Spider-Man Mexican for a year?

 Even members of f'BEEPin’ congress went bananas over that sh'BEEP! Don't even get me started on the shit-show that erupted when they featured a Black Stormtrooper! OMG!!! DUMBF'BEEPS, this is a FICTIONAL character that is set in a FICTIONAL world. WHY oh WHY are you getting your collective panties in a bunch?

Is the real reason for the "TOO BLACK" feeling that show is set in Harlem, a place that is deeply immersed in Black culture and you have no f'BEEPin’ knowledge or understanding about it? Is it because that it is centered around a Black POSITIVE role model that goes against all of your stupid ass, negative stereotypes? Is it because he wears a black hoodie and is bulletproof which must give some gun toting hillbillys out there a fBEEPin’ nightmares! People who know me know that I don't normally pull the “Race Card”. Just be ready if you liked the series.  Because to some people no matter how good or bad Luke Cage was to some it was just Too Black.

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BUT PEOPLE! There was SO MUCH RIGHT with Netflix's LUKE CAGE.  So much right that you can bask in the sun and smile dumbly like you just got socked by one of Luke Cage's super powered fists.  Don't think I am nit-picking but I will try to find SOMETHING  legitimately wrong with it what some will argue Luke Cage to be the best Netflix adaptation of a Marvel hero yet. I AM NOT GOING THERE but HELL MAYBE I SHOULD.

Nit-Pick #1 - No Knives for Diamondback?
I'm just a fan so like all of my reviews, let's start with what I didn't like. Eric LaRay Harvey played the Hell out of Willis “Diamondback” Stryker and I even loved the twist they put into the plot adding a deeper relationship between himself and Luke Cage (Mike Colter).

The tiny problem I had with his character was that in the comics “Diamondback” earned his name in the street as being lethal with edged weapons and carried around an assortment of them to kill with.  Diamondback is reference to his skills with a knife.  Now, I did like the mob boss approach they took with him. I also found him to be far more believable and menacing than Jared Leto's punk ass Joker from SUICIDE SQUAD. But, it would have been nice to see him use a knife more than once throughout the entire series.

Nit Pick #2 Misty Knights Arm.
 In the comic, we all know that Misty Knight (Simone Missick) was given a mechanical arm by Tony Stark after having it blown off while saving people from a bomb. However, after the way her arm seemed to be okay by series end, I don't think we will be getting that. In a side note, if some of the cast THINK they are too good for the small screen, those bitches better check themselves. The legendary Samuel L. Jackson himself appeared TWICE on A.O.S. So if THAT muthuf'BEEPa can do it, you ALL can do it! PLUS, this is Netflix.

Nit Pick #3
The series is way, way, way too black........Just joking sheesh you didn't believe I was going to say that did you?

And now to my review. I must give MAD PROPS to Marvel and Netflix for not only, once again, perfectly casting, writing and directing this series. But also having the big, hairy f'BEEPin’ balls to take on current hot-topic issue's that a LOT other networks or series would not. They addressed racial bias police tactics in inner cities. The brutality of police tend to show against innocent civilians and of course a few who are desperately trying to walk the line between the law and the people it's meant to protect.

Second to all of that is the music that is highlighted throughout the series. It flows from rap to hip-hop to neo-soul and back again. It pays respect to its history and meshes it with current poets, creator's and artist.

Summary and thoughts with some Spoilers

Some SPOILERS, Spoiler alert!

Luke Cage tells the story of Carl Lucas. The son of a preacher from Savannah, GA.

Out of jealousy and spite, his half brother, Willis Stryker, planted drugs at his place and ratted him out to the police for which he was sent to prison. While imprisoned, Lucas carried himself and behaved like a man with great pride and self respect. Almost as much as his obvious physical prowess. This drew the attention of a racist Corrections Officer by the name of Albert Rackham (Chance Kelly). Rackham was determined to either break Lucas or make him work for him.

After sending a few boys to try and beat him down (Which failed miserably), Rackham beatdown and threatened to kill “Squabbles” (Craig Mums Grant) if Lucas didn't fight for him in his underground fighting ring. Yup. This Fox New watching muthufBEEPa had a complete illegal fight club set up where he was making money hand over fist...LITERALLY! So, in order to protect the life of another, exactly what he DIDN'T want to have to do, Lucas started fighting. Somewhere along the long line of fights and wins, Lucas started to loose himself.

This became evident to not only “Squabbles” but to his prison group therapist Reva Conners (Parisha-Fitz Henly). Who not only had an interest in Lucas because of his chocolaty goodness but, because of something else that was a LOT more diabolical. After a breakthrough in therapy and in their personal relationship, Lucas decides to build a case against Rackham and get himself out legally. Of course, Rackham finds out and has “Squabbles” killed and Lucas beaten nearly to death by a person who will have a HUGE effect on his life later Herman “Shades” Alvarez.

Now we get to see the reason why the memory of Reva, a woman he THOUGHT he loved and could trust will forever be in question. She worked with the prison doctor Dr. Noah Burnstein (Michael Kostroff) who as it turns out REALLY WAS conducting experiments on prisoners! In order to save Lucas’s life, the good doctor exposed Lucas to an experiment that was a watered down version of the super-soldier experiment. It was meant to help soldiers heal from wounds on the battlefield in minutes or mere days, depending on the type of injury. However, in true comic book style, Rackham barges in during the treatment and starts turning knobs that crank up the energy input in the tank where Lucas was far past what it was meant to be.

This causes an overload that literally blows up in Rackhams face, killing him. After emerging from what was left of the tank, SOMEHOW unharmed and alive, Lucas finds Rackhams body. Knowing that they would NEVER let him out being found with the body of a C.O. that  he was KNOWN to have had a beef with, he punches a nearby wall and it crumbles, much to his shock. He then punches a hole out of the room and makes his escape from prison. Fast forward past his interaction with Jessica Jones and The Purple Man (I’m sorry, Killgrave) we find our reluctant hero hiding in plain sight in Harlem N.Y.

He is now known as Luke Cage and living an uneventful life working in a neighborhood barbershop that is considered by all to be “Harlem's Switzerland”. (A place of non-violence). The shop owner “Pop” (Frankie Faison) knows of Cage’s powers but not of his past. He is always trying to get him to use them for the good of the neighborhood. “Like those other fella’s uptown.” (Daredevil, The Punisher).

Cage is reluctant, not only because of his past but because of the fact that he doesn't want to be “Out There” again where people may be able to make him do things against his will like Killgrave did. As long as trouble doesn't come calling, he has no intention of exposing himself, or the simple, little life that he has carved out for himself. Unfortunately for him, that trouble is closer than he thinks. Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes has become arguably the biggest arms dealer in New York city. His power is aided by his ties to City Councilwoman Mariah Dillard. Who has been using his iron grip on the streets to further her own political gain.

Fast forward, fast forward, fast forward. That trouble that Cage had been trying to avoid finds it’s way to “Pop’s” barber shop in the form of having it riddled with bullets and “Pop’ shot in the neck and bleeding out in the arms of Cage. This was all due to the stupid ass actions of a young dumbf'BEEP who was seeking shelter int" Harlem's Switzerland”. This spurs Cage into action and he takes MUCH boot to Black ass at one of “Cottonmouths” clearing houses. “Shades” has been on the scene for a while but now has to advise “Cottonmouth” on how to weather this huge loss. Possibly how to avoid a visit from “Diamondback”.

The mere mention of “Diamondback’s” name inspires fear in most. He is a shadowy figure that some believe to be urban myth but few EVER want to meet personally. Cage’s role in the neighborhood continues to expand because of his proximity to all that is happening in Harlem. He is now of interest to Detective Misty Knight as well (Simmone Missick) who he SHAGGED THE HELL out of a few nights prior after work! Side note, let's keep count of all the walls Cage is hitting.

Reva, Jessica Jones, then Misty Knight and…? I'm getting to that. Misty has her own problems with a partner and co-workers that have ties to the very cause of Harlem's woes. I do like how they tied Clare Temple (Rosario Dawson) into this. She will be the tie that binds all of these series together, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, The Punisher and the upcoming Iron Fist. By chance, while at her mother's dinner, Claire runs into Luke and recognizes him as the guy Jessica Jones shot in the face with a shotgun (If you ain't hip, you're a horrible fan!).

They connect over breakfast and her current need to find direction in her life. Of course, she had no idea that that direction would involve her being in the vicinity of a powered individual and a psychopathic killer with HAMMERTECH apparently on speed dial! BTW, why the f'BEEP IS Justin Hammer in bed with “Diamondback”? I knew he sold to almost anyone but, what's his endgame working with him? Does this mean that we may get to see Justin Hammer at some point during the series?

Okay, I think I have given away enough of the plot to get you interested in it. I have certainly left a sh'BEEP-load out as well but, that is because, despite of what a few of you think, I DO TRY and not give TOO much away in these reviews. Let me just say that this series is fantastic in every way and Netflix has dropped the mike and moonwalked all over network T.V. yet again. It may start off a little slow for some but, bare in mind, you have to build the characters up. Or else you just get on long ass fight scene.

 I give this series a 9 & ½ out of 10 and if you haven't seen it yet, pay your Netflix membership like NOW and do so! Haven't you wondered what everybody was talking about around the water cooler Monday morning?

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