By Jacob Douglas, E23 Reporter

Marvel has done it again, but should we be surprised at this point? Luke Cage is the perfect blend of the classic gritty crime drama we have seen in Daredevil and Jessica Jones, with a hip hop vibe that brings the streets of Harlem to life.

Luge Cage logoThe story follows Luke Cage, (Mike Colter), a hero with impenetrable skin and super strength, on his one-man vendetta against the antagonist Cottonmouth, (Mahershala Ali) an arms dealer and Harlem mob boss. This is Cage’s second appearance in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), after his debut in last year’s Jessica Jones.

A lot of the show takes place in Cottonmouth’s club, where we hear most of the show’s music. Back in July the show’s showrunner Cheo Coker said it would be “the Wu-Tangification of the Marvel Universe”. He wasn’t lying. Whether it be the show’s opening title sequence or a fight scene to the tune of The Wu-Tang Clan’s “Bring Da Ruckus”, the show is rooted in hip hop.

The first episode starts in Pop’s barber shop, where Pop (Frankie Faison) and 3 younger characters, Chico, Dante, and Shameek partake in some local New York sports banter (props to the Kristaps Porzingis reference). Cage works at the shop, and comes in at the end of the argument and gets into it with Shameek. Shameek comes at Cage, then decides that is not a good idea. A mindset more thugs should have when it comes to our protagonist, because honestly, he kicks a lot of tail in this show.

We don’t really see Cage’s powers in full effect until the end of the first episode when he takes out a group of thugs. While Daredevil’s martial arts choreography is fun and all, nothing is more satisfying than the brute force shown in Luke Cage. The action in the show is beautiful. Cage throws bad guys around, and shrugs off punches and bullets effortlessly.

The best action sequence comes in the third episode of the series we see Cage come in and destroy a building full of Cottonmouth’s thugs with a car door and his bare hands. A scene that rivals the acclaimed hallway fight scene from season one of Daredevil.

What really makes this show something special, however, is the characters. Colter’s performance as the man with impenetrable skin is nothing short of fantastic, being able to balance the emotional turmoil going on within the character, whilst still delivering a stoic performance in some great scenes.

We get to see Cage’s suave side in his scenes with Misty Knight (Simone Missick). Missick’s character is a detective born and raised in Harlem who is more than just Cage’s love interest. Missick brings a smart and equally great performance as she tries to get to the bottom of just who Cage is, whilst investigating the crime surrounding Cottonmouth.

Mahershala Ali’s portrayal of Cottonmouth is just another one of Marvel Netflix’s stellar villains. Ali is never over the top, and brings an intimidating self-confidence to the role that makes Cottonmouth, a character without any sort of super powers, seem able to take on the seemingly invincible Cage. Cottonmouth is cocky, violent and surprisingly charming, leading to him being another memorable antagonist.

For all of you binge watchers out there, Luke Cage will pull you in from the start and won’t let you go until you’ve finished. Marvel has added to its already stellar track record with another Netflix series hit.

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