Saturday, October 1, 2016

#JustaQuickePlease: Marvel's Luke Cage Spoiler Free Review

Netflix has had success story after success story when it comes to their Marvel series, with no end appearing to be in sight.  Well, that undefeated win streak has finally come to a close with their latest installment, Luke Cage.  Originally, Iron Fist was slated to be the next entry in the franchise, but Cage's story was bumped up, in what I can only assume, was a move to reflect the topical issues saturating the media over the last year.   The first seven episodes are empowering, compelling, imaginative, and raw, with exceptional acting and storytelling.  The characters are authentic and thoroughly engaging, with each cast member bringing their dramatic incarnations to exuberant life.   However, the fight and action scenes are a bit disappointing, feeling rushed and poorly choreographed.  That, unfortunately, is a trend that runs throughout the collection of episodes especially compared to the previous two Daredevil entries which set a whole new bar in that area.  It is not, however, that deficit that ruins this production.  Rather, as the series progresses, it becomes incoherent, contradictory, and at points, nonsensical.   Points I will expound on in the spoiler filled review next week.  It appears, as though, there was decided direction that was purposefully altered at the last moment.   The message suddenly becomes overtly preachy, evolving into what seems like propaganda at one point.  In tandem, the characters begin to gradually lose their identities, sacrificing them to a deliberate ideological agenda that steals all of the genuineness of what the first half of the series was conveying.   In the end, instead of empowering, it moves to disenfranchising, appealing to a particular opinion and alienating everyone else.   What's worse, the final payoff is so lackluster and unsatisfying, that it makes the time spent getting there feel like a tremendous waste of time.   A contemporary story could have been effectively told, but bowed to a particular narrative that corrupts the sincerity of its totality.  However, there are some very cool nods to the comic canon and a few Easter eggs that will please the most devout Fanboy or girl; not to mention, the return of a reoccurring fan favorite character that becomes a true highlight of the series.  This is one of my favorite Marvel manifestations, and it is a shame that the message of equality, responsibility, and rising above tragedy and trial, represented by this incredibly inspiring icon, devolved into another status quo, politicized piece.  3 out of 5 Kernels: with my rating, I'm being gracious, because, overall, it is not a total loss, but extremely frustrating for those who have waited so long to see the Power Man brought to life on screen.

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