“Marvel’s Luke Cage” brings long-anticipated diversity to superhero shows

Causing Netflix to crash, the anticipation for the release of “Marvel’s Luke Cage” started an internet frenzy.

Unlike other superhero television shows and their Marvel movie counterparts, “Marvel’s Luke Cage” and its predecessors “Daredevil” and Jessica Jones are targeted for an older audience.


Being available on a streaming service allows for the show’s creators and writers to explore and project controversial, complex and real life scenarios that pushed past the boundaries that are normally enforced on movies and cable television.

The ability to create a darker, grittier and more violently realistic atmosphere allows for the superhero complex of the show to seem less comic-like and more based in reality. Where “Jessica Jones” dealt with topics from rape to freewill, “Marvel’s Luke Cage” brings forth a breath of fresh air from a new perspective.

Show-runner Cheo Hodari Coke illustrates a harsh and unfair version of Harlem where organized crime, corruption and racism run rampant.

Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is a calm and level-headed man. Behind his powers of strength and unbreakable skin, he is not motivated to use powers for anything but protecting what is his and who is close to him.

Airing months after the first season of “Jessica Jones” and the second season of “Daredevil,” the story of “Marvel’s Luke Cage” is beautifully and seamlessly woven into the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline. But, unlike the other superhero shows circulating in the entertainment world, “Marvel’s Luke Cage” provides a sense of realism where the hero is given the role of a real and ordinary person who deals with the current pressing issues that African-Americans face everyday; Coker bluntly portrays the conflict between African-Americans and police profiling without apology.

The first four episodes of the season introduce characters and highlight the various themes that the show takes on. The iconic villains introduced are crime boss Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali) and his cousin Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard.) Dillard by far becomes the worst villain to ever exist in the Marvel world with his political abilities to manipulate the media, while parading as a charismatic and caring woman who is dedicated to the people and the community.

“Marvel’s Luke Cage” succeeds at blending various genres into one, but that is also its downfall. The show features parallel storylines of the superhero political drama and the mediocre police procedures seen through the eyes of protagonist Misty Knight (Simone Missick). The police procedural theme brings down the momentum of the show. This prospective gives away the mystery of the show because viewers know the details behind the murders.

Once the show gets past these elements, it becomes wildly addicting as the viewer watches Luke Cage develop from an ordinary man who wants to be left alone to someone who wants to protect others and will do everything he can to help people in trouble. Cage shields innocent bystanders who are caught in the cross hairs of Stoke’s criminal organization.

The writing and story development were both fantastic. However, the various plot holes and the rapid amount of supporting characters introduced in the show lead to confusion. Despite this, the show shines with its exceptional casting and addressing of real world issues.

The casting brings a sense of diversity to the Marvel Universe. With prominent African-American actors dominating the screen, along with a supporting cast of Hispanic actors, it is a breath of fresh air compared to the superhero flicks with all-white casts that dominate the entertainment industry. “Marvel’s Luke Cage” is the beginning of a new era of long-anticipated diversity. As quoted in the show, “There’s just something empowering about a black man who’s bulletproof.”