* * C
Luke Cage is the third Marvel superhero who has been given a series on Netflix. I found the series entertaining. Mike Colter is likeable as Luke, and Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) is an excellent villain. The story is straight out of a Louis L’Amour western, with Luke using his powers instead of a gun. The setting, Harlem, is interesting. There are some good characters, like Luke’s boss, Pop (Frankie Faison).
I had some problems with the series that prevented me from rating it good. The first is the lack of tension. Luke is so overpowered that you never feel he’s really at risk for the first half of the series. Once Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey) shows up, the sense of danger ramps up. A less serious issue was the music. While many of the live acts playing in Harlem’s Paradise were good, some of the incidental score is jarringly bad.
One of the biggest problems with the series were the police. Detective Misty Knight (Simone Missick) is a complete idiot, and is constantly screwing up. One officer beats a young boy for information on Cage’s whereabouts, and this incident is somehow used by the villain to turn the people against Luke. WTF. Finally, police are convinced that Luke has killed a cop, even though the killer yelled “I’m Luke Cage”, and they intentionally target him to murder him. This series is blatantly anti-police.