The trailer for “Luke Cage” has dropped like an atom bomb. That’s barely an exaggeration. It looks amazing!
“Power Man and Iron Fist” was my jam. A white dude and a black dude stubbornly dressed like a couple of disco-era rejects kicking the crap out of bad guys on a monthly basis. I mean, how could I not be into that?
In fact, as a kid growing up in a working-class coal town in the early 1980s, I think I can confidently say that, apart from watching the likes of Lou Brock and Ozzie Smith kick all kinds of ass for the St. Louis Cardinals, Luke Cage was my chief exposure to black people for the better part of the first two decades of my life. And given the casual racist remarks regularly regurgitated by some of my more ignorant classmates — not to mention those from my father and grandfather — I think it’s pretty clear that, insofar as pop culture characters can accomplish such a thing, Luke Cage played a pivotal role in pulling me away from bigotry by indoctrination. (I also need to give some credit to T.C. in “Magnum: P.I.”)
I say all of this not to pat myself on the back. But to point out the importance of a character like Cage, based on a child’s perspective more than three decades old. The world today is way more woke. So it may not be apparent to millennials. But trust me: Cage is a legitimate icon, and an important one. And I hope the world shows the man some respect.
Now: Onto the trailer!
A fair bit of the trailer consists of Cage having existential conversations in a barber shop. Brilliant choice. A barber shop is like a non-denominational church for men. As soon as you walk through that door, no matter your station in life, you’re on equal footing with everyone else inside. Conversation is sacred. Confessions and revelations are sacrosanct. Barber shops are holy ground, enforced not by a deity, but by the respect of one’s fellow men. If you’re going to talk in public about acquiring super strength and impenetrable skin in some shady experiment, a barber shop is the place you want to go.
As a high priest, you can’t go wrong with Frankie Faison. I’ve loved that man since I watched him escort Clarise Starling to her first meeting with Hannibal Lector. He has a quality that manages to be soothing while simultaneously making the gravity of your situation very, very clear. Can’t wait to watch his dynamic with Colter unfold.
Not to take away from Mike Colter, but, as any fan of James Bond films can attest, the real secret to an excellent story is a good villain. One should cast one’s villain accordingly. Based on what Marvel is showing us here, they’ve hit the mark with Mahershala Ali. The guy shows serious chops in “House of Cards,” and as a confessed Predaphile, I loved him as Mombasa in “Predators.” He’s got the whole Harlem gangster/warlord vibe dialed. The man reads as the devil incarnate
As to Colter himself, few actors today are as solid as he. When I heard that he’d been cast as Luke Cage in “Jessica Jones,” I smiled, nodded my head, and simply said, “Yep.” The man has presence and a physicality which combine to make him the only obvious choice to play Cage.
And we haven’t even really seen Misty Knight and Diamondback in action yet…
I’ll have more to say on this show once it drops, and once I’ve binged it (most likely, all in one sitting). But for now, I’m enthusiastically optimistic. Looks like Marvel and Netflix have done it again.