Late June saw the much anticipated second season of Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix, and we’re here to tell you that you won’t be disappointed in yourself for binge-watching this one.
Season 2 starts off full-throttle. The first scene of episode 1, titled “Soul Brother #1,” is a well-choreographed action sequence leading into the intro sequence and revealing the director of this episode to be, surprisingly enough, the one and only Lucy Lui.
This season continues it’s particular stylistic flair of incorporating guest musical performances within many of the episodes, including performances by Gary Clark Jr., Esperanza Spalding, Ghostface Killah, and Stephen Marley.
Many actors reprise their roles from the first season. Alfre Woodard and Theo Rossi deliver outstanding performances as the morally corrupt and psychopathic Mariah Dillard and Hernan “Shades” Alvarez, respectively. A new, more physically formidable villain also shows up by the name of Bushmaster, portrayed by Mustafa Shakir.
Simone Missick is back as the feisty Misty Knight, and without saying too much, we see her gain an advantage in her continued efforts to keep Harlem safe. Fans of the character can rejoice in knowing that she’s becoming the Misty Knight we know from the comics.
Alluding to the comics further, we see exciting appearances by Danny Rand (Finn Jones), aka the Iron Fist, and Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick). Luke Cage (Mike Colter) fights alongside Danny, Misty with Colleen, and with this, we get two iterations of the same team, known in the comics as Heroes for Hire, a team that first appeared in pages in 1978. Luke even occasionally utters his famously corny catchphrase, “Sweet Christmas,” a deep cut comic book allusion to tug on the heartstrings of longtime Luke Cage fans.
As the bulletproof man, you can believe that Luke Cage takes countless bullets to the chest and back. In fact, he often just stands still and takes shots. Honestly, it kind of gets old after a while. I’ll admit that some of the fight scenes are frustratingly campy. I get that this is a show based on comic book characters, but campy action scenes like some of the ones in this show take me out of the story and into an annoying state of disbelief.
Luke Cage Season 2 explores a plethora of themes that keep the show substantially relative, including the loyalty and obligations involved in what it means to be part of a family. Luke Cage has issues with his father (Reg E. Cathey), Mariah has issues with her daughter, Tilda Johnson (Gabrielle Dennis), Shades and Claire Temple, reprised by the prolific Rosario Dawson, are separately caught up in the mix. Luke also struggles with his identity as a hero, a celebrity, and a lover. He confronts many questions about himself throughout the season. Do his abilities allow Cage to be judge, jury, and executioner? Where should the line be drawn? Does the law need to clash with vigilantism, or should they exist exclusively? Is it okay to do the wrong thing for the right reason?
If you want the answers to these questions, you’ll have to sink your eyes into the show. Both seasons of Marvel’s Luke Cage are currently streaming on Netflix.