The New Luke Cage Featurette Does Everything Right

Tuesday, 20 September 2016 - 1:16PM
Marvel
Luke Cage
Tuesday, 20 September 2016 - 1:16PM
The New Luke Cage Featurette Does Everything Right

The new featurette for Marvel's Luke Cage just dropped, and boy, it is hitting all the right notes.

There's a lot going on in that two and a half minutes, so let's break it down:

"There Are No Capes"


As Simone Missick says, Luke Cage is the kind of hero who doesn't wear a cape. Or a mask. Or even a symbol. What Luke Cage does wear is a hoodie, which has become a symbol in itself: whether it's a nod to the controversy surrounding Trayvon Martin's death or just an expression of Luke's everyday, normal-guy status, the fact that his hoodie is what identifies him is genius. No Bat-signal. No special red phone connected to the Mayor. Other superhero movies revel in creating amazing, colorful costumes that let the audience know they're in for some fun (or not), but Luke Cage immediately tips off the viewer that this is not your regular superhero story.


He Doesn't Want to Be a Hero


Opening quote
"Luke Cage is not a guy trying to be a hero...He has powers he didn't ask for, the women he loved is dead, and he was put in prison for a crime he didn't commit...After Jessica Jones he goes uptown and just wants to be left alone..."
Closing quote

This is the classic "refusal of the call" in the Hero's Journey. Everything about this suggests that Luke's struggle is going to be just as much an emotional, internal one as an action-packed, external one. When you've been through the kind of heartbreak and defeat Luke Cage has experienced, you don't want to be a hero. But the villain of the show, the gun-running club owner Cornell Cottonmouth Stokes, may end up bringing out the hero in Luke—as Mike Colter says, "[Luke] just can't stand idly by and let things happen." This is the formula for a great conflict: pitting Luke's sense of justice against his fears and doubts.

It Feels Like a Legend in the Making


Opening quote
"You know how the wind feels right before a big thunderstorm? Harlem's the same. Trouble smells a certain way."
Closing quote


In the trailer, Harlem seems a lot less like a neighborhood and more like a world unto itself. Like Batman's Gotham, you get a sense for the the flavor of the hero's world and its unique problems. This lets Harlem become more than just a neighborhood in New York City—it becomes a mythical place where good and evil can throw down. It makes the stakes bigger when your whole world is one neighborhood, and the fact that Luke is not the official protector of Harlem, that he makes his rise from just a nobody (he sweeps up hair in a barber shop) to a full-fledged hero, feels like we're witnessing a real myth in the making.

And I just want to underline: all of this is expressed in two and a half minutes. That's a damn good trailer, and it makes me excited for the season to come.

Luke Cage Season 1 will premiere on Netflix on September 30th, 2016.

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Luke Cage