Tag Archives: Netflix

TV Review – Marvel and Netflix’s Luke Cage


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Luke Cage broke the norms of television drama and all I could say was ‘SWEET CHRISTMAS!!’

Marvel has been killing it with his Netflix’s deal. The characters and the larger than life setting that they have created with their shows have been simply incredible. Marvel has stopped making just superhero shows; these are some great television shows.

While Luke Cage continues the trend of superb characterization, storytelling, villains, and developing a setting as part of the cast that breathes and lives like rest of the characters. It does an important job and introduces one of Marvel’s foremost Black heroes to the limelight. The idea is followed by a series of fascinating characters and a compelling story.

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Luke Cage delivers an incredibly strong season (no pun intended). Though we’ve met him earlier in Jessica Jones, this time, we get to know more of him and his backstory. Mike Colter as Luke Cage is perfect as he delivers a performance which has the perfect combination of strength, smarts and charisma.

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Wilson Fisk in Daredevil was a loveable bad guy. Luke Cage takes this to a new level with introducing just not one villain but a series of bad guys trying to make his life hell. All these characters are interconnected to each other and trying to make Luke Cage’s life hell. The first half of the show is ruled by Cottonmouth and his nefarious agenda that makes him believe is for a greater good for Harlem’s betterment. Played by Mahershala Ali, he fills the role with his energy and style making it look like he was born to play him. His posture, his voice, and everything about the character was so utterly villainous. There are times when you’ll find yourself sometimes cheering for Cottonmouth.

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Alfre Woodard is also great as Mariah Dillard as she portrays a councilwoman who wants to make the city a better place, however with ties to the city’s underbelly, struggles to do so legally.

Diamondback as a villain, disappoints at times. His role feels like a forcefully injected one in the show. Although his dialogues are brilliantly handled, Diamondback’s misguided understanding of the Bible and his twisted mindset made him especially volatile. I particularly loved Hernan “Shades” Cortes (played by Theo Rossi). He was such a smooth talker and his smile so disarming. He actually looks and feels like a menace and someone who’ll always be a step ahead of you, hero or villain.

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Another excellent aspect of the show is the music, Luke Cage is magnificently scored as it’s able to pull you back to the old 70s while being able to mix with new age reggae music. This balance is maintained very well and it actually compliments the show’s overall theme.

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The show is set deep in the streets of Harlem, a city with a rich music and artistic history, and a strong Black history. The show plays into that and brings out Black culture in beautiful ways. Harlem itself is portrayed as a character on the show. You can feel the locale’s aura, the vibe and how it breathes and feels as the show proceeds. Luke’s relationship with the people of Harlem is a big part of the series; one moment they blame him for Stokes’ men robbing them, the next, they praise his speech at the church during Pops’ funeral.

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Pop’s Barbershop plays a pivotal role on the show. Pop himself becomes a walking history of Harlem and a respectable figure among the youth while paving a path for Luke’s journey. I wonder if his barbershop will be used for the heroes for hire office in defenders or if it will be reshaped by Luke Cage and will be made operational again.

Misty Knight (played by Simone Missick) adds value to the show in terms of residents of Harlem. She represents the long list of Marvel’s strong female characters. Her character development is handled very well and her connection to Luke Cage fleshes out as the show proceeds.

While Luke Cage doesn’t come up close to the level that Daredevil season 1 set but it is somewhere close. I am totally excited for Defenders and the Netflix show paves path in a very subtle way.

Overall rating – 8 out of 10.

Review – Marvel & Netflix’s Jessica Jones: Season 1


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After massive success of Marvel’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones was their second collaboration with Netflix. Based on Brian Michael Bendis’ much acclaimed run Alias, Jessica Jones follows a story of an ex crime fighting vigilante running from her dark past.

The show had a very impressive starcast with Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, ex Doctor Who alumnus, David Tennant as villainous Killgrave and Mike Colter as Luke Cage.

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Jessica Jones arrived in times when TV was already cluttered with 8 TV shows based on comic books and superheroes. Most of these TV shows were made to target a specific genre of audience. Jessica Jones, although was not. The show aimed to showcase a more mature side of Marvel Universe did the same with brilliance and style and brought something unique to the table

Jessica Jones is very different than any superhero shows that have ever existed on TV. If Daredevil set a mythology for Hell’s Kitchen, then Jessica Jones was aimed more on a personal story. The strong noir flavour and an adult-orientated take on the comicbook genre was something that made it way mature than expected. There are raw sex scenes, brutal violence and lots of swearing. It also deals with adult themes such as murder, rape and child abuse. These issues are handled in a very compelling way and the storyline is powered by intelligent dark humour.

After a failed stint at superheroics led her to suffer from PTSD, she retired and became a private investigator, using her powers (super-strength, super-stamina and super-leaping) to solve mysteries.  She comes across liars, cheaters, addicts and murders on a daily basis and is now using her powers to enhance her detective skills.

Krysten Ritter has looks of an anime character, her brooding eyes, jet black hair makes her a look like a character who was born to play this role. Her compelling performance as an ex superhero suffering with PTSD and trauma and her being a whiskey-swilling, foul-mouthed and hot-tempered “mess of a woman” and Ritter plays the role in a very brilliant way. Like most of the Marvel characters Jessica Jones is an epitome of imperfection, she is a mess. Her life told in flashbacks. She’s one of those people saying that everybody that she cares about ends up hurt or dead. She is so broken that she doesn’t even care about fixing things for a long time, like the windows of her office.

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Every good comic book film/show is good because of that memorable villain who overshadows everything and gives the titular hero a run for their money. David Tennant plays the show’s big bad Kilgrave, who has the power to control the minds of other people. His persona is based in a way that before he appears on the screen you are already feeling his presence. As Kilgrave he brings a creepy charisma that compels you to hate him. His sick sense of humor makes you laugh. Tennant gives a truly sinister performance but adds enough subtle layers of humanity for you to have a shred of sympathy for him.

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As well as an outstanding heroine and villain combo, the show boasts great supporting characters. Carrie-Ann Moss’ (The Matrix) ruthless lawyer Jeri, Eka Darville’s (Empire) drug addict Malcom and Erin Moriarty’s(True Detective)  Kilgrave-victim Hope are all fascinating characters. So too is radio host Trish (Rachael Taylor), who shares a brilliant best-friend relationship with Jessica.

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And Mike Colter’s effortless portrayal of Luke Cage, who has red-hot chemistry with Jessica, will have you eagerly anticipating his own show in 2016. His presence adds a soul to what otherwise could have been a dark brooding war between hero and the antagonist. Luke’s presence humanizes Jessica and tells her that she is not alone in as a super powered in this world. There are moments between Luke and Jessica will take your breath away. Small doses of romance between them makes this show worth watching

Another brilliant addition to Marvel universe is Wil Traval’s cop Will Simpson, who has a very interesting arc. He plays officer Will Simpson who is actually Nuke in the comics. Jessica Jones goes through his origin story and how he changes from a charming ladykiller cop to a twisted supersoldier.

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At times and atleast in 3 episodes you feel like being forced to watch things that are just for the sake of adding extra episodes. But once it gains pace there is no stop. Daredevil and Jessica Jones have both been awesome, and hopefully Marvel’s other Netflix shows, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are equally just as good, before the team up Avengers-style in The Defenders.

Rating 9/10

 

Review: Marvel’s Daredevil


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When Daredevil was announced on Netflix it was said that it will take Marvel Cinematic Universe in a new direction. Slowly it became one of the most anticipated shows of 2015. The series is part of a deal between Marvel and Netflix that will proceed with 3 such shows like these and finally lead to Defenders series.

Daredevil takes place in a universe where an alien attack destroys New York and a group of superheroes team up to protect the world. New York is burning in chaos while Avengers are busy saving the world. In middle of chaos and destruction a man takes burden to clean his neighborhood.

Marvel’s Daredevil is unlike anything Marvel has ever done before. Also it’s nothing like any of the comic-book series that we usually watch on TV. While comparisons with Arrow are inevitable still Daredevil stands tell with more creative freedom enjoyed by the Marvel team. The violent story of a vigilante and his grim oppressive world is brilliantly explained.

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Daredevil is a character made for TV and the credit goes to Steven S. DeKnight who took over the series from Drew Goddard. The show leaves nothing behind when it comes to make it grounded in the source material. Gone is the red leather suit, unrealistic fight scenes on seesaws, and campy villains. In short: This is nothing like the Daredevil movie – which is a good thing.

The characters of the show are brilliant. The casting is wisely done. Charlie Cox as both Matt Murdock and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is an amazing find. He handles his role brilliantly. Applying his enhanced sense to sense a beautiful girl as Matt Murdock and fight crime as Daredevil adds a distinct style to his character.

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Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal of Wilson Fisk, the head Mafioso who runs the majority of the Hell’s Kitchen crime scene, is worthy of the highest praise. He stands tall as a sympathetic villain for whom audience will root for at times and even want him to win. He is exact opposite to Matt Murdock in terms of their versions of wanting to make Hell’s kitchen a better place. Where Daredevil sticks to idealist moralities in the pursuit of justice, its Fisk’s extreme ideas make his story all the more tragic. While he is never mentioned by character’s villain alias “Kingpin,” still his name drops as an Easter Egg for fans. When a reporter is putting together his pyramid of Mafioso’s and crime bosses by putting up playing cards on a tack board, there’s the guy at the top: the King (of Diamonds) pinned to the board.

While Daredevil is a result of greater actions taken in Marvel Cinematic universe yet the connections made on the show are far in between. Most of the cameos and Easter eggs in the series are taken from Daredevil comics, or other upcoming shows on Netflix.

I was surprised at the language that was no-where close to what one can imagine on a R Rated show. Still it stands large on the use of violence. Compared to MCU, Daredevil’s world is way grittier. Bones break and blood is spilt. Either way, Daredevil is Marvel’s greatest superhero show and if you haven’t watched it yet then a marathon awaits you.