Marvels release schedule is like the WWE, there is no off season or off button either as they just keep hitting us with movies and TV shows left and right.
Not all have been winners but, the movies keep breaking records, smaller characters are getting TV shows on small networks (like Cloak and Dagger coming to Freeform) and the Netflix TV universe seems to get better and more expansive by the minute. That expansions next step is in the form of Luke Cage season 2.
Now, this season is a lot more complicated for Luke as we get to see more character development out of him. Instead of the steadfast always good guy we see the pressure of his new found fame, infamy, family (yep even more family issues for Carl),and even relationships start to place cracks in his seemingly unbreakable resolve. He has to deal with Mariah Dillard/ Stokes(who gets my vote as MVP of this season) still running around doing Mariah like things but,this time with Shades by her side as her right hand and her man.
It sounds weird but it was handled fantastically by the writers, actors and everyone else involved with the show as the showrunner said” We wanted to show mature sexuality but, not make it weird.” And Alfre Woodard brings that side of Mariah across on screen and she does an incredible job of it.The second villain of this season is Bushmaster who’s a Jamaican born gangster with incredible fighting skill, strength, and bullet resistance.He also,has an obsessive drive to take down Mariah Dillard/ Stokes,watch her empire burn and claim Harlem as his own because he believes it’s his birthright. He’s more than a formidable foe for Luke and Mariah alike.
Far less cartoony than Diamondback was in the latter half of the inaugural season of this series. The blaxploitation feel of the first season is gone too but, with numerous requests for “coffee” between characters and the emphasis on the soundtrack throughout this follow up season there’s still bits of that feeling floating around. Speaking of the soundtrack it’s better than ever with a far more varied selection this time around.
It starts off with the blues , veers into reggae (obviously, with Bushmaster playing a big part in the events of the season), and of course goes back to it’s hip hop roots. The music was integral for setting the tone the first time around and they continue that trend here. Pacing was a bit of an issue to me in the first season with the writers having to build the world of Harlem snDC introduce all the characters to the audience. This time they’re able to jump right in and tell the story they want and the show’s ability to get to the point and keep the viewer engaged benefits from this. The action is improved as Luke’s opposition (Bushmasterin particular)can take him on hand to hand but, still kind of lackluster as most guys still try to shoot a well known bulletproof man. You of course get your crossover appearances from across the Netflix Marvel shows and they all play as more than just throw away cameos for the sake of it. We even get our first real look at the legendary team up of Power Man and Iron Fist. I know they met in Defenders but, they venture off on their own and we get to see their friendship really begin to take shape in a meaningful way. It also serves as a bit of a way to redeem Iron Fist from his lackluster showing in his own first season of his series.
Overall, through the 13 episodes we get a massive amount of character development and backstory on various characters(with Luke and Mariah are especially affected by the events of this season). Improved villains, action sequences, and superior pacing make this season a vast upgrade from the initial showing and one to binge watch.