Luke Cage is the latest installment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Netflix slated to lead into The Defenders miniseries in 2017, along with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and the upcoming Iron Fist. A massive breakout success, the entire 13 episode first season was initially made available, all at once, on September 30th and, by the next day, its overwhelming popularity and widespread binge-watching was already speculated to be the cause behind a crash resulting in a 2-hour outage for the streaming service. For those unfamiliar with the history, Cage (aka Power Fist) became the first official African American title character for Marvel in 1972 — Black Panther (1966) was just straight up African and Falcon (1969) didn’t have his own series — so his representation, especially within the current political climate involving the Black Lives Matter movement, technology, and social media shining additional spotlights on police brutality and other injustices faced by people of color, holds an importance that can not be overstated. Abandoning the original silver headband and cuffs with canary-yellow disco shirt attire of the original, the 2016 Cage, played by Michael Colter, now dons a simple hooded sweatshirt, an admirable tribute to the late Trayvon Martin. It’s an incredibly strong program that follows the trend of recent Marvel cinematic projects which, wrought with graphic violence, adult themes, and profanity, are intended for a much more mature demographic. As someone with a young child that loves super heroes, it’s an unfortunate pattern for me to witness, in a certain sense. But for someone that respects quality, fuck it; the show is great and it wouldn’t have been remotely this effective had it required toning down the content for a younger audience. Beyond my respect for the way that it’s shot and the fact that it’s putting a black male character front and center — he’s a falsely convicted escaped prisoner that’s bulletproof, no less — among a predominantly African-American cast, it is complemented perfectly by the original music, scored triumphantly by Adrian Younge (Black Dynamite, Ghostface Killah’s 12 Reasons To Die, etc) and Ali Shaheed Muhammed (A Tribe Called Quest), often utilizing a full orchestra.
Earlier tonight, while visiting reddit, I saw a post titled “I spent the weekend editing Luke Cage to look like the intro of Family Matters” from someone with the username –zach–. Fairly self-explanatory, the poster had taken footage from the Netflix series and paired it with both the music and font used in the title sequence of 1990s TGIF series, Family Matters, starring professional fake cop, Reginald Veljohnson. The truth of the matter is that, if you were to actually put the –zach– created version next to the original intro, they come far from matching up shot for shot, but that’s not really what makes the pseudo-parody so successful. The real strength lies in the contrast between the dark, action-packed intensity and heavy subject matter of Luke Cage and the way in which this re-cut footage is presented as a wholesome, jovial, light-hearted situation comedy. Check it out below.