Top 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe Films

It’s baaaaaacccckkk… 

Hey, y’all!  As we all know, the Marvel Cinematic Universal has been killin’ it this year (to be honest, they’ve been killin’ for the last 10 years), and everyone’s still buzzing about Black Panther and Avengers:  Infinity War as well as the upcoming Avengers 4 (working title).  Plus, we recently received the sad news that Chris Evans’s appearance as Captain America in the next Avengers film will be his last.  😭😭  Add that with that fact that Halloween is coming and kids around the world will be dressing up as Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Panther, I figured there was no better time to bring back my top 10 to name my favorite films from the MCU!

Spiderman and Deadpool Dancing (Alt)

By the way, this list only refers to the films in the Disney portion of the MCU so Deadpool, the early Spider-Man films and the entire X-Men series to date will be excluded.  Sorry, y’all.  I still urge you to read on.  Some of my choices may shock you.  BTW, there may be some slight spoilers in this review.  You’ve been warned.

10. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spiderman - Frustrated (Alt)

I was one of the precious few people that had reservations about Spider-Man joining the MCU, as I mentioned in my 2016 review of Captain America:  Civil War.  However, the more I see Spider-Man in the MCU films, the more I love him, and I thoroughly enjoyed Spider-Man:  Homecoming.  I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, I love how the MCU reminds us that Spider-Man is actually a teenager and accurately portrays a young Generation Z boy trying to save the world one person at a time.  Plus, I appreciated the fact that Homecoming featured a diverse cast that befittingly showcases the cultural melting pot that is New York City.

9.  Iron Man 3

Iron Man - I'm the Best (Alt)

As I said before, some of my choices will shock you, and right now, I’m sure some of y’all are saying to yourselves, “What in the actual hell?”  In the court of public opinion, Iron Man 3 is not only the worst film in the Iron Man trilogy, but it’s also one of the worst films in the MCU.  In my personal opinion though, I thought the movie was great.  I enjoyed the other two, but this one was my favorite amongst the Iron Man films (stop judging me).  I thought the Mandarin/Trevor Slattery storyline was hilarious and totally unexpected.  There were a ton of other scenes that had me crackin’ up too (i.e.:  Tony’s suit not coming to him immediately after he summoned it), and the storyline with Tony developing PTSD was very interesting.  Plus, the movie falls under one of my favorite genres:   a Christmas movie that’s not really about Christmas (see Die Hard and Trading Places)!

8.  Thor

Thor Winks (Alternate 3)

Anyone that knows me knows how much I love Thor, so naturally, the first installment of his trilogy would be on this list.  At first glance, I thought Thor was going to be a bit on the cheesy side.  However, when I sat down and watched the film in its entirety, I loved it.  My only small gripe is that it moves too fast (the whole movie takes place in the course of two and a half days, pretty much), and we don’t get quite enough Thor and Jane (yeah, I said it), but the creative force behind the MCU more than makes up for that later.  The best things about this film are that I was introduced to one of the finest specimens on Earth, Mr. Chris Hemworth, and we were all introduced to the MCU’s number one villain/antihero, Loki!

7.  Captain America:  The Winter Soldier

Captain America - Does Anyone Want to Get Out (Alt)

When Captain America:  The Winter Soldier was first released in the Spring of 2014, there was a ton of hoopla for the film, and after I finally got to see it myself, I could see why.  I wasn’t sure if I’d like it as much as Captain America:  The First Avenger (yes, I liked The First Avenger), but as it turns out, The Winter Soldier was even better.  Killer action scenes, an intelligent plot and a storyline about how the (brotherly) love between two men remains unending after more than three-quarters of a century go by.  I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.  Let’s not forget…Cap was even sexier in this installment.

6.  Thor:  Ragnarok

Thor - He's a Friend From Work

As my longtime readers know, I posted an article about Thor:  Ragnarok last year, citing my likes, dislikes and scratch my head moments in the film.  If you notice, the likes far outnumber the other two categories, and the more I watch this movie, the more I love it.  It’s friggin’ hilarious, and I love Thor and Bruce/Hulk’s dynamic.  Yes, I still hate that Thor and Jane broke up, and I don’t like that Thor lost his hair or his eye, but I’ve gotten used to the haircut.  Plus, (SPOILER ALERT!!!) Thor gets his eye back in Infinity War.  Yay!

5.  Captain America:  Civil War

Captain America

Hands down, Captain America:  Civil War was the best film out of Cap’s trilogy.   Yeah, he shared the stage with the majority of his Avengers teammates, as well as some new editions (Black Panther, baby!), but that just added to the greatness that is this movie.  I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, the Russo Brothers handled the ensemble cast beautifully.  The special effects and action scenes were killer (namely the fight at the airport), and the twist involving Bucky and Tony’s parents was a real game changer.  I pretty much figured that Bucky was the one that killed Tony’s parents, but after it was confirmed and watching the aftermath behind it…man, I never would’ve predicted that.

4.  Thor:  The Dark World

Thor - Anyone Else (Alt)

Yes, you read that correctly.  I’m sure this is another “What in the actual hell?” moment.  I LOVE Thor:  The Dark World, and as long as I live, I will never understand why it’s the most hated film in the MCU to date.  It’s true that Malekeith was a weak villain, but to be honest, aren’t most of the MCU villains weak?  Aside from Malekeith being a sorry bad guy, this movie was boss.  Beautiful visuals, Thor and Jane’s love story was explored a bit further, we got to see Loki again (and we watched him fake his death again), and the film took place on Asgard and England!  I’ve always had a thing for the UK.  Plus, Thor was drop dead gorgeous in this movie!  To be honest, this is the movie that made me fall in love with him!  Sorry, not sorry.

3.  Black Panther

T'Challa and Shuri - Wakanda Forever (Alt)

Y’all, believe me when I tell you…Black Panther wasn’t just a movie.  It was an adventure.  Seeing what Africa could’ve been if it weren’t torn apart by colonialism and slavery, the stellar performances, the strong black female characters; Erik Killmonger, the first strong and unforgettable MCU villain since Loki; making “Wakanda Forever” the catchphrase of 2018 (I’m just sorry that we ran it down in the ground so much that Chadwick Boseman hates it now); this film has it all.  I saw Black Panther at the theatre in 3-D earlier this year, and it blew me away.  Everything from the beginning to the end credits is awe-inspiring, and as an African-American woman, I love films that portray my people in a positive light.  The soundtrack was phenomenal, as well.  “All the Stars” was my go-to jam of the year until “This Is America” came out.  Dang…the symbolism in that last statement is eerie…

2.  Avengers:  Infinity War

Thanos 2

It was extremely hard for me to choose between Black Panther and Avengers:  Infinity War for the number two spot.  I saw both movies at the theatre (check out my review of Infinity War that I wrote earlier this year) and each film made me rethink my universe.  However, when I had to dig deep and think about it, Infinity War blew my mind just a tad bit more—just a tad—and won the race by a hair.  Like Civil War, Infinity War handled the ensemble cast perfectly.  I was on the edge of my seat during the entire film, and the ending basically went down in pop culture history.  Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it.  Also, I liked that Thanos wasn’t your typical I-wanna-do-evil-just-for-the-sack-of-doing-it bad guy.  He was a three-dimension character with a purpose that he thought was for the greater good.  Then again, so did Hitler and Jim Jones.

1.  The Avengers

The Avengers Shot (Alt).gif

Come on.  The majority of this list may have surprised you, but are you really surprised that The Avengers took the number one spot?  The movie that’s the second highest grossing superhero film of all time (it’s surpassed by Infinity War)?  The film that changed the game for superhero movies forever?  The project that solidified the MCU as a powerhouse?  Y’all knew better.  I could explain why this movie is number one on the list, but y’all already know why.  If you don’t…watch it.

—Written by Nadiya

Did y’all agree with my list?  Did some of the entries intrigue you?  What’s some of your favorite movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?  Are you glad I brought my top 10 back?  Let me know in the comments section!

‘Mr. Robot’ Logs Out After Season Four

Hello, friends.  I have some bad news for those of y’all that are fans of Mr. RobotSeason four (which will be premiering sometime in 2019) will be the last one of the series.  😢😢  I’m sure y’all have heard this news already, considering that it was announced a few weeks ago, but I’m still hurt about it.  I didn’t become a fan of the show until late last year, and I hate that I’ll only have one more season to watch before Elliot, Darlene, Angela, Tyrell and Mr. Robot himself (who we all know actually is Elliot) logoff for good.  I know I should be grateful that I have one more season to enjoy before Mr. Robot ends—and I am—but I’m still upset that it’ll soon be over.

Elliot - Sad (Alt)

To celebrate the genius of Mr. Robot and how much joy it’s given us these past three seasons, I’ve written an article for Viral Hare discussing my favorite scenes from the show.  Here’s the link:

Goodbye, Friend:  My Favorite Scenes from Mr. Robot (So Far) 

I hope y’all enjoy it!  Peace out!

Elliot - Smiling 2

One of the few times Elliot is actually smiling.  😃😃

What do you think about Mr. Robot ending?  Do you believe it’s run its course, or do you think it’s time for the series to end?  Will you miss it?  What made you a fan of the show?  Let me know in the comments section!

Colin Kaepernick Is the New Face of Nike’s “Just Do It” Campaign – My Thoughts

Last Monday (Sept. 3, 2018), it was announced that none other than NFL player Colin Kaepernick would be the face of Nike’s “Just Do It “30th-anniversary campaign.

Colin Kaepernick - Just Do It (Alt)

Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, or you’ve been the 21st-century version of Rip Van Winkle, you know that Colin Kaepernick has been an extremely controversial figure as of late.  He’s the football player that began the silent protest of kneeling while The National Anthem is played during games, as a rally against police violence towards unarmed African-Americans.  The protest caused division between many people, with some seeing Colin as a courageous hero, and others thinking he’ s showing blatant disrespect to the flag and the country’s veterans.  Colin kneeling during games has stirred up so much controversy, that he hasn’t played for a team since being cut from the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, and he is still going toe-to-toe with the NFL to get his career going again.

Needless to say, the second the news hit, Colin and Nike were trending on Twitter, and remained a trending topic well into the very next day.  There was even talk of a Nike boycott (which also became a trending topic).

Kaepernick Trending

Now for my thoughts…I’m happy that Nike chose Colin Kaepernick to headline their campaign.  I’m sure this opinion may anger a few people, and I may even lose a few followers, but I’ve always said that with this blog, I’m going to keep it 100%, and I’m doing just that.  Why I am happy that Colin is being endorsed by Nike?  Because Colin Kaepernick is a brave soul that’s standing up for an egregious injustice that’s been happening in this country for far too long, and I will always love him for that.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams

I’ve seen many arguments over the years stating that the black men that have been shot by police officers could’ve easily avoided their fates if they had just cooperated with police, or didn’t make any sudden moves, or hadn’t been breaking the law in the first place.  However, I find it funny that Dylann Roof was quietly taken into custody after slaughtering nine innocent people in a church (he was still armed with a weapon when he was taken into custody, according to CNN), but Stephon Clark was gunned down in his grandmother’s backyard for breaking car windows.  Clark was only armed with a cellphone.   Travis Reinking, also known as “The Waffle House Shooter,” killed four people at the restaurant and was found the next day, also armed with a weapon.  He was arrested without incident.  A year and a half earlier, a policeman pulled Philando Castile over for a routine traffic stop.  Castile informed the cop that he had a licensed firearm, but when he reached to get his license as the policemen instructed him to, the cop opened fire seven times. Castile died in front of the mother of his child, and his 4-year-old daughterThe officer was later acquitted.

Even if someone wants to argue regarding the cases of Stephon Clark, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling or any other black man (or woman; see Sandra Bland) that’s been shot and/or killed by police, it’s pretty hard to argue regarding the case of Tamir Rice.  Tamir was a 12 yr. old child that was killed after the police mistook his toy gun for a real one.  I feel like if Travis Reinking and Dylann Roof could’ve been safely placed in police custody after viciously snuffing out innocent people, at the very least, Tamir could’ve gone back home to his family with a stern warning not to fool around with a realistic looking gun.

To add insult to injury, lately there’s been an epidemic of people calling the cops on unarmed black folks—knowing what the possible outcome could be—simply for living their lives.  Apparently, black people nowadays aren’t allowed to:

The sad thing is that a lot of these aforementioned incidents involved the police being called on young children, ranging in age from eight to 15.

Colin Kaepernick

These are all the reasons (and there’s so many others I don’t have time to name) Kap knelt for the National Anthem, and it’s the reason other players have been encouraged to kneel.  He’s not disrespecting the flag or the military.  To be honest, when the news first hit that Colin would headline the “Just Do It” campaign, I noticed that many men and women that served the country—both black and white—let it be known that they supported Colin’s cause and understood what it was for.  Our country was founded on the mantra of “liberty and justice for all,” and that “all men are created equal.”  It’s time the United States of America lives up to those standards.  I’m glad Nike sees that, and I’m glad that Colin Kaepernick is the face of their campaign.

#IStandWithKap

—-Written by Nadiya

What do you think about Colin Kaepernick being the face of the 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign?  Do you believe his protest is disrespectful to the flag and the military, or do you believe he’s fighting for the rights of African-Americans?  Do you believe that people unjustly call the police on black people for simply living, or are the people contacting the cops justified?  Also, do you believe the recent police shootings are lawful, or not?  Let me know in the comments section!

Burt Reynolds: 1936 – 2018

Side Note:  Before I started writing this post, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” started playing from my Apple Music playlist.  All things considered, I feel like that song perfectly conveyed my feelings concerning the legend I’m dedicating this acclamation to.

Usually when I write a tribute about a celebrity that’s passed on, I start with a story about the first time I was introduced to that particular person.  However, this article can’t start off that way.  The reason being is because I honestly can’t remember the first time I saw Burt Reynolds or heard of him.  He was always just there.  Burt was always in the news, or on the TV, or in a movie while I was growing up, and he remained a constant in my life as I transitioned into young adulthood.

Burt Reynolds - Explosion (Alt)

I remember all the headlines about his and Loni Anderson’s divorce like it was yesterday.  One of my favorite episodes of The Golden Girls centered around the ladies getting a chance to Burt Reynolds, and the shenanigans they get into behind the meet and greet.  When I was a little girl, I watched All Dogs Go To Heaven a million times (Burt voiced Charlie, the dog that forsaked heaven to get another chance at life).  I finally watched Smokey and the Bandit last year (don’t judge me), and I loved every minute of it…not to mention the fact I learned that once upon a time Coors couldn’t be sold east of the Mississippi River, and if it was found past that point, it was considered contraband.  Every time I see a case of Coors in Wal-Mart now, the first thing I think of is the Bandit and the Snowman, rushing the beer back to Atlanta for the Burdette brothers.

Burt Reynolds - Smokey and the Bandit 2 (Alt)

Even though I hated Boogie Nights as a teenager—I appreciate it a lot more now that I’m grown—I always thought that Burt’s role was the best thing about it.  I have to say that one of my favorite performances of his was as Nate Scarborough in The Longest Yard remake.  I know y’all are wondering why I haven’t mentioned the original film.  To be honest, I tried watching the 1974 version a few years back, but I couldn’t quite get into it.  I loved the remake, though (once again, don’t judge me).  The Longest Yard remains my second favorite Adam Sandler movie, and Burt Reynolds is a big reason why.  The role of the weathered, yet dedicated and compassionate coach fit Burt perfectly.  Sadly enough, I didn’t see Burt too much after he starred in the Adam Sandler vehicle.  About a year or so ago, I was curious to see what he had been up to, so I looked up his filmography on Wikipedia.  It turns out Burtwas still working, mostly on slightly smaller-scale films.  Despite having to deal with heart issues and overcoming an addiction to painkillers after being injured, he worked until the very end.

Burt was an extremely handsome, funny and talented man that brought lots of joy to me, my friends and family throughout the years.  Plus, he was bold enough to do this (WARNING:  NSFW):

Burt Reynolds Naked (Alt)

He’ll be sorely missed.  See you later, Bandit.

Burton Leon Reynolds, Jr.:  February 11, 1936 – September 6, 2018

—Written by Nadiya

Dwayne Johnson Will FINALLY Play King Kamehameha!

Back when I first fell in love with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I remember he always spoke of completing an acting project near and dear to his heart.  That project was playing the role of King Kamehameha, the Hawaiian monarch that united all the islands together in order to fortify themselves against their enemies.  Whenever Rock mentioned the King Kamehameha film, he would let it be known that bringing the movie to life was one of his greatest dreams, and not only would he do whatever it took to bring the dream to fruition, but he would make sure that when the project was released in the next few years, everything would fall perfectly into place.

That was in 2004.

Rock - Wow (Alt)

Although multiple reports claim that Sony bought the rights to the film back in 2002 (others say it was Columbia Pictures), there’s online articles floating around that state the delay in production was due to Rock’s Samoan/African-American heritage.  Quiet as is kept, when I was training for my Hawaiian cruise ship job with the now-defunct NCL America line in 2007 (yeah, honey; I’ve had day jobs everywhere), one of the Hawaiian elders mentioned that production for the Kamehameha project was postponed because Rock didn’t properly ask their permission to play the beloved leader, not because of his race.  After seeing personally how much Rock was revered in Hawaii (Honolulu especially), and how the seriously the Hawaiian elders valued their culture, I believe the latter story.

Well, a decade and some change later, Rock must’ve been on his P’s and Q’s and came to the elders correct, because now his long-awaited King Kamehameha project, which is now officially known as The King, is effectively a go!  According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future trilogy, Forrest Gump) will take the reins and screenwriter Randall Wallace (Braveheart, The Man in the Iron Mask) will be in charge of writing the film.

King Kamehameha Instagram Post

The Hollywood Reporter also stated that while in Hawaii last year, Rock, Wallace and his ex-wife/business partner Dany Garcia were personally blessed during a ceremony for the film by a Hawaiian priest known as a Kahu (which further strengthens my theory about the Hawaiian elders).

I personally can’t wait to see this movie, and I’m so happy that’s it’s finally coming to life.  Congrats to you, Rock!

Rock Claps 2 (Alt)

—Written by Nadiya

So what do you think about Rock taking on the role of King Kamehameha?  Have you been waiting for him to start the project since the early to mid 2000’s like me, or is this the first time you’ve heard of it?  Is it a role Rock was born to play, or does his multi-racial ethnicity cause concern?  Do you believe the movie was postponed because Rock didn’t give the Hawaiian elders the proper respect by asking permission to shoot the film?  Give me your thoughts in the comments section!

Aretha Franklin: 1942 – 2018

To this very day, I remember the first time I ever heard Aretha Franklin sing.  It was sometime in the 1980’s, when I just a “little dot,” as my mom used to call me.  When I was around 4 or 5 years old, my mom and I had a routine on Saturdays:  I’d get up early to watch Mr. Knozit (my people from South Carolina know about him) and my morning cartoons, and when Mom finally woke up, we’d watch MTV, American Bandstand, Solid Gold and later that night, Soul Train (I’m showing my age again).  During one of our MTV binges—back when MTV played nothing but music videos—“Freeway of Love” came on.  I had to ask my mom who the lady with the phenomenal voice was, and she told me it was Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul.  I loved the song and jammed to it every time I heard it.  To this day, it remains one of my faves of hers.

After I heard “Freeway of Love” as a pre-schooler, Aretha’s music became part of the great soundtrack of my life.  I would listen to classics that were made long before I came into existence like “Ain’t No Way,” “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do),” “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman,” and of course, “Respect.”  As I grew up, Aretha continued to make more music for my generation like “Ever Changing Times,” “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves,” “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me,” and “A Rose Is Still a Rose” (I don’t know anyone my age that doesn’t love that song).

Aretha (Alt)

Then there was President Obama’s inauguration in 2009.  I was so proud to see Re-Re up there singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” with her church hat.  I remember how everyone commented on that hat, but being a southern girl, I knew the significance of it.  Ladies like Aretha that were around back in the day and were raised in the church always had to look good, and the hats had to be on fleek.  After she passed, I learned something new about Ms. Franklin:  she was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement.  In a tribute article written about her in The Atlantic, the author spoke on how she toured with Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poiter to raise money for Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and she supported The Black Panthers (who were NOT a hate group and/or terrorist organization as many would have you believe).  She even tried to post bail to get Angela Davis out of jail.  “Respect” was not only considered a song of women’s empowerment, it also became an anthem for black people living in the civil rights era, asking to have their respect as human beings.

Aretha - Inauguration (Alt)

All in all, Aretha Franklin was a great lady with a great voice and a great spirit.  She influenced so many artists—peers and successors alike—and she provided great music and memories for so many people during the last five or so decades.  She was really the Queen of Soul, and she’ll be greatly missed.  At the risk of sounding cliched, the world is definitely a more drab place without her.  Rest in power, Ms. Franklin.

Aretha - Freeway of Love (Alt)

Aretha Louise Franklin:  March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018

—Written by Nadiya

‘Luke Cage’ Season Two Review (WARNING: Slight Spolilers!)

Y’all…I finished watching the second season of Luke Cage on Jun. 29, and man…it was good.  Damn good.  I was pleasantly surprised, considering how disappointed I was with Jessica Jones’s second season.  It took me a week to binge the entire season, and the only reason it took that long is because of my day job.  If I had more free time, I’m sure I would’ve watched all 13 eps in about two days.  It was that doggone fantastic.  So much so, that I purposely missed Claws, Pose and the 2018 BET Awards to binge some episodes (although when it comes to this year’s BET Awards, I don’t think I missed much).

Luke Cage - Dab (Alt)

The second season picks up where The Defenders left off.  Luke is back in Harlem trying to protect the city he loves, but now, he’s a bit more of a local celebrity.  He finds himself fighting a lot more than bad guys.  He’s also fighting with some internal issues, which include crossing the fine line between being a hero and being a villain, and whether or not he should forgive his father for turning his back on him when he needed him most.  Of course, Mariah and Shades (who are now officially a couple) make Luke’s life harder with their shenanigans and their own personal battles.  To make matters worse for both parties, another villain comes into the mix named Bushmaster, a Jamaican crime lord that has a personal vendetta against Mariah and her family, and also carries a disdain for Luke, considering that his strength and power is nearly equal to Bushmaster’s.

This current season had all the usual stuff that makes it great:  action, intriguing plot, stellar performances, hot love scenes, and an even hotter man (Luke).  Even Danny Rand aka The Immortal Iron Fist and Colleen (Danny’s homegirl) made appearances (more on that later).  However, this season of Luke Cage had a little something else going on with it as well…it was really deep.  Season two was chock full of recurring themes that manifested from demons that nearly every main character had to face, and not all of them were able to overcome them.

WARNING:  THE FOLLOWING WILL CONTAIN SLIGHT SPOILERS TO THE NEW SEASON OF LUKE CAGE.  IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE SECOND SEASON YET, I SUGGEST YOU DON’T READ ANY FURTHER!

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Heroism

Luke Cage 2 (Alt)

Throughout the season, Luke struggles with the true meaning of being a hero.  Luke believes that in order to protect Harlem, he has to do whatever he can to get the job done, by any means necessary.  This means sometimes stooping to the bad guys’ level.  There’s a scene—without giving too much away; as I said, these are slight spoilers—where Luke is confronted with a no good so-and-so that lays hands on his baby mama and child, so Luke decides to give him the same courtesy.  Needless to say, Luke beats the man half dead.  I have to be honest, I didn’t shed not one tear for that fool.  However, Claire wisely confronts Luke about the dark path he’s going on and they have this exchange:

Luke:  I’m finally getting results, Claire.  Shit’s getting done.  Pops always talked about Kenyatta*, right?  I see his point.  I’m rough, but I’m still a hero.

Claire:  Really?  If beating your chest around town is what you need to call yourself a hero, then I question your understanding of the word.  This shit is changing you, Luke.

Luke:  It’s making me more of who I am.

Ironically enough, Mariah fights the same struggle with heroism.  We as the audience know that she’s far from being a hero, but Mariah honestly believes in her mind that she’s the one and only savior of Harlem, and continues to struggle with being in “the life,” and trying to become 100% legit.  She even has a conversation with her daughter Tilda (a very interesting new character), that’s very similar to the one Luke had with Claire:

Mariah:  Your great-grandmother was a ghetto philanthropist.  Your cousin Cornell financed all of my campaigns.  Now I am a legit philanthropist.  That’s the American way, girl.

Tilda:  You’re a crook and a liar.

Mariah:  I serve Harlem!  And yes, I will do whatever it takes!  Your profession is not too pristine, my dear.  You never took money from a shady pharmaceutical company for a greater good?

Tilda:  That’s why my medicine comes from the ground.  To do no harm.

Mariah:  It’s better to do a little harm for a whole lot of good than it is to do no harm for jack shit.

Later in the series, Tilda herself is faced with some situations where she has to decide between doing what’s right, or doing what’s best for the people.  Seeing how she comes to those decisions—and the effect caused by her decisions—will surprise you.

Vengeance

Luke - You Started This (Alt)

Another huge theme in Luke Cage’s second season is vengeance.  Bushmaster’s taste for vengeance against Mariah’s family makes him blind to everything else around him, and his loved ones warn him that his vengeance can be his downfall.  Sure enough, we begin to see his desire for revenge eat away at him.  Bushmaster’s uncle tells him midway through the series that “an eye for an eye makes the world blind.”  It turns out truer words have never been spoken.

After Bushmaster comes at Mariah in the worst way possible, she decides to seek out her own vengeance and becomes everything that she once hated.  She’s able to see Bushmaster squirm a bit, but she loses her soul in the process.

Forgiveness

Luke and His Dad

Forgiveness is one of the other big themes of the second season.  This issue mostly affects Luke alone, considering that Mariah and Bushmaster aren’t trying to forgive any damn body for their trespasses.  As I mentioned previously, Luke is reunited with his father this season, and the initial meeting is pretty damn tense.  Unlike Jessica Jones, who didn’t know her mother was still alive, Luke his well aware that his father is very much alive, but would rather go on as if he wasn’t around.

Once again, Claire can read Luke like a book, and she knows that a lot of his anger stems from the fact that he can’t forgive his father for his past sins (yep, preachers sin, too!).  Claire warns that if Luke can’t forgive his father, his anger and resentment will continue to consume him…much like Mariah and Bushmaster’s anger and resentment consumed them.  Hmmm…  You could say that this ties into the vengeance theme, and in a way, it does.  However, Luke has the good sense not to go that route.  Luke would rather his father just leave him be.  Do they ever bury the hatchet and rekindle their relationship?  Watch and see.

Luke Cage - Bottle Smash and Kick to the Head

All this isn’t to say that this season of Luke Cage was without its flaws, because it wasn’t.  One of the things I had an issue with is that Danny aka Iron Fist only appeared in one episode.  Come on!  Y’all could’ve at least let him stick around for two episodes, especially considering that he was giving Luke some pointers on how he could defeat Bushmaster.  That was a wasted cameo.  The same thing goes for Colleen.  She was teaching Misty to not let the loss of her arm make her feel worthless, and the time she spent with Misty helped her be herself again.  Then, poof!  Colleen was gone, too.  Wasted cameo.  That’s it.  Everything else about the show was gravy.

I’m sure most of y’all have watched the second season of Luke Cage by this point, but if you haven’t, I definitely recommend it.  I know that the Netflix Marvel Universe hasn’t delivered in the past few months with Jessica Jones and The Defenders having lackluster seasons as of yet, but this season of Luke Cage certainly delivered.  Go check out this dark chocolate Boy Scout immediately.  😍😍

Luke Cage - I'm Just Getting Started (Alt)

SIDE NOTE:  I’m so sorry it took me this long to get this published.  Between all the overtime I’ve had to put in at my day job, my birthday last week (I’m officially 37!  Gettin’ on up there!), and these sinuses killin’ me softly day after day, I was lucky if I could produce two paragraphs a day!  However, I finally got this bad boy finished for y’all!  Sorry about the delay!

—Written by Nadiya

What did you think about season two of Luke Cage?  Was it as good as the first season, better, or just average?  Did you think the recurring themes were deep?  Did you notice some other themes in the show that I didn’t mention?  Do you think Danny and Colleen’s appearances were wasted, or did they spend the right amount of time on the show?  Let me know in the comments section!

 

*Kenyatta is the main series from a book series written by author Donald Goines.  His character is that of a black militant man that takes upon himself and his crew to rid Detroit of drug dealers and racist cops anyway they have to.