By Kari Croop,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Complex role model is bulletproof in a bloody modern world.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Overarching themes are decidedly dark, from crime and corruption to loneliness and grief. That said, Pops offers Luke a mantra to strive toward a more positive future: "The past is the past; the only motion that matters is forwards, never backwards."
Positive Role Models
Luke's a hero with a complicated past who grapples with grief, loss, and loneliness. But he's a good man at heart who uses his superpowers to protect the innocent and make his neighborhood a safer place. As a role model, he's incredibly strong but also remarkably thoughtful.
Violence & Scariness
Intense action scenes with sudden moments of violence; savage beatings and shootings with visible blood and gruesome injuries, such as bones breaking through skin; some characters carry weapons, and a major plot point involves illegal arms dealing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Steamy kissing and making out with skimpy lingerie, bare chests, views of bare breasts from the side; sex isn't simulated but strongly suggested.
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Audible language includes "s--t" and heavy use of the "N" word; on the flip side, Pop's barber shop has a swear jar to help cut down on cursing.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking; some characters use or sell illegal drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Luke Cage is a complex hero who emerges from wrongful imprisonment with superpowers that he uses to fight crime in his Harlem neighborhood. Though Luke can't be killed or injured, other people in his world most certainly can, so expect to see shootings, beatings, and killings, along with bloody, gruesome injuries. You'll also see sexually charged kissing and make-out sessions, with strongly suggested intercourse and partial nudity, along with social drinking. Strong language is audible, too, with words like "s--t" and heavy use of the "N" word.
Where to Watch
Based on 8 parent reviews
Awesome TV series!!!
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Waste of Marvel's reputation for story telling
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What's the Story?
After surviving a botched experiment at the hands of a mad prison scientist, wrongfully accused inmate Carl Lucas (Mike Colter) springs from jail and adopts a new identity -- complete with newfound abilities that make him completely indestructible. As LUKE CAGE, he now has the power to protect his crime-ridden Harlem neighborhood and keep his friends and loved ones safe. But with powerful enemies and political forces at large, he'll have his work cut out for him.
Is It Any Good?
In many ways, Luke Cage is the hero we all need right now, clad not in a cape but in a plain black hoodie that marks him as a relatable everyman walking calmly through a rising tide of racial tension. He's a strong, powerful African-American man, both literally and figuratively, who exudes a quiet confidence that belies his brute strength. And that makes him easy to admire and nearly impossible to fear -- unless you're one of his enemies.
Colter's performance is both complex and self-assured, a continuation of his excellent work on Jessica Jones, the equally compelling Netflix series that brought Luke Cage to streaming audiences to begin with. He's also surrounded by a core group of talented co-stars, including multiple Emmy winner Alfre Woodard, Mahershala Ali, and Simone Missick, whose nuanced, three-dimensional portrayals help upgrade this latest Marvel offering from mere action-heavy superhero fare to truly thoughtful television.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Luke Cage measures up as a role model. Does Luke represent something new in terms of strong African-American male protagonists on television? How does he compare to other African-American male characters on TV?
How is the Luke Cage TV series different from the Marvel comic book series from the 1970s that inspired it? How has the Luke Cage character changed over the decades, and why?
How do the themes explored on Luke Cage relate to topical events, including racial tensions, police shootings, and feelings of anger, grief, and frustration in the African-American community that manifest in movements like Black Lives Matter? Can we use the messages and morals of a fictional series to help solve real-life problems?
- Premiere date: September 30, 2016
- Cast: Mike Colter, Rosario Dawson, Alfre Woodard
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Superheroes, Book Characters, Great Boy Role Models
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate