WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Netflix's Luke Cage. Proceed with caution.
Now's as good a time as any to talk about Mike Colter's on-screen alter ego. Luke Cage has given us the swagger and hip-hop landscape needed to introduce something new and fresh to the MCU. The series shines, with a topnotch cast, strong characterizations, and a killer soundtrack that many didn't know they needed until now.
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Luke Cage has continued Marvel's hot streak of positive entertainment. But for some, it may have been difficult not to think about Steve Rogers while binge-watching the show's first season. It is pretty clear that Chris Evans and Colter's characters have a lot more in common than just having super strength. Here are four reasons why the Star Spangled Man With a Plan and New York's bulletproof vigilante are just like each another.
1. Their Language
One of the easiest commonalities to note between Power Man and Captain America is their position on cursing. Instead of using cussing as a punchline — like Rogers did in Age of Ultron — abstaining from swearing is actually an integral part of what makes up Luke Cage's character. His motivation is much more than just Pop's Swear Jar, with his distaste for foul language proving to have an emotional connotation. For this reason, the use of the N-word in the series was deeply jarring at times.
Indeed, showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker made sure that every time that word was said, it would matter, and be noticeable for the viewer. That tactic proved successful. One of the most memorable of these moments was when Cage was approached at gunpoint in front of the Crispus Attucks building, a scene that left a clear footprint on how culturally influential this show could end up being.
2. Working For Authority — And Then Taking It Down
Both Luke Cage and Steve Rogers are not afraid to stand up to authority. These heroes both had to face corrupt people in power who were hellbent on taking over. In The Winter Soldier, Rogers was practically living at S.H.I.E.L.D. It was his only connection to the modern world when he wasn't defending cities with his super friends. Captain America was working and fighting for the organization until he found that one of its higher-ups, Alexander Pierce, was far from above board.
The same could be said for Luke Cage while he was a dishwasher at Harlem's Paradise. Once he found out more about Cornell Stokes and Mariah Dillard's corrupt renaissance initiative, he did not want to be involved. It is understandable that following Pop's death, Cage had no choice but to bring them down.
3. Experimental Lab Rats
Another arguably obvious attribute that the two have in common is that they are both guinea pigs. Rogers and Carl Lucas participated in intense transformations that gave them abnormal abilities, though how Cage acquired his gifts appeared far more tragic than what happened to Rogers.
The tests that were conducted at Seagate Federal Penitentiary sounded brutal, bringing inmates to the edge of their breaking points. In a process similar to that of Captain America's in both appearance and objectives, Cage still got his powers by accident, rather than design. Since this is the MCU, it would not be surprising if those tests were somehow related to Rogers' Super Soldier Serum, in an attempt to recreate Erskine's original formula.
4. They Are Hometown Icons Who Inspire Hope
Captain America is pretty much the ideal patriot. He is probably the closest you can ever get to finding a person who defines patriotism itself. Steve Rogers represents the United States more than anyone in the MCU, even while he was sleeping in ice.
The same goes for Power Man and Harlem. Luke Cage embodies his city as much as Captain America embodies his country. He represents how Harlem's black community should strive to be great. Luke Cage gives off a sense of pride unlike anything else, making Harlem feel much less like a city, but rather a character. Luke Cage inspires hope, and is a role model of how not only African-American communities should be, but how neighborhoods all over the world should be as well, standing for and by one another to do the right thing.
Being Like Captain America Is Not A Bad Thing
To conclude, both Captain America and Luke Cage are very similar heroes, but that should not take away from the fact that these two characters are both flawed and inspiring role models in their own unique ways.
Luke Cage as a person imparts a more valuable message to his audience than Captain America's solo outings have ever done. The fact that a black superhero who dresses up in a hoodie even exists is encouraging in and of itself. It is absolutely not a bad thing to be a character who opens up the minds of millions, becoming the bulletproof black man America needs right now.
Luke Cage is streaming now on Netflix. What other characters in the MCU share a lot of similarities?