“In lieu of making you wait until the end or the midpoint for your answer to the titular question, I can answer it right now: Unless the sequence depicted in these behind-the-scenes shots doesn’t actually make the final cut of the series, Luke Cage already is the most politically-charged production yet to be associated with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Lest that sound like some kind of backhanded softball of a compliment, remember that we’re talking about an ongoing multi-production project that followed up the biggest (at the time)worldwide box-office hit ever made with spin-offs wherein the walking personification of The American Ideal essentially declares war on The Patriot Act, and another where a villain framed as a suped-up successor to Osama bin Laden turns out to be a phony threat concocted by an American weapons manufacturer. That doesn’t necessarily mean Marvel is “braver” about this business than anyone else – it’s possible, after all, that you simply can’t notbe political when one of your key figures is literally wearing the American Flag as his work uniform – but it’s hard to remember a popular movie franchise that’s (successfully) leaned this hard into real-world relevance.
Sure, Star Wars was all about Baby Boomers coming to grips with the complicated aftermath of Vietnam, but couched in metaphor and analogy. The X-Men movies are almost comically explicit about zeroing in on “The Mutant Problem” as a metaphor for gay rights and the struggles of gay youth in particular, but apart from Matthew Vaughn’s one-off anomaly First Class the franchise is oddly drained oftangible sexuality of any sort (despite one of its main characters being perpetually naked). The Dark Knight talks a big game about “security” and “terrorism” without making much of a salient point (see also: The Hunger Games). For contrast, imagine Harry Potterand friends having to fend off a mob of religious extremists going all torches-and-pitchforks on Hogwarts for indoctrinating children into witchcraft, and you’ve got a handy illustration of how far ahead of this one particular curve the MCU just happens to be.
And yet, as far as Marvel has already gone (intentionally or otherwise), when this scene plays out in Luke Cage – when a black man wearing a gray hoodie confronts a pair of police officers and is fired on, only to have the bullets bounce harmlessly off his skin – it will be the most iconically political tableau conjured by any Marvel production to date…”