5 hopes for Stan Lee’s Lucky Man

Stan Lee’s Lucky Man started this weekend on Sky1, and anticipation has been building nicely. It’s certainly an intriguing side project from the man behind the bulk of Marvel’s creative genius, and early looks at the show have been promising. You can read CrimeTimePreview’s own review of the action here, but in the meantime here are some general hopes for what we’ll see in the show.

1. London as it is

There’s a tendency in Marvel films and shows to depict fictionalised versions of major urban areas (usually New York). The cities might appear to be relatively normal, but there’s always a sort of pageantry to how civilians roam the background while heroes take center stage. For lack of a better term, the resulting atmosphere can feel cheesy. For this reason it would be nice to see Lucky Man show off modern London in a realistic manner. This trailer certainly seems to do as much. It even closes with a stark but very real vision of the skyline, so there are positive indications in this regard.

2. A starring turn for James Nesbitt

James Nesbitt is a familiar actor to a lot of people, having done fine work on The Missing and Babylon, among other television projects, along with the role of Bofur in the Hobbit film series. But Lucky Man certainly looks as if it could be his most significant role to date, so here’s hoping for a starring turn that shows his full range of talents.

3. Clear manipulation of luck

Going by the early description of the show, Nesbitt’s character (a detective named Harry) will gain the ability to control his own luck by way of using a mystical, ancient bracelet. That’s an interesting premise to be sure, but if there’s one recurring flaw in Marvel’s cinematic projects, it may just be that powers are too often defined loosely and conveniently. Strength and powers tend to meet or exceed their limits only as dictated by the needs of the story.

For instance, Iron Man’s suit can withstand incredible force, but it proves to be no match for the Hulk; Captain America’s shield is indestructible but suddenly gets scratched and scuffed up when the character needs to appear battle-worn; the abilities of Thor’s hammer seem to change each time he throws it. This time around, it would be nice to see a source of power—evidently, an ancient bracelet—used within clear limitations. We should know how, when, and to what extent Harry can use it.

4. Appropriate hobbies

Nesbitt’s character is meant to be a gambler, though presumably once he learns to control his own luck he’ll make what money he needs and focus on his detective/hero work. But the foundation of a superhero character as a fortune-seeking gambler is an interesting one, so it would be nice to see this aspect of the character continue to exist throughout the show. Furthermore, this is an increasingly easy hobby to work into a show.

Even if an ordinary casino might not be a fitting environment for a detective, the popular online casino market is an option, and has yet to be covered in satisfying detail in fiction. At this site, a player (Nesbitt, perhaps?) can jump into pretty much any game that exists at a real casino, playing with real money against actual opponents. There are even live dealers who work through the site to control games. Seeing Nesbitt’s character spending his free time holed up in an apartment with a hobby like this would be an interesting twist away from the standard bottle of scotch or home workout routine.

5. A lone-wolf hero

Finally, let’s hope this is a one-off, lone-wolf hero rather than yet another addition to the massive universe of Marvel film and television content. It’s widely expected that even the characters from the recent Netflix shows added to Marvel’s empire will ultimately be brought into the films. Lucky Man certainly seems different, largely because it’s not being produced by Marvel. However, it’s not a huge reach to imagine that it could be welcomed into the fold if it’s successful. Instead, it might be nice to see this one run its own course.

Any way you cut it, Lucky Man is certainly intriguing. Let’s hope it winds up being just the latest work of genius from the now 93-year-old Stan Lee.

Lucky Man is on Sky1 on Fridays at 9pm

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