Stan Lee’s Lucky Man is a huge departure from other Stan Lee superhero creations. Stan Lee’s Lucky Man does not have Tony Stark’s billions, brilliant mind and cockiness nor does it have Spider-Man’s ability to swing from one high-rise to another using his own sticky web.
Stan Lee’s Lucky Man is London Detective Inspector (DI) Harry Clayton (James Nesbitt), a deeply flawed character like the rest of Stan Lee’s superpower-endowed Marvel heroes. However, Clayton has more Hieronymus Bosch in him than all Stan Lee’s progenies combined.
Clayton is an extraordinary DI whose checkered past puts his reputation in question. His main waterloo is gambling. As a gambler, he believes in taking high risk for high reward and as a result, he amassed serious debt to casino owner Freddie Lau (Kenneth Tsang). Unfortunately for Clayton, Lau drops dead just hours after he asked the detective to pay his note payables. Lau’s daughter and sole heir, Lily-Anne (Jing Lusi), is bent on using Clayton to sway the outcome of investigation in her favor. Her manipulation adds to the cloud of suspicion surrounding the unlucky man.
Clayton’s risk-loving mentality extends to his job and once caused erstwhile colleague and present superior Winter (Steven Mackintosh) in injury when an operation went sideways. Winter is in a delicate position to keep his personal feeling for Clayton in check for the resolution of the cases Clayton handles. Mackintosh in the first half of the series gives a throwback to his character, another cop, in the first season of Luther.
Clayton’s out-of-the-box way of thinking makes his partner, Detective Sergeant (DS) Suri Chohan (Amara Karan), question her loyalty to him and second-guess some of his decisions. Chohan is one of the thinking characters in the show. She supports Clayton for the most part but challenges him when he goes overboard. And overboard he does majority of the time.
It is understandable that Clayton’s nightly visits to the gambling tables also affect his personal life. His estranged wife, Anna Clayton (Eve Best), divorced him after he lost some of their conjugal properties to gambling. Anna is a top defense lawyer who now dates a younger and hotter guy.
So, to recap, Clayton’s professional and personal lives are in the crapper, and he owes a dead man over 140,000 pounds. Clayton’s fortunes take a 180-degree turn on the night he meets Eve (Sienna Guillory), a motorcycle chick who rocks black leather pants and jacket as much as she sizzles in black evening dresses. With Eve’s guidance, Clayton wins 70,000 pounds in a roulette table, beds Eve and wakes up not only with a smile on his face, but with a bronze bracelet strapped on his wrist. Under normal circumstances, it is a win for Clayton, in more ways than one.
Too bad for Clayton, the bracelet is supposedly owned by a man named Golding. To make matters worse, Golding is the puppet master of many crooked men and women and has disposable cash that can rival Tony Stark’s liquid assets.
In the course of the 10-episode series, Clayton finds out that the bracelet is not some gaudy bling but an ancient one with an additional yang (of yin yang) line. That stroke of imperfection makes it a powerful accessory that cannot be taken off from the wearer, forcibly or otherwise. It gives the owner unprecedented luck in games of chance and in life in general, hence, Clayton becomes the Lucky Man. As Clayton grows bolder in using the power of the bracelet for the benefit of the cases he works on, he finds out that not all luck is good.
As Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, Nesbitt shows how physically fit he is. He climbs over fences, throws bad guys over handrails, hangs on to the edges of roof and runs a lot, either after criminals or from authorities. Aside from the physicality of his role, Nesbitt has the general badassness down pat, from the smirk to the unwavering glare. He is the British Bosch.
Winter and Chohan are great supporting characters to Clayton, but their lack of guns and bulletproof vests are startling to say the least. Is it normal for detectives in London to respond to dangerous situations unarmed? They have phones and radios, but they do not really count against long firearms. I think criminals do not get paid playing Candy Crush.
Stan Lee’s Lucky Man does not have the big production, stunts galore and sense of humor that are normally associated with Marvel movies, but it is a decent show with believable story arcs, the magical bracelet aside, and consistent characterization. To add to the positive column of Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, it has great actors, a catchy opening song worthy of a LSS (last song syndrome) and the beautiful city of London as its backdrop.
This is a review of Sky1’s Stan Lee’s Lucky Man.