Astrophysics major with an obsession for comics, tv, movies and books, so please tell me how wrong I am
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Jessica Jones shows off the ugliest and grittiest part of the MCU in this gripping psychological drama that gives a greater depth to Marvel’s Netflix Universe.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones has been out for a week now, so the following will be spoilerific.
Jessica Jones is badass, plain and simple. This worthwhile addition to the Marvel Universe is a fresh perspective on what a superhero show can be, invoking a much darker feel than Netflix’s Daredevil series. Jessica is a war-torn alcoholic, struggling to cope after a year of being literally mind-controlled by a sycophantic serial killer. This is David Tenant’s “Kilgrave”, a perfect embodiment of unrelenting evil mixed with sociopathic tendencies.
The dynamic between Jessica and Kilgrave is so perverse but unique, and it is just one of many plot points that works on so many levels. The entire tone of the series is more mature with arcs involving a crackhead neighbor, lesbian affairs and alcoholism, but the depravity that Kilgrave exhibits is what sets this show apart from other Marvel programs. His power to control anyone with his words is truly terrifying, and the writers play with this power in very shocking ways (ie. “If I’m not back in two hours, peel the skin from each others faces”).
Kilgrave always says he has never murdered anyone, but we see him force Hope Shlottman to murder her parents, he tells Will Simpson to jump off a building, and he makes Malcom (Jessica’s neighbor) become a crackhead and personal informant. But it’s these characters that actually give depth to the entire series by putting their PTSD on showcase, with a realistic view on how it affects a person physically/mentally. It’s great that they don’t just show Jessica struggling with this, but a whole group of people that have been controlled. Diving into their stories felt unique and gave the story true urgency when they are all re-captured and put in a death trap.
Kristin Ritter nails her role as Jessica Jones, with her intensity and sarcastic wit really paralleling the comic-version of the character. This entire series is based off of Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos “Alias” comic, and there are easter eggs galore. From scenes that are ripped right from the comics (first scene in the first episode), to characters like Luke Cage (“Sweet Christmas”) and Patricia “Patsy” Walker, the series pays many tributes to the source material.
Luke Cage (who is getting his own Netflix series) is also perfectly cast, and very well written to play off of Jessica, being that he has unbreakable skin and she has super strength. The two have sexual tension as soon as they meet, and it’s refreshing to see it culminate so quickly (they have sex in the first episode). Having no will-they won’t-they in the show gives room for deeper plot points that create a much more intriguing watch.
Lawyer Jeri Hogarth is an intriguing change from her male comic-counterpart, but she is thrown to the wayside after the culmination of her plot-line in “Death by 1000 cuts”. Carrie-Ann Moss does a good job at conveying the intensity and no-nonsense that Hogarth is known for in the comics, and I wish there was more of it near the final episodes. It is also nice to see the show dive into her divorce within the first episode and not play out her affair.
Jessica’s crazy neighbour Robyn is the only truly cringe-worthy character in the show, but thankfully her arc isn’t too long. She seems unnecessary for the main plot, and just ends up being frustrating rather than interesting. Thankfully she is the only character that is poorly written, with every other side character getting plenty of story and background.
All 13 episodes are well used and fast paced, but the ending seemed a little anti-climactic and felt quite out of place when Jessica actually kills Kilgrave (one-hand neck snap FTW). With the earlier reference to “ripping his tongue from it’s skull”, I really thought she would incapacitate him rather than actually murder him. Not really a bad plot point since it caught me off guard, and we’ll probably see the mental repercussions Jessica will go through in season 2. It is sad though that we won’t see more of Kilgrave, since his character was one of a kind.
All in all, this is a great addition to Marvel’s Netflix catalog and a general worthwhile watch. Much more than a cookie cutter superhero show, and not willing to pull any punches when it comes to maturity and bordering horror, Jessica Jones will knock your teeth in and convince you that female superheroes can be done right.
I can’t wait to see what’s in store for season 2.
AJ DeMare is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @Perma_Trashed
Marvel’s Jessica Jones nails it’s first season and sets the groundwork for a larger shared Netflix Universe