A superhero, stupid!
Ever since the incredible success and reception towards Marvel’s Daredevil Netflix series, I’ve been waiting in anticipation for their next series, Jessica Jones, to drop, which is what happened this past Friday. Having already binge watched it in its entirety with a couple friends, here are my non-spoiler thoughts on the series, and why it might be a better show than Daredevil, despite being vastly different.
It’s always amazing to watch what Marvel puts out in terms of its television shows and movies. Every time we see that Marvel has announced something new, and fairly obscure, the majority of people like to go, “that’s never going to succeed. Who’s ever heard of (insert random superhero or team here)? Here comes Marvel’s first bomb!” Taking into account the Ant-Mans, the Inhumans, and the Guardians of the Galaxies of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Jessica Jones might have been the most out there and obscure one yet. Yes, even more so than the talking tree and anthropomorphic raccoon.
So, who is Jessica Jones? She’s a former superhero (Jewel), who’s teamed up with the likes of Avengers and numerous other famous names in the Marvel comics, who is now working as a private investigator after her career as a superhero took a tragic turn. She has the regular litany of superpowers, like super-strength, super-durability and the ability to (almost) fly. Played by Krysten Ritter (of Breaking Bad fame), Jessica is now a hard-drinking, roughhousing jackass with a penchant for putting people through walls when they upset her. Most importantly, however, Jessica is a broken person, and Ritter plays the role marvelously, never allowing too much sentimentality to come out when interacting with characters that are supposed friends, but never being too cold and distant to lock them out entirely.
While Jessica might be the title character of the series, the real interest comes from David Tennant’s (Doctor Who) Zebediah Kilgrave, also known as the Purple Man. You might be saying, “What kind of name is Kilgrave, and Purple Man? That sounds silly, and non-threatening,” and you could not be more wrong. In a world of frightening technology, literal monsters capable of tearing cities apart if they sneeze particularly hard, hostile alien races bent on conquering Earth, and legendary Norse gods with a flair for the dramatic, Tennant’s Kilgrave might be the single most terrifying villain. Kilgrave has the power of suggestion, whatever he asks you to do, you do without question. And Kilgrave isn’t a particularly nice person. I appreciated that the series didn’t water him down from his original R-rated appearances in the comics, and played up his sleaziness to its absolute maximum. Beyond his silly names, and odd sense of fashion, Kilgrave is the representation of evil and debauchery in the Marvel universe, and Tennant is simply brilliant in bringing this monster in the guise of a human to life.
While Jessica Jones has its fair share of action scenes, with Jessica and fellow superhero Luke Cage busting heads, it’s the psychological aspect of the show that makes it truly special. What keeps driving Jessica, someone who has been broken more times than she can count, towards heroism and the doing the “right” thing? What is the right thing to do? Where Daredevil was more clear-cut in what was right and wrong, and who were the squeaky clean good guys and girls, Jessica Jones is not that. Supporting role characters like Jeryn Hogarth, Will Simpson, Trish Walker, and others all have their own goals and are willing to achieve them however possible. There’s only one true bad guy, but everyone else sure as hell isn’t free of guilt.
Jessica Jones is a brilliantly-built series that continues to show the “dark side” of the MCU, and while it doesn’t have the same punch-up, action flair that Daredevil had, it is simply brilliant in its own twisted and deplorable way, and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. Next stop on the Marvel Netflix train? Daredevil season two, and the ultimate symbol of the line between good and bad… The Punisher. Enjoy Jessica Jones, everyone