Today is the big day, geeks. Today is the premiere of the new Marvel-Netflix series, Jessica Jones, starring Krysten Ritter and David Tennant. I have also finished watching the series and have my complete review here.
This television series is another successful milestone in the widely popular Marvel Cinematic Universe and like most films or televisions shows that connect to it there is diversity in how characters are portrayed. Jessica Jones has proven itself to be the key to a more diverse and interesting way of storytelling. Like Marvel’s Daredevil, this show gives us a glance into a different area of the MCU that we have not seen before and it differs from what we have seen in films like The Avengers and Guardians of The Galaxy. It’s darker, grittier, and exposes heroes when they are at their weakest moments. We’re beginning to see that they are “superheroes” but at the same time they are just average people. There are real consequences for every step that they make.
Jessica Jones is Marvel’s second series to debut on Netflix and it sends Marvelites swinging back into the dark underbelly that they were so familiar with in Daredevil and everything is a lot bleaker than last time we were in Hell’s Kitchen. The series takes a more modern twist on film noir as Jessica tries to solve a case while struggling with a very severe case of PTSD that is a result of her treatment in the past at the hands of Zebediah Kilgrave (David Tennant). The PTSD serves as an excellent plot element that makes this series more brutal and uncompromising. There are no boundaries on how you treat it or where you can take it. What makes this all the more sweeter is how it is throwing in a superb female cast in a bleak and shadowy underworld yet they shine in a way that Marvel hasn’t done before. In my opinion, it’s neck and neck with some of the larger productions that Marvel has done since the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched in 2008. Daredevil was great but Jessica Jones is outstanding!
Jessica Jones stars Krysten Ritter in the title role of Jessica Jones, a failed superhero-turned-private-investigator working in New York City. The series is based on the Alias comic series by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, the show casts Jessica as the volatile investigator — a role usually filled by classic tough guys like Clint Eastwood. In keeping with the neo-noir tone the series relies on narration and a jazz style theme song that does take a while to catch on to and it can become annoying after one or two viewings. Ritter’s performance does make up for this as she nails the role of being a cynical, alcoholic, and damaged crime fighter with a lot of demons in her closet. She’s not wielding sticks or arrows like certain Marvel crime fighters. She’s armed with raw wit and a low tolerance for certain people but at the same time she’s trying to help people for a little more than just to pay her rent. The complexity and elegance that she exhibits in this capacity really makes it possible for viewers to sympathize with the simmering drama in her life as she juggles her cases and the trauma she faces from a previous encounter with Kilgrave.
Trauma is a critical plot device that wraps around every single character. Sometimes it is subtle and not in full detail. This can be observed during certain scenes with Jessica and Luke Cage that they are both troubled people who have done awful things or lost something that was important to them. Some of these characters and their backstories will be fleshed out in later seasons as time progresses which acts in continuation of the long standing mission of the MCU to provide every fan with different forms of storytelling with intriguing characters whose fates aren’t always known.
Then there’s the benefit of having an awesome villain like Zebediah Kilgrave portrayed by Doctor Who‘s David Tennant. Kilgrave is the centerpiece of Jessica’s past as he consistently torments her and as she states “leaves a trail of broken people behind him.” With a performance like this he does not seem like your typical noir villain but rather a traditional nefarious comic book villain which doesn’t seem to make sense at first but if fans give it some time then it’s tolerable. It is extremely incredible how some would perceive him to be a small time villain when he’s probably the most mysterious, terrifying, and unique villain that exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is a definite joy to watch.
However, the real slam-dunk victory for this series isn’t all of these great story elements but rather in it’s portrayal of female superheroes. Something that is becoming a rising trend in popular culture as we have all seen with Supergirl. These feminine crusaders are multi-dimensional, unstoppable, and in control of the universe that exists around them. I would hope that we see more of this in future comic book based films and television series but only time will tell. That and the stellar ratings that this show has generated alongside Supergirl.
So, what rating would I give Marvel’s Jessica Jones based on everything that I have said in this article? Just check out the grading scale here:
OFFICIAL UYG SCORE: 9.6/10