Jessica Jones, given that she’s not had a Hollywood movie, is not as widely known as Daredevil to the non comic book world. She is the second in line for the next Netflix series related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
A pattern is forming of the Netflix series being low-level and singular compared to the cinema releases. In the cinema they save the world, on Netflix they save a New York that has been shook by the events of the movies.
The Jessica Jones comic book, Alias, is well known for being down to earth, by tackling very real life problems. This makes it dark, dirty and gritty and the series does well to match it. That’s all I was hoping for. Any more would have been too much and any less would not be Jessica Jones.
It opens with a shot for shot reenactment of the opening shot from her comic series, which immediately settles readers in and is just as perfect for the series as it was for the comics.
The great thing about the Netflix series is they don’t have to be as concerned with pleasing as wide of an audience as the cinema releases. Allowing them to take more risks, Daredevil was more violent than anything we’d seen from Marvel before. Jessica Jones continues this, with sprinklings of raw sexual encounters.
Krysten Ritter is the star in every sense of the word. She’s snarky, angry and narcissistic as the protagonist, There was no one else who could have pulled it off after seeing Ritter.
The show quickly takes a noir style and runs with it. Jessica narrates the entire series, with a cynical wry lifting of the eyebrow at every turn.
Jessica is a private investigator, it seems she has been for a while and is very good at what she does. The first case that’s brought to her in the show is of a young girl. It seems a run of the mill case for her until it sets off some post traumatic stress disorder symptoms in Jessica.
It seems this young girl, Hope, has got mixed up in something big that Jessica knows all too well.
Hope’s kidnapper, Kilgrave, played by David Tennant is a mind controller. At the drop of a word you will do whatever he says, it’s not clear how he distinguishes between mind control and talking but it’s enough that the audience can tell the difference.
The parents have been sent to Jessica by Kilgrave, she thought she had killed him a long time ago. He survived and is trying to get his revenge by trying to mentally manipulate those around her and a whole host of strangers.
The dynamic between Tennant and Ritter is a genre blighting exploration of control, co-dependance and rape. Long before we see a hero-villain showdown the series has time to work through very real traumas that any woman could face.
There are many chances for Jessica and Kilgrave to get stuck into each other but neither confrontation is like anything we’ve seen before.
Another dynamic we see her in is with Luke Cage. Mike Polter as the man with indestructible skin is key in showing Jessica as, not only the fighter or superhero, but also as one who is need of protection. She is human, she is flawed, but she is a hero.
Her unrelenting courage in the face of surmounting odds and compassion in the face of a careless world makes her a perfect hero.
Verdict: She is flawed heroine in a flawed world that makes for a compelling story and the series is incredible in its exploration of desperate human behaviours. The best superhero show on at the moment.