If you’re a regular reader of Screenkicker you’ll probably have noticed I’ve been pretty harsh on the output of Marvel Studios over the last few years. For every Guardians of the Galaxy there’s been an Iron Man 2, a Thor 2, and an Avengers 2 otherwise known in my house as the holy trinity of shitty superhero sequels. However so far Marvel’s TV shows have been generally OK. Daredevil was fine, Agent Carter is enjoyable enough, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is generally inoffensive if you completely ignore it (which is luckily what most people do). The latest addition to this list is Jessica Jones – a Netflix exclusive based on a character i’ll be honest i’d never heard of before. Is it any good or am I setting you up for cruel disappointment?
It’s actually the first one. Jessica Jones is Marvel’s best TV show so far. The reason for this is that it’s just so different from the formula that the comic empire has been relying on for the last few years. Jessica Jones is a nice antidote for the smug Joss Whedon-tainted direction that the Marvel universe has taken. I’d like to pop my handsome head up and state that Jessica Jones is the best female character that Marvel has produced.
I don’t want to get bogged down in a debate about gender politics as that would be a) extremely subjective and b) fucking tiresome but this show got me thinking about women. The thing that makes Jessica Jones such an interesting female lead is that she has many many flaws. She has a drink problem, she’s a surly cow, and most importantly she’s incredibly stupid. It’s these personality traits that flesh Jessica out. She avoids all of the pitfalls that women in action movies and shows tend to fall into (as expertly detailed in my post Full Metal Bitches).
If you don’t know the background to JJ then here’s a quick summary: Jessica Jones is a (not very good) private investigator in New York. She also happens to have super-strength and is permanently pissed off. As the show progresses she must confront the evil Kilgrave, a man who can tell other people to do literally anything. This is the point at which the programme reveals it’s brilliance and this is mainly due to the casting.
Krysten Ritter is perfect as Jessica, she makes a character, who should be annoying, extremely like-able. Ritter totally owns the role, exuding charm and conveying her inner fears and frustration through her expressively grumpy face. Kilgrave, the big bad, is a classic creation and his portrayal by David Tennant is beautifully crazy. Tennant throws himself into the role of probably the most powerful man in the world who is limited by his own stupidity and quest for unrequited love. Jessica and Kilgrave are two sides of the same coin, two super-powered people who haven’t grown up since gaining their powers. Watching these two fucked up morons tangling is so much fun and unveils a psychologic aspect to the Marvel world.
I know that this review has spun out of control and may be a confusing mess but in my defense Jessica Jones is a difficult show to describe. I feel that this is what makes it so good. If you’re bored of the usual squeaky clean comic book heroes and would like to see a morally conflicted, extremely dark ‘hero’ fueled by vengeance confront her screwed up past this is the show for you. Or to put it more simply if you like the idea of a willowy young lady beating the shit out of bad guys then Jessica Jones is an instant classic.
I’d love to hear from you guys what you thought of Jessica Jones. Did you like it as much as me? Are you attracted to ladies with resting bitch-face? Just me???
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