Marvel Masterpiece: Jessica Jones

Krysten Ritter plays Jessica Jones in the new Marvel series on Netflix. Photo Courtesy: EyesOnFire89
Krysten Ritter plays Jessica Jones in the new Marvel series on Netflix.
Photo Courtesy: EyesOnFire89

By Connor Risenhoover

The second of Marvel’s Netflix only series went live last week. Jessica Jones picks up where Daredevil left off for street level heroes.

Like its previous series, Marvel’s Jessica Jones takes place in Hell Kitchen, a down-trodden borough of New York. Much like the hero Daredevil, Jones works at street level.

Rather than join the Avengers or other such superhero teams, Jones spends much of her time being hired out as a private investigator.

Unlike the other Marvel properties that have come before it, Jessica Jones takes its material in a much different direction. This property is much darker and deals with a more mature subject matter.

The title character Jessica Jones deals with depression, alcoholism, rape, and death. Throughout the first season, Jones struggles to deal with past trauma and accepts her role as a hero in the lives of others.

This series is also the strongest use of women in a Marvel property. Written by women, the characters within it portray fully realized people, rather than the two dimensional figures that the women typically are in Marvel movies.

Jessica is strong and independent, a character who is complex and deeply conflicted. Her portrayal by actress Krysten Writter is done in such an incredible way that those complexities come through with or without dialogue.

To have a memorable hero, there must be an equally memorable villain. Doctor Who alum David Tennant play the best villain in the Marvel universe so far.

Tennant plays Kilgrave a monster from Jessica’s past and present and the catalyst for the entire series. This villain has the ability to make anyone do his will simply by speaking to them.

Subtract a conscience, and there is the recipe for a psychopath. Throughout the series Kilgrave sends people to their death by jumping off buildings, stabbing themselves to death, and even cutting their own arms off.

In terms of unsettling visuals and scenarios, Jessica Jones is full of them. Each shows the humanity of Jones while highlighting the evil of Kilgrave. While watching the series, prepare to be unsettled by something.

Because this is a comic property, there is redemption, but Jessica Jones does not offer it without toying with its viewers emotionally. The darkness of this series is found throughout and some places are difficult to get through due to the sheer emotions involved.

The only negative aspect of the show is that the ending feels anticlimactic. The whole buildup presents several different scenarios and the show chooses one of the lamer finishes.

Overall, the show is a complete look in to the lives of broken people who have spent their life under the control of a man who can bid people to do whatever he wants. Everyone in the series is broken, everyone has trauma.

Jessica Jones is a character study with limited action and lots of dialogue. It is a heart-wrenching and emotional piece of television that captures flawed people at their best and worst.

In terms of action, Daredevil is better, but the supporting cast in Jessica Jones and the character study push it slightly ahead.

It is another excellent offering by Marvel. Very different tone and feel than Daredevil but an incredibly unique show nonetheless.