Marvel's latest Netflix Original Series, Jessica Jones, is unlike the others featured in its vast cinematic universe.
I’ll be honest, I have never really enjoyed Marvel comics.
I think they seem less like classic superhero plots and more modern, and I prefer the classics like Batman and Aquaman. But even so, I was glued to the screen when I was watching Marvel’s second Netflix series: Jessica Jones.
Unlike series akin to The Avengers or Spider-Man, Jessica Jones is a dark and alternative series that has much more character development than any other Marvel series previously seen.
The show begins with scenes of Jones (Krysten Ritter) sneaking around alleyways and fire escapes in search of something or someone, but we later find out she is on assignment as a private investigator. The nature of her investigations tend to be based on proving infidelity of marriages, among other raunchy acts.
Jones is not only a master investigator, but she is also superhuman. Vague references to The Avengers and the larger Marvel cinematic universe are something that other series, such as Ant-Man, have done, but here they are used to make larger points. While this is a series about superheroes, replacing that word with any minority group gives an interesting perspective about being a part of that small group. Maybe this was by mistake or maybe it was strategic that when Jones denies responsibility for the attacks on New York in The Avengers series, she very well could be talking about minorities being blamed for terrorism or police violence. Just as people wrongly peg all Muslims as responsible for terrorist threats, so do characters in this series accuse Jones of idleness in the face of danger.
Jones has dangers of her own.
A man from her past who has the power to persuade anyone to do anything he tells them comes back after recovering from an accident. The character named Kilgrave (David Tennant) is a difficult character to handle. When he is first introduced, there is little ambiguity of his immoral nature, but as the series develops, there are complex details of his life that give the audience an extremely cloudy moral view of Kilgrave.
Jones has help from her childhood friend, a shark of a lawyer, and several friends she meets through Kilgrave. Toward the end of the series, there is extreme tension and several twists that are certainly cringe-worthy, but Jones manages to come out alive.
Tennant and Ritter are some of the most compelling actors of the series. Though Tennant has played mostly heroic roles, his portrayal of Kilgrave is sinister and creepy. The characters in the comics come to life with extreme complexity on the screen, making it difficult for the viewer to absolutely determine one’s feelings about them.
While more popular blockbuster series have been well-made, it seems more fulfilling to watch or read series like Jessica Jones. Action and adventure await those who watch the bigger productions, but there are few moral or social issues being addressed. This new Netflix series poses hard, ambiguous and controversial questions. Morality, good and evil are much less set in stone in real life, so it is much more worthwhile to watch a show that shouts reality at you even if you didn’t want to be in conversation with the writers.
Jessica Jones is more than worthy of an audience, and it stands alone. There is no need to read the comics if you choose, because all 13 episodes paint the picture effortlessly.