Marvel’s Jessica Jones: AKA Netflix Winner
dark, gritty, noir, suspenseful, original,character growth, great adaptation
can be predictable, some sex scenes unnecessary, some supportive cast not needed for story or character growth
It’s been a fun 24 hours, it’s also been a long 24 hours. At midnight on the 20th of November a brand new Netflix Marvel series dropped, in all its glory, and I wasted no time in logging into my account and pressing play on the new gritty, edgy, dark and dirty Jessica Jones.
I’m going to do my best to write this without giving away too many spoilers because I know that many people haven’t done the marathon thing like I have. So, where to begin?
Marvel’s Jessica Jones, or simply Jessica Jones, is a Marvel television series created for Netflix by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the ‘Alias’ comic series, the noir tone approach to sexuality and covering darker topics such as rape, assault and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) the reception of the series was overwhelmingly positive, with praise being given to the shows Main characters, Jessica Jones played by the beautiful Krysten Ritter and the evil Kilgrave aka ‘The Purple Man’ played by the hypnotic and suave David Tennant. With 13 episodes strong, season 1 did not disappoint at all and has left me thirsty for season 2 already.
The show lands us smack dab in the middle of Jessica’s world. Following a tragic end to her brief superhero career, Jessica tries to rebuild her life as a private investigator, dealing with cases in New York City with everything from serving summons, taking pictures of cheating spouses and sometimes running into people with special abilities.
Recovering with PTSD after her last run in with Kilgrave, Jessica is never far from a bottle of trusty whiskey (input product placement for wild turkey). The series starts with “AKA Ladies Night” Jessica delivers a subpoena to strip-club owner Gregory Spheeris for lawyer Jeri Hogarth (played by Carrie Anne Moss), I’m going off point to mention this character has been gender swapped for the TV series because in the comics Hogarth is a lawyer for the Rands, as in Danny Rand aka Iron Fist. I’m rambling!
Back on point: While not working, Jones spies on Luke Cage (played by the perfectly cast Mike Colter), a bar owner who sees her looking into his bar and offers her free alcohol as a “Ladies Night” promotion, leading to the two sleeping together (during the series this happens a lot), fans of the comic books know about Luke and Jessica’s relationship and what comes of it, a subtle nod to their baby together is featured.
She leaves upset after seeing a photo of a woman in his bathroom. Jones is approached by Barbara and Bob Shlottman after their daughter Hope began acting differently and has now gone missing. So now we come to the terrifying part: Enter the bad guy. While investigating, Jones discovers that Hope is with Kilgrave aka ‘The Purple man’ called this in the comics because, well he’s purple! Completely! In this adaptation he has a fondness for purple attire, a man with mind control abilities whose time controlling Jones gave her PTSD, and who she believed was dead. Jones wants to flee, but is convinced by her friend and foster-sister Trish Walker (played by Rachael Taylor) to help Hope.
Now those of you familiar with Trish Walker will know her by her alter ego ‘Hell cat’ although she isn’t sporting her trademark red hair in the series it is mentioned so keep them peeled for that.
Our heroine played by Krysten Ritter, brilliant casting in my opinion, even executive producer and showrunner Melissa Rosenberg had Ritter on the top of her list for playing Jones. Ritter stated that she read through Alias in preparation for the role and expressed excitement on adapting the character from the comics, Jeph Loeb said, “Jessica Jones is based on a much more adult comic. The source material came that way. She has real problems with a number of things that she abuses! And we’re not shying away from that.
There’s no tidying her up.” Krysten has said that playing the character was the “biggest acting challenge” in her career and praised the character development. Krysten took “a lot from the comics because she’s so well-drawn. We have some lines that are pulled from the comics, but then the script—she’s as developed for television as she is in the comics”. Krysten got so into the character and the show she dedicated herself and put on 10 pounds of muscle for the role and trained for two months before filming began.
The other big name in the series and a man of few words, impenetrable skin and superhuman strength: Welcome Luke Cage! “Sweet Christmas!” Yes he maybe in a supporting role in this but Luke is eyed to having his own series soon. He’s a presence in every scene he has, it’s not quite the Luke Cage we all know and love, this is Luke not quite in the middle, but in the early part of the middle of his story. Played by Mike Colter, Colter signed on for the series, and others, without reading any scripts and also put on 30 pounds of muscle for the role, the dedication for this series has been incredible. Now Luke is also a part of the Super Soldier Programme and he’s still trying to come to terms with his abilities as we will find out as the show progresses, we also know Cage as part of a duo, the ”Heroes for Hire” with fellow superhero Danny Rand (Iron-Fist). Now whether or not we will get to see the duo is something fans are clinging onto and only time will tell.
Let’s get to the bad guy shall we. David Tennant plays Kilgrave, a mysterious man from Jones’s past, who has the ability of mind control, influence and has a creep factor of 10! He was born Kevin Thompson and was experimented on as a young child, yes you read that. Like something out of the weapon X programme, he’s a manmade villain! The experiments resulted in him acquiring an airborne virus that gave him his powers. He is “a terrible man who doesn’t see himself as terrible” says Jeff Loeb, you even start at some points rooting for him.
Kilgraves character and the way that David Tennant plays that character, it’s really extraordinary and beyond anything I’ve seen him do before. He’s sinister with an on screen presence that sends chills down your spine, this is a villain that can make you do anything he wishes just by being in his vicinity. Rosenberg stated that Tennant was the choice for the character when the series was originally developed for ABC, but he was unavailable at that time, so the production made sure to “jump on him” when the series moved to Netflix, believe me I’m so glad they did.
The world of Jessica Jones is weaved into this show and is layered with Easter eggs and references to the comic universe she comes from. Detective Ozzy Clemens is featured who most of us know is a detective in The Punisher comic books (Punisher being featured in season 2 of Daredevil thought this was a cute touch), the more surprising character featured in Jessica Jones is that of Will Simpson who has more in kind with Frank Simpson more commonly known as ‘NUKE’, he’s a deranged sort of Captain America, a result of the Super Soldier programme being restored and failing, look out for his red and blue pill power. There are mentions left and right about the Avengers and the “incident” in New York City including Jessica mentioning “the green guy and the flag waver” these are obvious nods to Hulk and Captain America.
This series needs to be watched, even if you have no idea who the character is or her involvement with the Avengers. There’s subtle but brilliant nods and winks to her comic book counterpart as mentioned and especially her original costume, with a great main cast and amazing supporting cast from the likes of Rebecca De Mornay, Ryan Farrell and Rosario Dawson, you heard me. I’ve made sure not to give too much away to spoil it for you guys as you should experience the noir, suspense and chase of Marvels Jessica Jones for yourselves. So what are you waiting for?
Now showing on Netflix.