Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Complex and Thought-Provoking, 'Jessica Jones' Is a Totally Different Marvel Franchise

Years ago, when I read the comics that first introduced the character of Jessica Jones, Alias, I thought it was set on an alternate universe altogether.  As part of the MAX imprint, Alias had more mature themes than the traditional stories set in Earth-616 – the main Marvel Universe – thus, I presumed that it was in a different universe .  It was only when I read the first issue of New Avengers (volume one) that I learned that the Alias comic was actually set on Earth-616. 

The Netflix Marvel web TV series, though set in the same Marvel Cinematic Universe as the movies and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D TV series, are as distinctive to the rest of MCU stories as was the MAX imprint to the Earth-616 stories – that it’s as if it’s set in a different universe altogether.  We first get a look of the gritty, noir vibes and mature content of the Netflix “world” in Daredevil, but it was only in Jessica Jones wherein these were really seem perfected, making me fully realize for the first time that the whole thing is very “different.” 

Just like Daredevil, Jessica Jones is a slow-paced but riveting “character piece” drama rather than a full-on superhero yarn.  But more so with Jessica Jones, since it lacks the thrilling fight scenes that Daredevil has.  It instead focuses more in telling a complex, thought-provoking drama that tackles dark, sensitive themes like rape and PTSD without being exploitative. 

The drama also works so well because the writing of the characters is terrifically done – not only among the main players, but among the supporting cast as well.  The characters are well-realized and well-peeled; and the actors that portrayed them did great jobs. 

Krysten Ritter is fantastic as Jessica Jones.  She is deeply flawed and an unpleasant jerk, but you get to really sympathize and understand the character that you have to root for her.  It bothers me though that the character only jumps high but can’t fly (she can in the comics).

David Tennant’s charm has made the Tenth Doctor my favorite incarnation of The Doctor so far, but his performance as Killgrave is charming in a different way.  His character is so revolting, and yet, he is enthralling to watch.  He’s such a fascinating villain that many are already saying he’s the best MCU villain ever.  Now, I won’t go that far, but I’ll give him this: he definitely has the most depth.

I was surprised that I get to like Mike Colter as Luke Cage.  My preference for the character was to have a big screen feature of his own, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  So I was a little bit disappointed when it was announced that Luke Cage would only have a Netflix show.  Coming to this show, I was kind of prepared of hating Colter’s Cage.  But instead, I easily liked his portrayal.   Netflix Luke Cage turns out being really cool in Jessica Jones and I can’t wait to see him in his own series next year.   My biggest beef with the series though is something that happened to the character –
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HE WAS KNOCKED OUT BY A GUNSHOT!!!! Come on!  This is Luke Cage we’re talking about!  He’s supposed to be so bullet-proofed and super-strong that a barrage of machine-gun fire does not faze him.  That’s so stupid!

I enjoyed Jessica Jones very much, but I won’t say I don’t have problems with it.  There are moments I felt the narrative was tedious and inconsistent to MCU logic (e.g. people still have a hard time believing the existence of super-powered people), and then there were subplots I don’t think was necessary (e.g. the part with the adaptation of the comicbook character Nuke).  But all in all, Jessica Jones is a very interesting show, though I probably like Daredevil more.

I’m really looking forward to season two because whatever happens there would be quite a surprise to me.  Season one basically covers the storyline of Alias, and that’s the only comic book storyline that centers on Jessica Jones (so far – given the popularity of the Netflix show, expect a tie-up comic book to happen soon).  In the comics, after the events with the Purple Man (Killgrave), she got married to Luke Cage and closed Alias Investigations, and then became a supporting character to the Avengers (eventually becoming a member, too) and a full-time housewife/mom.  So it’s safe to expect that whatever will be done on season two is something original.  Thus, that’s something to be intrigued and excited about.

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