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By: Hess Sahllolbey
Ever since Iron Man hit the big screen almost a decade ago, Marvel has been creating a universe that’s only become bigger and better. After having seen every episode since its debut on Friday, I’ve decided that Jessica Jones is no exception. I’m still reeling from how realistic, dark and amazing it is.
The second series from Marvel’s four-show agreement with Netflix after Daredevil, Jessica Jones is the latest addition to the growing mythology of the Marvel Comics Cinematic Universe. For the fans of the original Alias comic book by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, it should be noted that this is not a direct adaptation of the comic. Where something like The Walking Dead follows the narrative of the comic books linearly without ever drifting from it, Jessica Jones is merely inspired from certain concepts in the comics. That’s not to say that elements from the comics are lost; instead, Jessica Jones takes its own unique spin.
Jessica Jones is far darker than anything else in the MCU and focuses on the seedy side of New York City. Taking place after The Avengers saved NYC from an alien invasion in the first Avengers film, the series sees Jessica investigating superhuman threats in the city.
Adult themes and subjects are not off limits in the show, including graphic depictions of rape, substance abuse and PTSD. All of those themes bring us a much darker and tormented hero, unlike any of the mainstream Avengers heroes. And that’s all thanks to the perfect casting of Krysten Ritter and David Tennant. Krysten Ritter has always brought a captivating presence to anything that she’s starred in. Her past shows like Breaking Bad and Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 solidified her as the perfect actress that could play the sarcastic, anti-social, quick-witted type that would still set aside their inner demons to help others. Anytime Ritter is on screen as Jessica Jones, she easily gives her career-best performance as she conveys Jones’ damaged psyche and emotional turmoil in a genuinely realistic manner.
Adding to that stellar cast is David Tennant as Kilgrave, the main antagonist of the series. This character, also known as the Purple Man, is dastardly creepy. A smile creeps across my face any time Tennant is on screen. He plays the role so terrifyingly well that I was always at the edge of my seat, holding my breath in anxiety and fear of what he was going to do to his next victim. His mere presence creates an unsettling atmosphere, coupled with his superpower to make anyone do whatever he tells them to do.
Mike Colter, Rachel Taylor and Wil Traval were all fantastic respectively as Luke Cage, Trish Walker and Nuke. They had lots of chemistry and intrigue as their stories played out. On the contrary, Eka Derville, Carrie-Anne Moss and Erin Moriarty’s characters felt extremely one-dimensional with no depth or development. Their scenes were often stiff and boring to watch. I also can’t help but compare the sex scenes in Jessica Jones to those in Orange is the New Black. In Jessica Jones, they’re run-of-the-mill and overly explicit; on the other hand, Orange is the New Black’s sex scenes are funny, messy and heartbreakingly real. The scenes however still contribute to the noir drama and help flesh out the characters more.
In the end, Jessica Jones is one excellent package. It contains all of the classic film-noir elements including saxophone music, jump scares, shadows through glass, long panning shots and voice-over monologues that left me wanting more. In fact, this neo-noir psychological thriller had such an abundant supply of detectives, superheroes and super villains, that it made me wonder why we even need the Avengers films when all the real drama is playing out on the small screen.