With Marvel’s stock higher than ever, Netflix jumped on board introducing a gritty incarnation of Daredevil, showcasing the lawyer by day and superhero by night Matt Murdock in a much more further removed world than we’ve seen within the highly popular movie universe. Jessica Jones shares the same universe with Matt Murdoch, even the same city, but aside from the same Avengers hints it feels completely disconnected from the adventures of the blind hero.
Based on the Alias comic book series, Jessica Jones stars Breaking Bad & Apartment 23 star Krysten Ritter in the title role of the jaded and isolated private investigator who finds that the past she thought she’d left behind was ready to dominate her life again.
With super strength and ability to fly – or at least, jump high and have a guided fall – Jessica Jones used to be a superhero. Then she met Kilgrave, a man with the power of mind control who learns of her powers and decides to make her his new play thing. Now long rid of the evil masochist, Jones is living a more subdued life as a private investigator who dulls the pain of her past in whiskey and being just a little bit mean.
The series begins with a simple investigation; find a missing girl. But soon enough she realises that her hunt won’t just take her to her target, but to Kilgrave, the man who turned her form superhero to a damaged young woman. A man that she thought was dead, until she starts picking at the threads and realising his death wasn’t quite as it seemed.
With just a few friends by her side including radio show host Trish (Rachael Taylor), fellow superhuman Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and her not so friendly lawyer Hogarth (Carrie Ann Moss) Jones begins a very personal mission to find Kilgrave (David Tennant) and put an end to his psychological games as he terrorises and abuses anyone and everyone for sport.
Jessica Jones continues the dark side of the Marvel universe. Much like Daredevil, it sets a trend for the Netflix branch of the franchise to bring it’s street level heroes into a much darker world to contrast the colourful fantasy world of the Avengers. Better than that, if you took out the superhero element it’d still be a good show in it’s own right due to it’s grounded story using the mask of super powers to tell a tale of abuse and survival with the story slowly unravelling as the series progresses.
One of the most fascinating elements of the show is Kilgrave himself. We’re all used to the cheery, happy go lucky David Tennant in Doctor Who. Here he’s a very calculating and disturbing villain who, unlike most of his Marvel counterparts, has absolutely nothing likeable about him whatsoever. In the movie world the villains end up with more fanfare than the heroes, particularly Loki and the not-really-bad Winter Soldier and even the big bad of the Avengers story is just a constant tease with no real indication of threat. Kilgrave is just unapologetically nasty which makes Tennants performance all the better.
Though as good as the supporting cast are, a show like this is all about the lead and Krysten Ritter brings the character perfectly and becomes a very intriguing lead. As we learn of the characters past from her life as an eager superhero through to her becoming trapped in Kilgrave’s grasp, we dig deeper into the rude and aggressive loner as she carries herself through her finest – and her lowest – hour in her quest to take down the man who abused her and many others. The first series is almost like Jessica rediscovering who she is a she balances her new life as a PI with her reluctant re-entry into the world of the superhero.
Advancing on the world of Daredevil by creating a solid counterpart, Jessica Jones is possibly one of the best pieces of the Marvel puzzle and slowly becomes one of the most addictive parts of the franchise’s screen counterparts.