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Jessica Jones: The Darkest Superhero Show Yet

Hector Ramirez II

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s lineup of films and recent shows has initially given off the impression of being lighthearted fun that people of all ages can enjoy,  and these have seen renowned success.

Krysten Ritter stars as Jessica in Jessica Jones (AP photo)

Krysten Ritter stars as Jessica in Jessica Jones (AP photo)

Marvel-Netflix’s Daredevil TV show gave a glimpse of just how dark Marvel was willing to go with more gritty and gruesome action. For the brand new show Jessica Jones, Marvel-Netflix has produced the darkest superhero epic that triumphs on the small screen.

Jessica Jones is not your ordinary superhero show. Yes, Jessica does have super strength and can jump really high, but her abilities are an afterthought. What really shines is the dynamic between Jessica, played by Krysten Ritter, and Kilgrave (also known as the Purple Man), played by David Tennant of Doctor Who. The 13-episode season revolves around Jessica and her friends, throwing dark twists  at them, in ways we haven’t seen before in a superhero television show, and you won’t see them coming.

Haunted by a traumatic past, Jessica Jones is an ex-superhero who hangs up the costume and decides to use her gifts as a private investigator.  When Kilgrave, long thought to be dead, shows up in her life again, Jessica must use her powers to find him and put a stop to his tortuous, evil ways.

There’s not as much action or humor as one would expect, which can be an initial disappointment to some. However, Jessica Jones is the most character-focused superhero show we have ever seen. The characters feel like realistic people with real-world problems despite being a superhero show.

Jessica is a headstrong, independent character that does what she pleases. Unfortunately, she uses her time to drown her problems with hard liquor and digging up the dirty secrets on others as a private investigator. Jessica’s fiercely protective best friend and moral pillar is Trish Walker, a talk show host and former child star. Trish is the kind of friend we all want by our side when life keeps knocking us down.

The relationship between Jessica Jones and brooding bartender Luke Cage gives more insight into how humans with super powers keep those powers in check due to the events of the Avengers series. More characters surface–such as the neighborhood addict, the amoral attorney, and the sensible cop–and each have their own arcs that don’t feel rushed or worthless.

The real standout is the show’s antagonist, Kilgrave. He has a special and dangerous super power–mind control. With a simple request, Kilgrave can make anybody bash their head into a wall, or tell them to take off all of their clothes. Victims to his wicked acts are left with deep and lasting trauma that goes far beyond his ability, which is the true fear of his power.  Kilgrave is a more complex comic-book menace. He represents a sort of everyday evil and threat that makes him much scarier than any other villain we have seen in the MCU.

There are a subtle nods to the comic books Jessica Jones is based off,  Alias, as well as a few mentions regarding previous MCU productions. When Luke Cage refers to the Avengers as “the big green dude and his crew,” you can’t help but chuckle. Or when Jessica and Trish are discussing cool, potential superhero names, and the name Jewel, which was Jessica’s superhero persona in the compic books, comes up, but Jessica scoffs, calling it a bad stripper name shows that the writers are not afraid to poke fun at the comic book counterpart.

Jessica Jones breaks the standard of the cinematic superhero genre. It excels in its pacing, characterizations, and drama for a compelling narrative that exists in an already established universe. As far as where Jessica is headed next, I guess we will have to find out in Marvel’s other tie-in shows, Daredevil and Iron Fist. Will we see her again? The idea may be in the hands of the creators presently, but I sure hope so.

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Jessica Jones: The Darkest Superhero Show Yet