Netflix’s collaboration with Marvel featuring the grittier, street-wise superheroes of New York (of the Marvel Cinematic Universe) enters into Phase Two with Jessica Jones. Whilst Daredevil has a marquee-level brand recognition, Jessica Jones would only be familiar to diehard comic book fans, from the Marvel MAX series, Alias. Thus, it represented a bit of a risk for Netflix-Marvel to produce a Jessica Jones series over a more prominent character like say, The Punisher or even Luke Cage. But the gamble paid off and how!
The TV series adapts the MAX comic book (by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Gaydos) as Jones – a former costumed super heroine who is now using her powers (mainly super-strength) as a private investigator – takes on a case that puts her into direct confrontation with Kilgrave (The Purple Man). Kilgrave possesses mind control powers and had previously enslaved Jones, forcing her to commit heinous deeds before an accident freed her from his mental dominance.
Although Jones’ attempts to defeat Kilgrave is the over-arching plot of the series, she has to repair and restore her fragile mental state as she struggles with post traumatic stress disorder and the tremendous guilt assaulting her at every turn.
In the process, she has to cope with her relationships with best friend Trish (a.k.a. Patsy Walker — “Hellcat” in the Marvel comics), new love interest Luke Cage (fellow super-powered “Power Man”) and lawyer Jerry Hogarth. But ultimately, the central focus rests on exploring Jones’ relationship with her former tormentor Kilgrave.
The writing is superb throughout, building on the comic book premise and taking it well beyond the source material, into psychologically darker territories whilst keeping it fairly realistic within the context of the MCU.
The acting is top notch from Krysten Ritter (Jones), Kilgrave (Neil Tennant), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Rachael Taylor (Trish Walker) & Carrie-Ann Moss (Jeri Hogarth) – each responding well to the challenges presented by the intense script. Like the Daredevil series, MCU references are thrown in for good measure (the Incident (the alien invasion in Avengers) is once again mentioned, which should keep the geeks fairly amused.
Again, like the Daredevil series, Netflix & Marvel have done impressively well to deliver adult-themed superhero material. Hopefully, there’s more from where that came from.
Available now from Netflix.