Usually, when “Marvel” pops on the screen, I know it’s time to change the channel. The flashy costumes, grotesque visual effects, and ridiculous battle scenes are a little juvenile for my liking.
Jessica Jones is a different story. The Netflix show is completely adult, and even a little dark and ugly, featuring themes of abuse, sexual assault, and mental illness.
The show, inspired by the comic book Alias, follows Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter, Breaking Bad) in her battle with her super villain ex-boyfriend, Zebediah Killgrave (David Tennant, Doctor Who). She’s a new take on an anti-hero; the series begins with Jones recovering from her brief flirtation with her role as a heroin, which ended in tragedy. But Jones doesn’t give up fighting the good fight. She begins her career as a private investigator, with her ability of superhuman strength coming in handy once in a while (every episode).
Jones is complex to say the least. Her binge drinking, PTSD, and inner turmoil create a vulnerability, yet we do not pity her. She has sly comebacks and fantastic crime-fighting finesse; her work as a P.I. seems to confirm her dark outlook on the world, yet somehow we know she sees some good too.
Though Ritter may have been blessed with the best (and most challenging) character, Tennant stands out as the best actor to me. Killgrave has the power to read minds and coerce, a power he uses to manipulate and assault our beloved Jones. Tennant somehow makes Killgrave not completely hate-able. There is something about his twisted courtship with Jones that seems earnest. Tennant manages to make his psychopathic character appear innocent in some ways, and surprisingly human.
Honestly, the show starts slow and only gets good towards the middle when Jones and Killgrave heat up. Although the show would finish well as a single season hit, my wish for the potential season two is that the demented duo don’t end up together. For a show that is so advanced in its dealing with mental illness and rape, I would hate to see another female protagonist fall for her manipulator.