Jessica Jones is based on Marvel Comics’ Max line of adult themed comics. The Netflix version of her is the typical example of the creative world today: take the stereotypical male model of a character and change the sex. Viola! Instant “new and fresh” character, unrecognizable to those who don’t read a book. Seriously, her private investigator persona is your typical male stock character: the private investigator of film noir from the 1940s. The hard edged, financially broke, investigator with secrets and skeletons in the closet, who gets into fights, lives in a dump, drinks like a lush, and falls for the obligatory attractive love interest. With her jet black hair and porcelain white skin, she looks like she stepped out of a black and white film. The only difference is that she has a superpower, she has super strength. Physical super strength that is because emotionally she is a wreck who would rather drink and run than fight.
The show is full of strong female characters both gay and straight: the super powered Jones, her friend with a popular radio program who can also beat up men, a heart broken doctor, a high powered attorney; and meanwhile all the men are crap. Roll call: Rueben is mentally ill, Malcolm’s a drug addict, and Simpson is a weak demented version of Steve Rogers (“Captain America”) who needs red, white, and blue pills (how corny) to continue his clandestine special ops civic duties. Then there’s Detective Clemons, the black cop who is more concerned about coasting his job instead of getting involved with Jones’ manhunt for the villain Kilgrave because Detective Clemons is just two years from retirement–wait a sec, that sounds a lot like Danny Glover’s Lethal Weapon character doesn’t it? Ah well, and there’s Kilgrave who Jones accuses of using his powers of persuasion to rape her physically, emotionally, etc. The man-hating behavior & dialogue is blatant. In regards to Kilgrave, Jones wants to “cut his balls off”, she teases him that he “can’t get it up”, and that he has a “Slim Jim” in his pants. They’ll probably get nominated for an Emmy Award for best writing in a series.
The role revision continued with the obligatory love interest, Luke Cage, POWER MAN. Yes, the guy who went toe to toe with The Fantastic Four’s Thing and other powerhouses in Marvel Comics comic books is the eye-candy client in distress needing help to track down a kid; and what were the odds that Jessica Jones would fall in love with Luke Cage the husband of the woman she killed? Pretty much in her favor in a poorly written plot. Cage himself didn’t play that much of a part in this series. This was not the way to introduce Cage to the world; he should have premiered on the upcoming Iron Fist Netflix series as a rival on some mission and had a big fight with Fist. It really bugged me because Cage is one of my three favorite Marvel Comics characters (the other two being Captain America and Prince Namor–who Marvel Comics killed off after 76 years. Thanks a lot Marvel!) I would have much preferred a Luke Cage/Iron Fist film set in the 1970s. It would have been perfect. A killer 1970s soundtrack, and a film paying homage to the martial art films and other genres of 70s movies with wit and humor. The dirty and run down look of 1970s Time Square in New York. With the eclectic Quentin Tarantino at the helm of the movie, or Robert Rodriguez with his grind house style of storytelling , either director would have done a fine job directing that type of film. Nope, I got Luke Cage as eye-candy for a chick-flick type of a streaming series on Netflix.
The fight scenes were pretty cheesy in comparison to the ones choreographed in the Daredevil series, which is the superior Marvel series on Netflix so far. Jones and Cage were mostly tossing bodies around like Lou Ferrigno’s Hulk did back in the 1970s. One hopes that the same stuntmen and choreographer on Daredevil will be utilized on Netflix’s Iron Fist, or at least professionals of the same caliber. This is a live action show; it’s not a play. There was dialogue, too much of it. Flashbacks were used but not for the most important part: there should have been a flashback or at least dialogue over the flashback as narration when Luke Cage was opening up to Jessica Jones about where he’s from and how he became “near indestructible”. It’s live-action: SHOW it, don’t TALK it. If I wanted talk I’d go watch a play at my local theatre; if you’re going to fight, FIGHT. If they didn’t want to show his origin on this show then they should have not used him. It’s an injustice to the fans of Cage and to those who are just learning who he is from watching this show.
The saving grace of this first season of Jessica Jones is Scottish actor David Tennant. The popular and critically acclaimed performer well known for his fantastic turn as the 10th Doctor of the BBC’s classic science fiction series Doctor Who. The thespian Tenant (hey, he performs regularly for the Royal Shakespeare Company for sooth’s sake) took on the role of the demented villain Kilgrave, a sinister, selfish master of mind control who can possess anyone, anytime, anywhere..even groups of people. A former love interest of Jones, whom she eventually kills (“Spoilers!” to quote Doctor Who). Yep, they went and killed off the most interesting character of the first season who is played by a great actor.
Jessica Jones is getting a second season. Hopefully she will exhibit less angst and less self hatred, and cut guys some slack. She probably won’t wear the superhero costume she wears in the comic books; her confidant showed it to her and Jones rejected it so it looks like her costume will remain blue jeans and black leather jacket– a Fonzie approved fashion if there ever was one.
Although rumors are rampant, the villain for season 2 has not been confirmed as of yet. It’ll be interesting to see where the character goes from here.