I have a friend who is a hot shot attorney and a huge fan of comic books. He’s also highly opinionated, and when I told him I had gone to see Batman v. Superman because it was the worst superhero movie ever made, he shook his head in disgust. “Wolverine Origins,” he said. “That’s the worst superhero movie ever made.”
I felt kind of sorry for him. He loves Wolverine.
So I didn’t ask him how he felt about Jessica Jones, one of the giant pantheon of Marvel characters who is emerging into the comic conversation not on the big screen but on Netflix, in 10 episode seasons you can stream all day long. Jessica Jones is a smart, wisecracking, edgy young woman with a nearly soulful fragility that occasionally peeks out from under her tough exterior. She came into her superpowers when she was in a car accident that killed her family and exposed her to some sort of chemical; months later she awoke from a coma with super strength and near invulnerability. And she could fly, sort of – she says it’s more like jumping.
The cool thing about Jessica Jones is that she quickly loses interest in the superhero gig. Turns out there are a bunch of Marvel characters who aren’t looking to hang with Tony Stark and the Avengers crew (oddly, they all seem to live in Hell’s Kitchen). These folks just want to be left alone, to lead their lives like regular folks, maybe getting the better of a bad guy now and then if they don’t have to go out of their way.
But you know how it is, trouble finds super people like this. So Jessica Jones, living a near Spartan existence in a gritty, film noir version of Hell’s Kitchen, crosses paths with an evil old lover who can get people to do things – even life threatening things – through simple voice commands. He and Jessica never had a real relationship, he just compelled her affections, but he is obsessed with getting her back. So he sets traps and terrorizes her loved ones and generally tries in a satisfyingly twisted way to force her into his arms again.
But Jessica isn’t having it.
The first season of the show is about this battle between the woman with super strength and the man with super persuasive powers. These are mismatched abilities, and overcoming her evil ex requires Jessica to use ingenuity, as well as courage and her amazing muscles. Krysten Ritter plays Jessica and she is terrific in the role; her opponent in season one, the evil Kilgrave is played by David Tennant, who nails his performance and apparently had a blast doing it too. Whether you like superhero stories or not, Jessica Jones is worth your while; it’s smart, funny, and thought provoking, and features one of the best female heroes currently playing on screens. Check it out.
Jeri: You’re coming across as paranoid.
Jessica: Everyone keeps saying that. It must be a conspiracy.
(A-Z Blogging Challenge: J is for Jessica. And Jones.)