First Impressions: Jessica Jones
After the incredible success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the wildly successful Netflix Original Daredevil, Jessica Jones was announced shortly after. Being a much bigger D.C. Comics fan than Marvel, I had no idea who this character was. Such a plain name, no secret identity, and the character was not Moon Knight or Luke Cage so I was already disappointed. Trailers were released as time went on that revealed more about this mystery woman. Her powers gave her incredible strength, better than average agility, and enhanced endurance. It was intriguing to say the least and a refreshing change from lesser powerful shows that have already been released regarding S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter. Not to mention her villain, Purple Man, has the ability of mind control.
Unfortunately, I fell off the bandwagon as the release date approached due to stress, a break up, figuring out how to manage moving into a new place, and eventually succumbing to sickness to the point of having to stay home from Thanksgiving (fun stuff!). Which leads me to this very moment in time, I just found out Jessica Jones hit Netflix earlier than I expected and immediately binge watched as many episodes as I could until I was able to write this first impressions piece on it. I am over the moon with excitement over just how incredible this show is, before I ramble, let’s break this bad boy up into segments!
Jessica Jones And Friends
Let’s tackle who and what Jessica Jones is from the point of view of someone who walked into the series knowing absolutely nothing about her. The main character of this show is gifted, as we mentioned previously, with enhanced abilities. It is hinted that she had a past before the series began that was polar opposite to what we are shown but what we know for a fact is that she is a private investigator helping suspicious spouses discover the truth about their lustful significant others.
She limits herself to only using her powers when she needs to. She never flaunts it, always gives excuses for it, and thinks of herself no better than others. The series begins not with her origin story but with a very damaged and broken Jessica who reverts to drinking heavily in order to quiet her many demons. She acts out with sass and irritation on her very few allies who all hold her at arm’s length. Without giving any spoilers away, every person she is pissed off at rightfully deserves it in some form and her attitude changes when their own actions do.
When it comes to the side characters we encounter a homeless, yet harmless man who always seems to comes back to Jessica in his deepest of binges. As well as her noisy upstairs neighbors, her best friend who attempts to assist her in any way she can despite being constantly pushed away. Then meet her ally of convenience which is one of the best lawyers in Hell’s Kitchen, and of course Luke friggin’ Cage who is the lawful good hero trying his best to help out in anyway he can short of using his powers.
Which brings me to my next topic…
One aspect of Jessica Jones that I am greatly enjoying is the fact there are super powers in the show and they are used appropriately. Although you have
Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Purple Man, their powers are shown for less than five minutes in each episode. Now to comic book fans you, just as I did at first, might be turned off by this news but trust me the show pulls this off extremely well. Jessica Jones is a street hero working as a Private Investigator so already she has a position that requires cunning, a gift she had to develop and earn rather than just come upon.
The world is post Avengers 1 and mention the invasion of Aliens opens their mind to the possibility of others powered people but the majority of the populace remains ignorant to the thought of their neighbors being enhanced. Because of this, both Luke Cage and Jessica Jones hide their powers unless threatened. Typically in these shows viewers get used to the fact that the main character is so powerful they can take down any threat they come across which becomes boring fast (despite this, I still watched Smallville until season 5!). This is not the case at all with Jessica Jones due to the fact that it’s far more of a mystery and you fear not for the heroine but for every single character that is not in the same room with her. Although her allies are strong in their own rights, they are nothing more than human beings, vulnerable to Purple Man’s Influence or the weapons used by those he controls.
The plot is easy enough to comprehend as Jessica was wronged by the Purple Man in the past. This sent her into a depression and now that he has began his twisted games again, she decides to face her fears and take him down. Although the overall storyline is awesome, it is pretty cliche when it comes to superheroes. However, the B and C plots are just as, if not more entertaining as the A plot. We have a recent victim of Purple Man on trial for a crime she was forced to do whose trial depends solely on Jessica’s reluctant allies that she must bend over backwards to keep content. Then the personal favorite of mine, the romantic plot.
I’m normally a sucker when it comes to romance and superhero shows but this is an exceptionally great one due to Jessica being so reserved, damaged, and protective of her friends. Despite her finally finding someone she has multiple things in common and she can be herself with, she sabotages the relationship in fear of any negative consequences occurring, be they physical harm or emotional suffering. It makes me yearn for her to return to her partner while understanding why she is made her decisions.
While being a mystery, each episode has a good bit of action. It may be far less than Daredevil but that is quite alright because they make up for it with unexpected fight scenes that are both brutal and fair. Again, most fights that involve Jessica are one sided but when her side characters have to defend themselves you’ll be on the edge of your seat because you know they are fragile. Even the fight scenes with Jessica Jones are still enjoyable as seeing some jerk badmouth her only to receive a fist to the fist that sends him flying across the room, wondering just what happened never gets old. Never.
The Purple Man is a son-of-a-bitch and every episode reinforces this fact without being over bearing. The information you have on the world comes mainly from Jessica’s immediate area so the viewer will commonly go forty minutes without hearing or seeing the villain other than flashbacks. Then when you do see him it has the impact of meeting the devil. Her deep rooted fear of him and his powers is justified time and again, which drives her to fight harder while she also know that he is just as terrible as she knew he was. Slowly but surely every character in the story acknowledges not only his existence, but also his raw power and takes on a healthy fear of him.
Jessica Jones has completely surpassed every expectation I had from who she was, her abilities, how Netflix would handle the series and so on. My only real gripe is that they never cross reference any of Daredevil’s major actions despite being in Hell’s Kitchen. I was slightly bummed, but I could understand. If the future Marvel shows on Netflix are this entertaining then you can expect them to quickly dominate all other super hero shows on television at the moment.
Did you binge watch Jessica Jones? What did you think? Comment below!