‘Jessica Jones’ series review
By Idrian Burgos, Contributor
Jessica Jones is not about superheroes.
Although the protagonist, antagonist, and an important secondary character have superpowers, those superpowers only play a secondary role here. What differentiates Netflix’s Jessica Jones from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and serves as its own contribution to it, is the show’s basic humanity, both positive and negative.
The characters mostly make that distinction possible. There is the alcoholic, appalling detective Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), who is recovering from past misfortunes; the sadistic and psychopathic Kilgrave (David Tennant), who lives only for himself at others’ often-twisted expense; and the supporting characters who bring their own imperfections to the story and contribute to the show’s gritty and gloomy atmosphere.
The story itself helps to distinguish the show even more. In an effort to close a terrible chapter in her life, Jones attempts to prevent Kilgrave from continuing to wreak havoc on other people’s lives. This often goes disastrously. This is a story that doesn’t keep the gloves on as we see the kind of misery that Jones, those who support her, and innocent victims experience as a result of Kilgrave’s viciousness. It’s not just excessive, perverse gore that is the product of his viciousness, but perhaps more dangerously the mental effects that give despair to those afflicted.
While the previous Netflix series Daredevil introduced a more adult part of the MCU to us, Jessica Jones extends that adult aspect to arguably the farthest it can go. There is no restraint on sex, profanity, and violence here. Jones’ frequent resort to the bottle in order to deal with her problems is openly displayed. Moreover, the show deals with real-world, personal problems such as rape, PTSD, and other mental health issues, in what is probably a first for a superhero show.
Concerning the technical aspects, the regular use of lighting gives a somewhat sharper and sleeker appearance to the show compared to Daredevil’s dimness. The scene transitions are a superb example. The music and visual effects help in keeping the realistic, detective tone of the series.
Overall, Jessica Jones’ MCU contributions are its morally flawed story and characters. They are not businessmen or engineers like Tony Stark/Iron Man or super-soldiers like Steve Rogers/Captain America who aim to make the world a better place. They are ordinary people who try to survive, even when they have superpowers. They are the type of flawed individuals who viewers can relate to the most.