By Kelly and Shelby
Jessica Jones is a pretty far cry from what we tend to think of when we hear “chick flick,” but in a way it’s one of the most important films or TV shows for women in recent memory. Why? Because it marks the first time Marvel has fully committed to a female superhero, and instead of feeling forced or superfluous, it’s spectacular.
Designed as a TV show for binge consumption (meaning it was a Netflix original, rather than an ordinary television program), Jessica Jones is the second of at least five planned collaborations between Marvel and Netflix. The show stars Krysten Ritter—the dark and mysterious young actress best known as Jane from Breaking Bad—in the title role. Jessica Jones is an independent private eye who has superpowers (specifically super strength and a jumping ability that approximates flight), but she decided against the life of a superhero. Aware of the Avengers and the fact that other superheroes are out there, Jones prefers a quieter life in which she uses her powers only when she needs to. However, when a horrifying villain capable of mind control (Kilgrave, played to perfection by David Tennant) reenters her life after previously traumatizing her, she’s forced to go on a superhero crusade to bring him down.
As a superhero show, Jessica Jones is refreshingly grounded (as was Daredevil before it), consisting largely of a one-on-one duel between hero and villain, and wonderfully devoid of cosmic consequences or the destruction of entire cities. But even more appealing is the show’s status as a drama, which the New Yorker’s review described as “distinctly adult, an allegory that is unafraid of ugliness.” Indeed, this show wows not with its costumes, special effects, or scope, but with its willingness if not determination to embrace adult themes. There is blood, sex, drug abuse, and outright murder, and not a moment of it feels forced.
As for its function in the greater scheme of Marvel cinematic content, Jessica Jones was a fascinating introduction for two popular characters that will lead to much more content. Of course, Jones is the first of them, but the series also brought Luke Cage into the fold, played by Mike Colter. He was previously a non-factor in 21st century Marvel entertainment, though his presence in the show was long rumored and, predictably, he appeared in Marvel mobile games on the eve of the show’s launch. Now he’s a full-fledged character getting his own show as a follow-up to Jessica Jones (as well as potentially participating in any subsequent seasons of Jessica Jones), and he’ll also be a part of “The Defenders,” which will be an Avengers-esque collaboration of Marvel/Netflix heroes. But given the amount of new material being added to the second season of “Daredevil,” fans will now eagerly be awaiting news on a release date and/or new characters for the second season of “Jessica Jones.”
Daredevil, incidentally, will drop its second season this spring, and will be introducing two more major characters that have essentially been left out of the cinematic universe thus far. The Punisher (to be played by Jon Bernthal) will enter the series after failing to take off in a few different films over the years (the last of which was loosely connected to Marvel Studios). Meanwhile, Elektra, who was the subject of a 2005 film by 20th Century Fox, will also be brought on board and played by Elodie Yung. Elektra may be the more familiar of the two for fans, having featured alongside Daredevil among Betfair’s themed slot machines for some time now in addition to appearing in the 2005 film. Even aside from the slot game, Elektra has also been connected to numerous Marvel games like the ones Luke Cage landed in just prior to his introduction in “Jessica Jones.”
Given all of that, the most intriguing aspect of Jessica Jones might just be where it’s going, rather than how good it was. Fans will be speculating about which Marvel characters might be introduced through any subsequent series, and there are some juicy possibilities. Both Blade and Ghost Rider now belong to Marvel again (in terms of their licensing agreements), and while neither are traditionally connected to Jessica Jones in comics, the Netflix collaborations could allow Marvel to bring them on board without making feature films for them. It’s worth noting that they, too, appear on Betfair’s site. Meanwhile, Iron Fist (who’s also known to be getting a show) and Captain Marvel (who was originally rumored to be part of Jessica Jones) could both appear.
We’ll find out in the next year or two just how much this show will expand, but in the meantime we know one thing for sure: Jessica Jones has finally delivered the female hero we’ve been waiting for, and the show is every bit as impressive as any Marvel film or show to date.
Maggie Pridgen is a free-lance writer out of Asheville, NC. She enjoys cooking, watching movies while cozied up at home, and skiing. She hopes to get out and explore more of the U.S in the upcoming 2016 year. We here at Chickster love Jessica Jones too. Let us know what you think of the series in the comments!