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*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.
Alright, it’s been a couple weeks since Jessica Jones was released on Netflix so hopefully this won’t be a spoiler blog post for those who haven’t watched it yet. I try not to be a spoiler but if you haven’t seen it then maybe don’t read this yet! You can always save it for later, post-viewing.
That being said let’s talk about Jessica Jones and why it is so important to the television landscape. It’s not just because it’s centered around a female character (that, in and of itself is a miracle at a time when we have two other female-centered shows in Supergirl and Agent Carter), it’s about the fact that it’s not all lightness and humor. It’s about a woman who was kidnapped, raped and abused for years by a man and who came out the other side to try and live a normal life (well, within the confines of also being a superhero). As with all things, life has a different plan for Jessica and she quickly finds out that her abuser is alive and stalking her through other people.
It’s a brutal premise and it’s beautifully executed by the folks at Netflix. Jessica isn’t treated like a damaged, fragile creature. She’s treated as a human being who has been through absolute Hell and who just wants to move on. Jessica has flaws, lots of them. She’s snarky, has a bad drinking habit and she distances herself from other people because she fears what might happen to them because of her past pain. She’s messed up and I absolutely love her for it.
So I get understandably frustrated when I see people comparing Jessica Jones to Daredevil. These are not the same shows folks. These are VERY different shows. Just because they live in the same Marvelverse as one another does not mean they are the same thing. Where Daredevil was more carefree and action-oriented, Jessica Jones is a character study about living with abuse. Where Daredevil is the origin of a superhero in the making, Jessica Jones is about a woman who doesn’t want anyone to know about her abilities and even more than that, she doesn’t even really want to be a hero to anyone. She simply wants to do her job, drink her booze and get through each day.
On the other hand, I get it, of course you’re going to compare one superhero show to another. We do it all the time with the Avengers movies versus the Superman movies and things like that because they do exists in the same Marvelverse with one another but I am hard-pressed to say that one is better than the other simply because they are both so very different from one another. They share a common darkness but where Daredevil goes around saving people and beating up the bad guys, Jessica Jones turns her back and wants to run away from the man who abused her for so long. In fact, we aren’t even sure if she is going to go after him until, ultimately, she has no other choice.
Let’s talk about her abuser, her captor, Kilgrave. A name that gets some fun jokes near the end of the season but those jokes do not lesson the horrific nature of Kilgrave’s power. The man can literally make you do things you don’t want to do. Add to that that he is played by the fantastic David Tennant and you have a match made in villain heaven. When he’s on screen (and even when you only hear him obsessively saying Jessica Jones over and over again) he oozes creepy vibes. He makes your skin crawl and you want Jessica to beat him to a pulp so badly it hurts! This man cannot be trusted and he must be stopped but it’s also totally understandable as to why Jessica has such a hard time being near him. Wouldn’t you if this man kidnapped you and forced you to do horrible, demeaning things? Forced you to have sex against your will? He makes my skin crawl even as I type this. This is the kind of superpower that should never exist.
Now, I’m a fan of the gritty superhero movie. I have loved all of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies and am enjoying the world Zach Snyder has created in Superman, but I also enjoy the lighter flicks like the Joss Whedon-helmed Avengers movies. I can go either way as long as the show or movie is well written and directed and acted. Jessica Jones is all these things and more. It’s gritty and has dark humor, it’s got sex and violence and a lot of heart to it. What I love most about it is the fact that it’s not about someone trying to do right, it’s simply about a woman trying to survive her trauma and make some kind of a life for herself.
I sure hope that Jessica Jones gets a Season 2 and I look forward to all the other superhero shows helmed by female characters that will be coming our way and that exist in our world today. It may be baby steps, but we are making progress people. Now, if only we can get those Black Widow, Princess Leia, etc action figures things will really be smoking!
What did you think of Jessica Jones? Good, bad, ugly?
Tell me YOUR thoughts in the comments!