Since the superhero movie came into prominence with films such as “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man” there has been a push to make the heroes that were once godly, more human. Give them flaws, and make the movies more gritty and realistic. Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy did that, and Marvel for the most part still made their superhero movies light-hearted, at least when compared to the Batman movies.
As more movies were made, especially by Marvel, they started to combine genres. “The Winter Soldier” was part superhero and part political thriller, but it was still family friendly. Then, Netflix teamed up with Marvel and made “Daredevil.”
Similar to the comics about the character, the “Daredevil” show was dark, gritty and met with very high praise. However, “Daredevil” was the start of something bigger: a street level hero project similar to The Avengers. The second show was released one week before Thanksgiving, called “Jessica Jones.”
“Jessica Jones,” like “Daredevil,” is very dark. However, unlike “Daredevil,” it is even more adult. This tone is because the show is about a former superhero who decides to quit the hero business because of her dark and broken past.
Jones becomes a private investigator so that she can still help people. The fact that she is a private investigator lends the series (13 episodes in all) to being part superhero and part noir. Just like the private investigators in classic film noir stories, and even some modern ones. Jones is a hard-drinking loner, who makes wise-cracks at inappropriate moments. The story begins with her taking a case that soon begins to involve the person that broke her in the past. Jones not only hides a dark past from those around her, but also suffers from PTSD, a result of her traumatic past. This plays an important role in her journey to find answers.
Krysten Ritter plays Jones. She not only excels at showing Jones’ witty, hard-drinking side, but her broken side as well. As Jones deals with the case, and the reemergence of her enemy, her past comes back to haunt her and she is forced to deal with more than she can handle. Through it all, Ritter manages to balance the tough exterior that Jones has created to hide the very broken individual.
The supporting cast of the show is not as strong as it was with “Daredevil,” but the cast is still very great. Besides Ritter, the standout performance definitely comes from “Doctor Who” alumni David Tennant.
Tennant plays Kilgrave, the villain for the season who has ties to Jones’ past. Unlike his counterpart in the comics, known as “Purple Man” who is a complete sociopath with no redeeming qualities, Tennant’s character Kilgrave is not played as someone who is completely irredeemable and fleshed out more than he is in the Alias comic series that the show is loosely based on.
The other supporting characters are portrayed with varying degrees of success. Mike Colter’s performance as Luke Cage, the next hero of Hell’s Kitchen to get a show and an important person in the life of Jones, was a disappointment, especially when he was in a scene with Ritter.
All of these things considered, Marvel hit this one out of the park. The show is full of emotion, mystery and style. With more focus on the characters and the effects that tragic events can have on a person’s life, Marvel has created a superhero show that even people who don’t like superheroes can enjoy. People who do like superheroes will enjoy the unique tone that is offered by the show.