Jessica Jones isn’t just the best Marvel show on Netflix, it’s the best live-action superhero show out there. Don’t think so? We’ve got 5 reasons it is.
Marvel has gone in decidedly different directions with their TV shows and their movies.
Their movies are aimed at PG-13 audiences in the hopes of filling as many seats and selling as many toys and comics as they can, Perhaps a necessary evil of the modern world and filmmaking, or at least one where every movie is an effects driven blockbuster with a minimum budget of $140 million.
But Marvel has done something wildly unique (and risky) with their television shows, or at least the two Netflix ones we’ve gotten so far. They’ve been aimed at a mature audience, and their material is clearly more adult oriented than their films. And we’re not just talking about sex, cussing, and violence, although the shows have at times pushed beyond early teen audiences in each of those areas. We’re talking about thematic material as well – tackling complex and messy issues in a way that appreciates their nuance, a rare enough thing in television-at-large, much less a pair of superhero shows.
But between Daredevil (which was a stellar show) and now the daring and genre-defying Jessica Jones, Marvel has proven that even when they cater to an older audience (i.e NOT children) they can still hit the ball clear out of the park. Jessica Jones is Marvel’s best show yet, just when the world seemed so ready to hate it because they had no idea who she was. Maybe that is the reason she works so well. Because no one saw this coming, and it is like nothing else out there.
So without further ado, here are the top 5 reasons Jessica Jones isn’t just Marvel’s best show yet, it’s the best superhero show anywhere on TV.
5. Maturity = Better Storylines
Let’s take a minute to talk about Marvel’s movies, shall we? There is a guy (or group of guys and a girl) with powers. Something evil is coming in from another planet/multiverse/solar system. It is then up to our singular hero (or group of heroes) to try and stop this invasion and keep the (insert strange word for space maguffin here) safe. That is it. Every movie. Keep in mind, they work and they’re fun, but from Thor to the most recent Avengers, they are all the same movie. This has a great deal to do with cross promotion and wanting to get teens to fill the seats and buy the comic books.
But something amazing happens when they stop that pandering. They get material like Jessica Jones. A storyline about a woman who has “super powers,” yet chooses to utilize them on a very limited scope and spends more time doing detective work and trying to escape her tormented past.
This leads us to the next reason the show is so spectacular.
4. It’s About Survival and Courage in the Face of Tragedy
Jessica Jones was held captive by a man named Kilgrave, and he can get people to do whatever he wants. He essentially is like a Jedi in the sense that anything he tells people to do they will do. But he is more like a Sith in the sense that what he often tells people to do is not very nice and not very legal and not very safe.
The show uses Kilgrave to tell an intensely personal, psychologically engaging story about a women who has held captive and mentally and physically abused. That is what makes the character of Jessica Jones so important in a world filled with people wearing spandex and flying. SHE FEELS REAL.
Throughout the entire run of the first season you see her use her powers only a handful of times. This show is not about that. It is about a woman learning to cope with and overcome terrible things that happened to her, while also making sure those same things do not befall others. Now THAT is some real superhero s***!
3. Marvel’s Best Hero is Female
Anyone who has been keeping an eye on the Marvel universe (as in, the comics) knows that there has been a lot of gender flipping lately in the rebirth of some of its superheroes. Thor, for example, is now female. Where there is nothing wrong with that, and efforts towards inclusivity should be applauded, some say it feels very forced.
Jessica Jones is not a result of this recent change. She has been existing in many forms in the Marvel U for some time now. And what a refreshing kick in the pants it must be to sexists and misogynists that Marvel’s best character committed to film yet ends up being a fairly normal female. No superhero suit. Not running from rooftop to rooftop to catch burglars.
She is a hard drinking, hard screwing detective who is trying to overcome a dark past so that she can actually have a future. It is a VERY brave story to tell in terms of comic books. And one that is working far better on Netflix than any of us had anticipated. That is what makes it even BETTER. It is kicking all of our asses and none of us saw this coming. I love the Marvel U (comics and all) and even I underestimated this beast of a show.
2. Kilgrave is the Best Bad Guy on TV Right Now
TV is chock full of awesome villains right now, and with Negan about to introduced on The Walking Dead, bad guys have a strong presence right now on TV. But former Dr. Who David Tenant as mind manipulator Kilgrave has to be one of the most startling and imposing bad guys that has graced TV since Gus Fring on Breaking Bad and Joffrey on Game of Thrones. He is a man who has the power to tell anyone in the world to do anything and they will do it.
Now imagine what happens when this man takes a liking to a woman. She is in store for some dark shit, huh? Well, that is what we know of Killgrave and Jessica from before the show. The show opens with her having escaped him (and thinking him dead) only to find out he is still alive, still has his power, and is very much obsessed with her.
What people new to this show and universe do not know is that, though he is the purple man on the show (in the sense that is all he wears and the main color he surrounds himself with) in the book, he IS purple. Though changing him from purple to a man who wears purple seems a small move, it is just what was needed for the character to work in the TV format. A literally purple man would’ve felt too alien for many viewers to relate. But he retains his cool, purple energy from the book and does so without having to look like a grape himself.
And to anyone who thinks someone who played Dr. Who can’t be scary, just watch the show. There is a Hannibal level of coolness to him, maybe even especially when he’s just playing psychological games without using his powers, and that is always scarier than the person who is outwardly foaming at the mouth.
1. Setting Up Next Leg of Marvel Universe
Okay, so remember that first episode when Jessica hooked up with Luke Cage? Well, did you know Luke Cage is next in line for Netflix show? Yes, and at one point he pairs off with a white ninja dude named Iron Fist. Guess who else is getting a Netflix show?
Also, next season The Punisher will be showing up in Daredevil along with Elektra. Do the math. That is at least six new, big name heroes, plus you add the bad guys from each of those stories. These are ALL characters who will be crossing over into the cinematic Marvel universe, kids. Marvel played it slick, huh?
You see, the Civil War storyline coming next sets up the huge war between the heroes which will, in turn, set up some heroes to fall and some new heroes to rise. While we may all think things will stay the same for the Marvel universe we know and love, such is not the case. Things are about to get a little crazy, and it is Jessica Jones (Best Marvel Show) and Daredevil and the other soon to be arriving Netflix Marvel shows that are setting all that up. It is for that reason, among the many others listed here, why Jessica Jones is Marvel’s best show and overall best character yet.
Now they just need to get their movies to this level of good. (Hint, stop pandering to teens. They did not grow up on your comics. The kids who did are now adults. Pander to us!)