The latest outing from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe arrived via Netflix not long ago, Jessica Jones, has one brilliant hero in Jessica (Krysten Ritter) facing off one of the best Marvel villains on screen, Kilgrave (David Tennant)
Jessica Jones follows – you guessed it – a woman called Jessica Jones. An alcohol, aggressive and with a flowing stream of witty sarcasm, she is the bad-ass female superhero Marvel has needed since it started it’s development of the MCU. Yes we have other women as superheroes – Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and more recently the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) yet they have been supporting roles to male superheroes and are most definitely bad-ass in their own way. Nevertheless this show, with a fully formed and extremely likeable female character is a refreshing outing from Marvel.
Though Jessica may not be the most feminine woman in her appearance – her wardrobe is full of grey sweaters, ripped jeans, motorcycle boots and a really cool leather jacket – she is a woman. She has ridiculous amounts of strength, and I don’t just mean her powers, and although she has a tendency to want to walk away, she will always go back and do the right thing. Or at least her version of the right thing. By being this tough and reluctant hero, it seems she has no soft side and has a constant pessimistic and stubborn view of life, but as the show develops, we see how caring she is, especially to Trish (Rachael Taylor) the only person she loves.
The few flashbacks we see, we know that this determination and strength was always a part of her, through adolescence, during her enslavement. The ‘origin’ of her power is only seen in flashback, different to other Marvel films and shows, this show is more the origin of being her becoming the hero. And to do that, she has to face the villain Kilgrave who is one of the best comic book adapted villains to watch – he is on par with the likes of Heath Ledger’s Joker and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in charisma, yet his power makes him so much more dangerous.
In the first few episodes, we are only shown glimpses of him or hear his voice. When he is revealed, it is quick to realise the horrific effects his power can have. Mind control. It sounds simple and almost like a gift, but when we see that he has to watch everything he says, having once told someone to go screw them self, Kilgrave becomes almost sympathetic. He has a obsessive love for Jessica, which drives him to take control over everything he can. He might not want everyone to kneel before him, but he does want to have everything happen the way he wants.
Like villains need to be, Kilgrave is very clever. Never having killed anyone himself, he is a hard man to pin down and prosecute. He instead makes his victims carry out the horrific deaths or suicides them-self. What I found interesting is how the majority of them are aware of what they are doing, and being told to do and the pain on the face shows how much they want to stop. In there lies Kilgrave’s worst characteristic – his total apathy in the fate of his victims. From seeing Tennant portray so well the heroic Doctor it is delightful to watch him get into such a delicious role as Kilgrave and show some of his best work.
Jessica Jones has one of the best matched hero/villain dynamics in Jessica and Kilgrave. The are both acutely aware of their strengths and weaknesses especially when it comes to each other. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the two battle it out and gain the higher ground over another. After only 13 episodes I am desperate to see more.