MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW
Get back here Jessica!!
And with that phrase, David Tenant (Kilgrave) showed the Marvel Universe how not to make a mess of a villain. We’ll get to him later, right now let’s focus on the leading lady of Marvel’s sandbox.
Jessica Jones is not the first leading lady of the Marvel Universe; that honour was earned by Hayley Atwell who played Peggy Carter in the 8-episode ABC run Agent Carter in January this year. You see, when this series was announced, I was very skeptical; after all over the past 3years there have been so many prequels, sequels and reboots in Hollywood so being narrow-minded was ill-timed.
I was blown away by Hayley Atwell’s performance and it was rightfully renewed for a second season which will air on January 19, 2016. Sadly Marvel hasn’t put out that much strong female characters in their universe.
This is not a piece on “who has been a good leading lady and who hasn’t” but rather how marvel can build upon the success of Jessica Jones and learn from the creative genius that is Melissa Rosenberg.
People would say “there is nothing much Jane foster could do, she’s a scientist”. I say horseshit; for crying out loud you have an Oscar winner in Natalie Portman, give her something better to do than being possessed by some red hoodoo voodoo infinity stone. I mean if a swan can possess her what else is left.
Just have a quick look at Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) and you’d immediately grasp what I’m saying. So far she hasn’t dawned her Hellcat persona, but even if the series won’t go by that route (I hope for season 2), you have a feeling they won’t need to. The kind of bond she has with Jessica is so authentic, both on and off screen. It’s beautiful to watch.
Scarlett Johansson has been in four MCU movies so far and is still yet to be properly used to her full potential. It’s really sad. So much to offer yet very little given.
I’d have to trackback to that rom-com with Mark Ruffalo in Age of Ultron. What was the point? why? Trish would die for Jessica in a heart beat, so would Eka Darville’s Malcolm and vice-versa. From the way that relationship sprouted out from nowhere, could you honestly say the same about Bruce and Natalia? I think not. Even if it happens, would you honestly be sold on that approach?
Eka Darville brought so much heart to his character. His days of morphing into the red ranger are long gone. He owns it and by the time you discover what Kilgrave did to him you’d absolutely break down. There was a line he gave in an episode “I like people too much”, very subtle yet with so much meaning and heart, it’s that kind of line that with the wrong direction and acting could come out as very awkward.
Krysten Ritter is blessed. She was great in Breaking Bad though brutally left for the dead by “…the one who knocks”. It’s the sort of performance you hope every female hero can emulate in the MU’s future. She was witty, badass, a smartass, loving, rude, a hero, an alcoholic and also a licensed P.I.
Her relationship with Mike Colter’s Luke Cage didn’t feel forced, rushed or you know…forced (Yes, I’m still pissed at the “Brucilia” relationship). One may say they weren’t even in a relationship; just two superheroes who knew each other’s secret, have superhero sex, kill one’s wife, shoot one in the head…true love conquers all.
When Luke asked Jessica if anyone knew about her abilities in AKA It’s Called Whiskey she casually said, “couple. I’m not hiding but I’m not advertising.” It’s such simplicity that makes for good television and also works in the world Melissa Rosenberg was building. We’ve seen it before, in both Marvel and DC where heroes are scared of what might happen if someone found out their identity, so they wear a pair of nerd glasses or fail gymnastics class in high school.
Back then when I played Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance 2 on PS3, and saw Luke Cage, I prayed to God that Mike Colter be cast in the role, if ever a Luke Cage movie came knocking. Thank God he was cast in the role, because he met every expectation I had. Hell, Jessica drank away her sorrows because he called her a piece of shit.
Jessica is Ms. Marvel. She’s the light that should guide female heroines in the Marvel Universe at least until Ms. Marvel herself appears in the MCU in 2019.
Carrie-Ann Moss rounds off the ‘trinity’ of blessed women in the series as the manipulative lawyer Jeri Hogarth. I’ll sum her up easily. First of all, she couldn’t get her ex to sign divorce papers, so she sent Jessica to get her to do it anyway she could, and that’s not a smart idea especially when Jessica is desperate. Secondly, her first plan didn’t work, so she let a murdering, psychopathic, man-child out of his cell to use his powers to do it. But she has a pass, because she’s Jeri Hogarth.
And Finally, Kilgrave. David Tennant brought out the evil in most viewers. Honestly, if you could bend the world to do your every command, would you really refuse that gift? The “compelling” bit has been done over and over again. But not in this manner. The direction the creators took has to be applauded and respected. You see previously when a villain, hero or even a vampire compels you, the victim tends to resist. But in Kilgrave’s case it’s almost as if it’s something you’ve been eager to do all your life and finally someone grants you a free pass. Like when he tried to gain sympathy from Jessica in AKA WWJD? and told her of how he told a man one time to “go screw himself” or when he told a guy to face the fence and never look back.
What Kilgrave did to Jessica was horrifying in every sense. To him, he deserves Jessica. There’s this bit of humanity in him that feels love because of her, something he never got from his parents. He became deluded in his forced romance to thinking Jessica would feel for him what he did for her and even when Jessica helps him use his powers for good, he still didn’t see the point of it all if Jessica wasn’t with him. He even bought Jessica’s old house when she was a kid before the accident, and remodelled it in the exact same manner, not missing a crack, or stuffed animal in hopes that she’ll get back to him.
Look when Daredevil was released earlier this year, Kingpin was already Marvel’s best Villain and I didn’t know how he’d be matched. Kilgrave has set the bar again for the MCU to emulate.
Netflix’s formula is working and working to perfection. Jessica Jones can only be matched by Daredevil and The Flash’s first season. Reverse Flash, in my opinion, is the only villain that can match Kilgrave where superpowers are concerned.
I really hope Jessica Jones gets the nomination and wins it deserves at the Emmy’s next year if not at least in the casting department.