Friday, November 20, 2015
#JustaQuickiePlease: Jessica Jones Review
The goal to make comic book movies more gritty and realistic, as if that is even possible, was unattainable up to the point of Netflix's first Marvel outing, Daredevil. Before that, DC tried unsuccessfully with its underwhelming Dark Knight Trilogy and miserably disappointing Superman reboot, The Man of Steel. But DC never could get the equation right; unable to mix the right amounts of edgy authenticity with its canon's fantasy. That has not been a problem for Marvel as they score big with its second Netflix installment, Jessica Jones. Unbelievably, creator Melissa Rosenberg, of Twilight shame, brings us the best female hero story that I have seen in my limited lifespan on this wonderful planet of ours. Another area where DC loses marks as their Supergirl series reduces all of its females leads to a high school special level of maturity and interaction. Instead, Rosenberg presents us with powerful female performances that reflect an actuality that’s difficult to dismiss. She takes some significant risks running the gambit of several archetypes with enormous rewards thanks to some inspired writing and skilled performances from a stellar cast. Marvel also respects its source material with near dogma at times, unlike DC, who seems to feel the established mythology is as flexible as Gumby in the heat wave; Ritter brings the bitter, jaded, alcoholic Jones to illustriously depressing and cynical life. Her portrayal is immediately convincing and you find yourself deeply conflicted at times as whether to curse her imperfections or root for her determination. Her hero role is complimented by a villain, played terrifyingly well, by Dr. Who alumni, Tennant; a hellish Ying to her damaged Yang. Daredevil was the first comic production to provide us with a carefully and effectively humanized baddie in D'Onofrio's ominously entertaining Kingpin. Jones ups the ante with a disturbingly endearing, outright demonic malefactor in Kilgrave; the most frightening Marvelesque evil doer to date, in my earnest opinion. Never have I been so conflicted in my observations of an individual who possess such definitive charm and yet exemplifies horrific abilities and absolute malice for life and others; the quintessential narcissistic sociopath. And why are his powers so viscerally frightening? Other deviants use brute force, technology, or magical ruses. Kilgrave's ability to strip any person of free will with a simple statement or command, possessing utter control over their actions and persona, most times leading to an abominable demise, is possibly the most distressing and destructive weapon that could be conceived. And Kilgrave revels in that dominance without remorse or hesitation. The remaining cast is just as masterful leaving permanent visual and emotional imprints with each of their scenes. Far darker and more intense than Daredevil; this is a brutal, in your face incarnation of the reluctant heroine paints its story in violence, gore, and an undeniable genuineness that can be tough to watch at times. It is laden with mature themes, so if you intend to have the younger set view it with you, which I highly recommend against, be prepared to field a myriad of questions you will be totally unprepared to answer. My only complaints; first it’s the gratuitous sex which adds nothing to the story and feels as clumsy and forced as a teenager who just found his daddy's stack of Playboys. Second; I am not a fan of the whole gray hero bit, where defenders are neither good nor evil but conflicted messes forced to justify every thought and action, even when it is clear to the audience that their methods and purposes serve a complete sense of logic. Finally; the whole idea that evil is more of a perception than actuality is tiresome and, with that rampant ideology seemingly contaminating every film of this type, it feels more like indoctrination than perspective. With all of that said, this is an extremely well-crafted series that features a totality of original and dynamic performances. 4 out of 5 Kernels: Where DC fails, Marvel once again succeeds.