Wednesday, May 27, 2015

AKA Jessica Jones Might Not Be The Marvel Show We Wanted, But Could Be The Marvel Show We Need

Later this year Marvel will be premiering AKA Jessica Jones on Netflix.  The show will be about a former super hero who opens a private investigation firm.  She deals in cases involving other people with powers.  She will also be the second female lead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the first one with powers.

No one I know was calling for a Jessica Jones show.  Alias, the book the show is based on, was excellent.  But it was not a big seller.  Everyone was focused on Agent Carter and Black Widow.  The calls for a Black Widow movie were coming fast and furiously.  Agent Carter has been renewed for a second season, but it appears Black Widow is going to continue as a supporting character in other heroes' movies.  Instead we are getting Jessica Jones on Netflix.  I think this was the right move.

Alias was a darker book that was published under Marvel's short lived mature line, MAX. It showed the seedier side of the Marvel Universe, and acknowledged the sexuality of the characters as in the very controversial anal sex scene with Jessica and Luke Cage.  The lead character smoked cigarettes and cursed.  It was a long way from Spiderman, that's for sure.  There is no way this story could be told in the family friendly MCU without being watered down beyond recognition.

Then Daredevil hit Netflix.  Darker in tone, more serious, more bloody, more intense.  This show proved that on Netflix at least, Marvel was willing to make a more mature show.  Now suddenly it appeared Jessica Jones might be done justice.  I don't expect to see a recreation of the anal sex scene. But the tone of the show, the violence and more mature subject matter might make it mostly intact.  Jessica suffers from PTSD, which has a chance of getting a fuller and more serious exploration than it got in Iron Man 3.  Dark conspiracies will be investigated.  In short, we will get to see a more fully realized female lead than we are likely to get in a feature film.

Black Widow would have been little more than an ass kicking sex kitten.  It would be a fun movie, don't get me wrong.  But we are going to get a more realistic character, and get to see more of the consequences of the events that she lives through. They can explore aspects of being a female super hero that the movies cannot without getting away from their core audience.  Jessica Jones has the potential to be a more satisfying show than a Black Widow film could ever hope to be.  This is a development that could bring a lot of needed depth to the MCU.

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