#MUFFApproved: Jessica Jones
Marvel’s Jessica Jones
Created by: Melissa Rosenberg
Starring: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Carrie-Anne Moss
Jessica Jones is the second in Netflix’s lineup of TV show adaptations of street level Marvel comic book characters and is the first product in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that was solely created by a woman! Melissa Rosenberg, whose previous writing work includes Birds of Prey and all of the movies in the Twilight Saga, brought the story to life and also served as the showrunner and writer of select episodes.
The show picks up one year after Jessica (Krysten Ritter) – who is “gifted” with super strength and endurance – escaped the abusive and mind-manipulating villain Killgrave, who is obsessed with either having Jessica to himself or destroying her life. This sort of treatment of female characters in comic books, no matter their affiliation, is not uncommon. But Jessica Jones’ stellar writing and fantastic acting takes this terrible trope and bashes its head into a refrigerator (multiple times), rendering it unconscious! The portrayal of PTSD is uncomfortably accurate; we see it in Jessica’s aloof and often (er, always) abrasive personality, avoidance of people from her previous life, and her intense feelings of anger and fear. It is so rare and very refreshing to see this level of consideration about telling stories regarding survivors of abuse in TV and film.
Krysten Ritter’s portrayal of Jessica is absolutely amazing! She is everything I hope to see in an antihero—unconventional qualities and ideals wrapped in a solid understanding of what is universally right and wrong. Even when people see her as a hero, she's reluctant to accept that title. Jessica’s aversion to the idea of heroism contrasts with her adoptive sister/BFF’s, Trish “Patsy” Walker (Rachael Taylor), who wants to be a visible hero and help people. Jessica and Trish’s relationship is unlike anything I’ve seen in the MCU before; the Netflix/TV show medium allows their sisterhood to take shape through multiple episodes and compelling story arcs—not just one-off “Hey, remember when…” lines.
Many of the MCU movies and shows have taken creative liberties with their characters to make them more “universal.” Jessica Jones amazingly went a step further and gender-swapped a male character from the comic. Jeri Hogarth, brilliantly played by Carrie-Anne Moss, is a tough lawyer with a selfish, cut-throat work ethic and no-nonsense attitude. In the comics, Hogarth is closely tied to Iron Fist (another Marvel character with a Netflix series in the works), so here’s hoping we’ll see more of her!
Even with its ties to the MCU, Jessica Jones is a true stand alone piece with great female characters and a kick ass message of being your own person and standing up for what you believe in.
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