'Marvel's Jessica Jones' Is a Triumph of Small Gestures 

click to enlarge Krysten Ritter as our combustible heroine - NETFLIX
  • Netflix
  • Krysten Ritter as our combustible heroine

Netflix's most recent series, Marvel's Jessica Jones, which is based off of the Marvel comic Alias, is perhaps most inspiring for what it doesn't do. That is, the cliched plots, scenarios and characters of many modern superhero tales. It may be a small gesture to cast a woman with a petite, understated physique, but the casting of Krysten Ritter is a welcome relief to the comically (pun intended) bulbous, juvenile wet dreams that function as the typical female superhero. Consider, if you are unfamiliar with the Jessica Rabbits that pass as the comic book status quo, Scarlett Johansson as "Black Widow" (The Avengers), Halle Berry as "Storm" or Rebecca Romijn as "Mystique" (X-Men), whose curves even pale in comparison to the over-exaggerated 44-nothing-36 dimensions that have ruled the illustrated page for decades.

Beside the simple dismissal of Jones being cast as a '90s Baywatch caricature, her actual superpowers (flying, superhuman strength) are further empowering when in the possession of a woman that is so slender and superficially unassuming. This, along with the appreciation of the complete series as the medium, as opposed to episodic installations that function on their own, is what aids in making Jessica Jones its own entity. You won't be hooked after the first episode. Or, at least I wasn't. The season operates as one unit, and rewards those with the patience to treat it as such, which in this age of TV binging may be as bad as it is good, but nevertheless, is not tailored to the short of attention.

click to enlarge David Tennant as Jessica Jone's menacing archnemesis Kilgrave. - NETFLIX
  • Netflix
  • David Tennant as Jessica Jone's menacing archnemesis Kilgrave.

The personalities and representations throughout the series are also rewarding. Though they could possibly be seen as tokenisms, the casting of a black man (Mike Colter) as Jones' primary love interest, the prominent role of a lesbian, and the casual treatment of the social, racial and sexual disparities of the characters is not only refreshing in this specific series (the comic and the show), but a rewarding, recurring staple of many Netflix productions. They don't harp on the interracial status of the duo or the orientation of Carrie-Anne Moss as a gay woman, beyond being typical adult relationships. Of course, visibility and representation in the media is an incredibly important dialogue, but Netflix broaches it frequently and it's nice to be treated like an adult that doesn't need over-sentimentalized "The More You Know" affectation in a storyline that isn't specifically intent on working out the intricacies of modern American Other-ing.

The 13-part series stays true to its original comic format, working as chapters in a greater collection rather than portioned units of entertainment for the fickle, anxious viewer. In doing this, it avoids hurried sensationalism and champions committed cooperation, which, after all, is the superhero's true aim for humanity, is it not?

All 13 episodes of Marvel's Jessica Jones are currently streaming on Netflix.


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