Saturday, October 24, 2015

JESSICA JONES is Sooper-Serious Business, Yo

I liked DAREDEVIL a lot, but I never really got onboard that it represented some kind of next-level evolution for the Marvel Universe brand.

Too much of the story felt stretched-thin between the "main" beats (why is the law practice so incidental to the series so far?) and I'm less inclined to see it's much-ballyhooed aesthetic and tone as the welcome "dark side" of the MCU and more like the eyeroll-inducing "stuck in the early-2000s" side. A good series, but mainly one that does the best possible version of stuff I'd thought the superhero genre had managed to otherwise outgrow: Unrelentingly grim, afraid of its own four-color shadow (Matt Murdock, in both his getups, is the worst-dressed superhero in Marvel not named Quicksilver), celelbrity-villain dependent (yes, D'Onofrio was magnificent all the same) etc.

But for what it was, it worked. But I'm wondering whether or not having this as the default-setting of the Netflix/DEFENDERS Marvel material is going to prove limiting. Case in point, the otherwise very good looking first full trailer for JESSICA JONES:

I'm feeling this (Krysten Ritter as a bitter hard-living superhuman detective? Good pitch) but not without reservation. For starters, it occurs to me that no one seems to have asked how Jessica's comic backstory (put-upon average girl gets super-powers by accident, tries to be a superheroine, suffers a horrible fate that jades her on the costumed life, becomes superhuman-problems-focused private eye instead) is going to "work" in an MCU where widespread superheroism is only a few years old. Will she have even ever been "Jewel" in this version (the next-to-last scheduled episode is title "Jewel & The Power Man," which reads like an intent to take the piss out of the idea of Jones and Luke Cage acting anything like their "super" selves) And, if not, doesn't that negate a lot of the "point" of the edginess i.e. "Here's what happens when the fantasy fails?"

I'm also wondering if making David Tennant's Zebediah "Purple Man" Killgrave apparently a central focus is a great idea. Yes, he's important in this mythos, but I hope they haven't looked at how much everyone loved Kingpin in DAREDEVIL and decided that building the narrative mainly around the villain is the way to go for all of these series. Also, yes, it bugs me that he's not purple - or maybe he is, and just mind-controlling everyone to not notice it? That'd be fun. And it'd be a nice surprise if Rachel Taylor's Patsy Walker turned out to already be Hellcat, but I'm not counting on it (ditto Marvel using this series as a surprise-introduction for Carol Danvers, who was part of this project back when it was pitching as a network show but doesn't seem to be now.)

In any case, the series hits in about a month so we won't have to wait long to find out.