Marvel and Netflix were made for each other. Marvel is really good at putting on a show with magic, effects and a strong sense of wonderment, while Netflix is brilliant at character studies, cliffhangers and binge-worthy content. Combine all these things and you get Marvel’s Jessica Jones: an edge-of-your-seat superhero thriller with beautifully complex characters and delicious interpersonal drama.
Jessica Jones feels like a slap in the face to Marvel’s regular business model and what it thinks its fans want to see. Krysten Ritter is perfect as the drinking, cussing, emotionally closed off private investigator. Her character feels far more developed and human than Captain America, Iron Man and rest of the Avengers, and it begs the question why, over almost eight years of pumping out superhero sagas, Marvel only had two female-led properties. There isn’t really an answer.
Another thing that the Marvel-Netflix dream team does best are villains. Daredevil’s Wilson Fisk was interesting, but Kilgrave is so much more sinister than anything else we’ve seen from the MCU. David Tennant seemed like a strange casting choice, but it’s now clear that it was also a stroke of genius. There’s something inherently likeable about Tennant, and it rubs off onto the character, but given Kilgrave’s nature, the effect is chilling. Towards the start of the series, when all we see if him are his silhouette and the back of his head, he’s a regular comic book baddie, ominous and power hungry. But once we get to know him, it appears to go a lot deeper than that. He’s not a Thanos or a Red Skull. He’s worse. He’s like a cross between someone that won’t stop Facebook messaging you and keeps insisting he’s a “nice guy” that will treat you right, and someone who follows you home and disembowels you in your own kitchen.
Stretching the story out over eleven hours as opposed to two-and-a-half also makes for a far better viewing experience; it gives the story a chance to work its way into your bloodstream. It really makes you feel for the characters, and results in your entire body clenching in suspense over the course of most of the series. Though it start off a little slow, the drama gradually unravels and quickly becomes hard to stomach, but in a good way. Every episode makes you feel something, whether it be dread, disgust or an intense need to throw up.