It’s rare to find oneself thankful for being too sick to do anything, but that’s what my Friday ended up being like last week. Since I was a captive audience I decided to shotgun Netflix and Marvel Studio’s newly released first season of Jessica Jones, which I was really looking forward to based on how much I loved what the they had done with Daredevil earlier this year. But sadly, aside from being produced by the same studios and sharing continuity that’s where the similarities between the two shows end.
Where Daredevil succeeded in taking it’s time to tell the origin of the main character so we both understand his motivation and are cheering for him by the end, Jessica Jones fails by throwing us into the middle of a story then bouncing us back and forth via flashbacks so often that by the time we do know the backstory, it gets lost in the clutter of the numerous plot threads the writers felt compelled to pummel the audience with. Between being mired in unnecessary arcs for every character that appears on camera and the sex and violence being so over the top it bordered on gratuitous, I felt more like I was being assaulted than watching a show.
Which is really annoying considering how excited I was to see how the show was going to tackle the really difficult subject matter when it comes to the protagonist’s moral dilemma. Annoying because instead of creating empathy between the audience and Jessica the writers chose to spend most of that relationship building with the show’s villain Kilgrave to the point where he’s almost sympathetic. Whether that’s due to faulty writing or the producers getting the most for their acting buck isn’t clear, but given my other grievances with the writers I’m going to bet it’s the former.
But my biggest gripe with Jessica Jones is the same one I have with most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and that is instead of spending the time they have to tell a great story they instead waste so much of their screen time setting up bullshit for the next movie or series. They do this so much that they end up delivering a mediocre story in the process. Specifically I was irritated with how Rosario Dawson’s ‘Night Nurse’ got shoe-horned into the end in what felt like some of the most contrived writing of the series. Probably because it was.
I wanted to love this series for a number of reasons; the biggest being to reinforce the edgier side of storytelling in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and to bolster public awareness of one of my all-time favorite Marvel characters, Luke Cage, before he gets his own series next year. But ironically I ended up feeling cheated from getting a good show mostly because of those two elements, or rather the clumsy way in which the show handled them.
(Review courtesy of Fritz Striker and fritzstriker.com)