It’s Monday, which means it’s another Mighty Marvel Monday!
This week: the spoiler-free Jessica Jones link roundup.
While we all await the WWAC review, here are a few others to mull over. (Disclaimer: Some of these links may contain spoilers.)
Edited To Add: At the time of publication I had yet to hear back from the creator of the spoiler-free trigger warning tumblr posts with timestamps and did not want to include them, but I have since heard back and been given permission to link to the posts. The post for rape/sexual assault is here, and the post for familial/domestic abuse is here. Many thanks again to the creator for this resource.
This review on The Atlantic is helpful for placing the show in terms of its relationships to the original source material of the comic, and the ABC show that it very nearly was, and how it compares to its brother show, Daredevil, especially when comparing the fight sequences.
I really enjoyed this review from The Verge and this passage in particular:
2015 is officially a banner year for female superheroes. Supergirl was a success because it embraced the fun that comes with being a comic book superhero. Jessica Jones succeeds because it embraces pain as something women triumph over, without ever needing rescue.
Comparisons to Supergirl are inevitable, but rather than pit these two shows at each other, the very nature of their divergent protagonists demonstrates the depth and range of female superheroes who were, up until this year, lacking. Supergirl and Jessica Jones are both necessary, if only to prove that women don’t have to all be cut from the same Trinity-shaped cloth.
This review from the L.A. Times pinpoints several of the ways in which this series excels, and how none of those ways are connected to superheroism in the traditional sense, or even in the traditional Marvel sense.
Variety’s review is similarly full of praise for the ways the show is not focused on being a superhero.
I was pleased to see this Chicago Tribune review actually moved past surface issues like genre and women as heroes/anti-heroes to ask about the implications Jessica Jones might have when it comes to how we as a culture talk about sexual assault, consent, and power. Kilgrave is the main antagonist in Jessica Jones, yes, but so is toxic masculinity, and it’s not only Kilgrave who demonstrates that.
Finally, this Daily Dot review points out how Jessica Jones is different in how it deals with mind control, which is something that we’ve already seen in the MCU: first in The Avengers with Loki and the scepter, and then again in Captain America: The Winter Soldier with the Winter Soldier himself.
It is the survivors’ story, the everywoman’s (and everyman’s) story in ways that reminded me most strongly of one of the comics that got me into Marvel – Marvels, by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross.
Jessica Jones is to the rest of the MCU as Marvels was the to rest of Marvel Comics at the time. It’s real, and it deals with the messy aftermath that the flashier titles skip over.
But it is not only the cast, the story, and the acting that makes Jessica Jones a success. Women were involved in the production. Melissa Rosenberg has been making the interviews rounds, and she, like her heroine, is not pulling any punches.
In this interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Rosenberg addresses how the show deals with rape without ever actually showing it happen onscreen:
For me, if I never see an actual rape on a screen again it’ll be too soon. It’s becoming ubiquitous, it’s become lazy storytelling and it’s always about the impact it has on the men around them. It’s like, “Oh his wife was raped and murdered so he’s going to go out and destroy the world.” That’s so often what it’s about, just this kind of de rigueur storytelling to spice up often male character.
It’s damaging. It’s just hideous messaging, and so coming into this, the events have already happened and this is really about the impact of rape on a person and about healing, survival, trauma and facing demons.
It was similarly refreshing to see Rosenberg’s response to this Deadline interviewer’s comment that she didn’t seem very optimistic about the “shift” in Hollywood to more leading women titles.
DEADLINE: You don’t sound overly optimistic…
ROSENBERG: I’m a little jaded about change actually happening, I’ll admit. The numbers are exactly the same as they were two decades ago, in terms of the number of female leads, or people behind the camera, all of that. I’ll certainly do my part, and I feel like Jessica Jones is a great step.
I will say though that I don’t know that Jessica Jones would have gotten on the air and got this positive response several years ago. Without the introduction of other characters, for instance like Mary Louis Parker in Weeds, or Nurse Jackie and Scandal. They really begin to slowly introduce the idea of a female character that is flawed, and morally ambiguous. Audiences are becoming a little more accepting of women in those roles. I think we’ve benefited from that.
Is Jessica Jones groundbreaking and good enough to persuade mainstream audiences and Hollywood that women’s stories are will telling? I think so. But there is still far to go on many other fronts in terms of representation. With Carrie-Ann Moss’s character, we finally get a substantial queer character, and a substantial queer character, but that’s one in the entire MCU. Several of the reviews and interviews mention Mike Colter’s Luke Cage, who is amazing and everything I needed him to be, especially in counterpoint with David Tennant’s Kilgrave, but we won’t be seeing him again probably for another year, since the second season of Daredevil is set to be released in the spring, in keeping with Netflix’s six month release schedule. And although the second season of Agent Carter is set to premiere in January, the question of how diverse this season will be is already being asked, and answered badly.
Diversity question notwithstanding, I am incredibly excited to see that the Agent Carter season two teaser trailer is out!
Obviously Peggy goes to Hollywood in order to be a supportive girlfriend for Angie, right? RIGHT?