Monday, March 14, 2016

Jessica Jones (Addendum)

My main review still holds true.

"You don't want to watch? Fine."
Just took the time to finish watching the last couple episodes of the Jessica Jones series on Netflix. Excellent. Ends on a perfect note. The last two episodes are great, and are as tough to watch as the earlier stuff (though for more gruesome reasons). Very clever, very well done.

I see now the reasons for the inclusion of IGH (as a set-up for the following season). Still dissatisfied that this ended up involving the Simpson character (too much coincidence)...but from a filmmaking perspective it just "tightens the strings." Part of the problem with shows that involve large ensembles (take Lost as an example) is you end up with a lot of loose ends flapping in the breeze...which might be "realistic" (in the real world sense) but perhaps unsatisfying to the paying audience who wants to see everything resolved.

On the other hand, the wife and I just finished watching the series finale of Downton Abbey last week, and the ending held exactly zero surprises...everything, more or less, perfectly resolving the way folks would like it to resolve. Which is fine, because, in the end Downton Abbey is a feel-good drama, a type of show that you don't really see (it doesn't usually make for compelling television).

Jessica Jones is not "feel good," and it would have felt wrong to end on a 100% positive, upbeat note. The last shot is a great one...I'm not sure if this brand of darkness really fits with the Marvel milieu, but it sure as hell is great television. As I was saying the other day, these comic-to-screen adaptations don't have to be cannon. What the show's creators have done with the Jones property is pretty amazing.

Sweet Christmas.
And the adjustments they've made to Luke Cage are fantastic, too...Michael Colter's portrayal gives us a much more interesting, nuanced character than the caricature that was too often on display in comics and animation (though I haven't read any of his recent stories...like any of the New Avengers stuff...so it's possible I've missed a lot of character development). Most of what I've liked about Cage in the past is his interaction with Danny Rand, the way the two complement each other. But the interaction between Cage and Jones is even better, bringing out additional layers I've never seen in the comics. It's much more interesting (to me) than the usual romantic relationships in action-dramas...or even your average romantic-comedy, come to think of it.

[I say "interaction" not "chemistry," as the latter doesn't seem to really be there. However, I'm not sure how much of that is by design...Jessica Jones, as written for the show, is not the type of person to easily have chemistry. And Cage has always been a hard-case...the unbreakable skin has been a metaphor for his personality for much of the character's existence]

So, it was good. Good enough that the series as a whole easily makes my Top Ten list of live-action Marvel fare. That's not hyperbole, just by the way...I actually went through the current list of live action Marvel films and television series to make sure. My current list (solely based on alphabetical order):

  1. Ant-Man
  2. Captain America: The First Avenger
  3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  4. Daredevil (the Netflix series)
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy
  6. Incredible Hulk (the Ed Norton film)
  7. Iron Man
  8. Jessica Jones
  9. Spiderman 2 (the Alfred Molina/Doc Ock film)
  10. X2: X-Men United (that's the second film)

I mean, I like the Avengers films an awful lot...they probably fall just outside of my Top 10, and the films listed aren't without their warts. In fact, a couple of 'em may not even be great cinema...but each of them has something special that (for me) distinguishes it. A really awesome villain for example (Alfred Molina, Tim Roth), or a fun and playful version of a traditional protagonist (Ant-Man, Iron Man, Star Lord) or jut a damn good marathon of storytelling (Daredevil and Jessica Jones).

[actually, just looking over the list I see that all of these films have great antagonists. I'm a villain guy, I guess...it's the Dungeon Master in me]

Okay, that's it. Time to do some chores (including some work on the book).

4 comments:

  1. I liked the series overall, but it did get sluggish and felt monotone at times. I'm looking forward to see what they do with Luke Cage.

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    1. Isn't that kind of "noir?"

      Both Jones and Daredevil had a darker tone than the rather snappy DC offerings (Flash and Supergirl). Even Arrow, while "dark," has dudes in brightly colored costumes. Marvel seems to be going for something different...and pacing is part of that.

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  2. Honestly, I loved JJ. That's all.

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    1. @ Nathan:

      Did you have any prior experience with the character (i.e. in comics?). Just wondering.

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