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Posted November 30, 2015 by Ica Cheng in Movies/TV
 
 

Jessica Jones: A Darker Side to ‘Girl Power’

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Back in the 90’s the Spice Girls made it look easy, girls wanted to be them and boys wanted to be with them. They were beautiful, sexy wore short dresses and platform shoes and sang about ‘Girl Power’ in catchy pop tunes and everyone loved them for it, but in truth Girl Power is not all it’s cracked up to be.

It’s not easy being a heroine in a hero’s world. While there have been Superhero movies left and right, Wonder Woman is set to have her own feature film, over 70 years since her debut. In Marvel-Netflix’s current web series Jessica Jones we see a dark, compelling Anti-Heroine as she struggles to break free from a tormented past where she SPOILER is the victim of the villain Kilgrave (David Tennant), who uses mind control to make Jessica do his every bidding and with her super human strength – its not a very good equation.

The mind control is an obvious allegory on ‘rape’ and ‘abuse’ and unfortunately i these supposedly modern times, we still see the need for women’s help desks and rape whistles.

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While rape and abuse may not always be physical as evidenced by the series’ dark themes, most of its female characters struggle with some kind of violence and abuse which they try their best to control-

“No Marvel Studios property – not even Agent Carter has ever done that so effectively, and after months of seeing a character like Black Widow be sidelined by her male counterparts, this is a breath of fresh air” – Kwame Opam, The Verge.

I’ve always loved Krysten Ritter, ever since I first watched her on “Don’t Trust the B- in Apartment 23″ and it’s great to see her in a role that will challenge her acting prowess. Jessica comes off as someone who doesn’t not care but in reality, has a good heart and Ritter has this one in the bag.

Executive Produce and Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg has said about Ritter’s casting- ‘(she) brings both the hard edge and vulnerability the role demands.” In preparation for the role, Krysten Ritter read through the original comic book while also expressing her delight in working with Rosenberg and with women in general. Indeed Ritter, brings the troubled character who faces trauma and abuse to life, unlike her Girl Power campaigning counterparts who just have to look pretty and pose.

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Jessica Jones pushes the envelope in tackling dark and controversial themes such as rape, abuse, abortion, drug abuse, alcoholism, among other things. It’s the kind of show that keeps you thinking about these themes, asking about them and maybe talking about them after the show. I love a heated discussion on whether this character should have done this or that.

The series does not celebrate Superheros with their fancy costumes or how cool they really are. As it is within the confines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe it also tackles the aftermath of the Avengers movies and the consequences that follow, something that we don’t really think about since we may always have the notion that superheroes have it easy. We have this idea that superheroes are strong, powerful and without a fault. While we have had anti heroes and anti-heroines, TV has never seen one like Jessica Jones. An anti-heroine unlike any other, she faces her own demons while fighting to protect those who have just come upon theirs and in the series it is the villain Kilgrave, which is the source of all evil, so to speak.

While there may be some pacing problems, as it is in Netflix series, Jessica Jones will draw you in it’s dark alleyways and will have you looking at female characters in a different light.

The complete series of Jessica Jones is already available online.


Ica Cheng

 
Part of Team PCheng, a husband and wife team who work on event coverage and photoshoots. I work in the BPO to pay the bills and write to keep sane. Among other things I write about movies, books, music and TV shows.