Farewell, Jessica Jones: the last woman standing in the Marvel-Netflix era

With Marvels owner, Disney, preparing its own streaming service, Netflix is throwing in the towel. But Krysten Ritters street-level superhero ever did know how to have the last word

Marvel’s sprawling legion of big-screen heroes managed to bounce back from an extremely debilitating encounter with Thanos. But on the small screen, a much tighter cadre of grounded vigilantes have not been so lucky. Netflix’s experimentation with Marvel characters demises today with the launch of the third and final season of Jessica Jones, the hard-living private eye played by Krysten Ritter whose uncanny abilities include tremendously improved strength and nuclear-level eye-rolling.

It pulls the plug on a headlong universe-building exert that, from a apparently standing start, created an impressive 12 seasons of Tv in just four years, embracing the overlapping escapades of blind butt-kicker Daredevil( three seasons ), bulletproof charmer Luke Cage( two ), gap-year mystic Iron fist( one and done ), gung ho gun nut The Punisher( two) and The Defenders, a novel, but somewhat underwhelming, one-off team-up.

These street-level avengers took on ruthless crime bosses, augmented henchmen and undead ninja religions, but ultimately could not prevail over corporate synergy. Once Disney- which owns Marvel- announced plans for its own streaming service, complete with miniseries featuring personas familiar from the big-screen Marvel Cinematic Universe, such as Loki and Scarlet Witch, Netflix quietly hurled in the towel rather than risk any brand confusion.

That Netflix’s Marvel excursion ends with Jessica Jones is probably more an accident of timing than layout, but it feels appropriate, and not just because the nocturnal examiner has always seemed the most likely to loiter formerly last orders has been called. When the first season launched in late 2015, it felt like a rare example of TV outpacing the movies in the superhero boom, nimbly placing a female attribute front-and-centre before Gal Gadot headlined her own Wonder Woman film in 2017.

Role
Role reversal … Trish( Rachael Taylor) Photograph: David Giesbrecht/ Netflix

Here was a relatable hero, who drank too much, occasionally slept in her clothes and was generally ambivalent about her task. While it was refreshing to see a Marvel character who favor a scuffed leather jacket to spandex, Jessica’s bruising backstory likewise sounded with the times. She was a survivor of trauma at the hands of David Tennant’s Kilgrave, a scrawny, self-regarding villain who use his exotic mind-control powers to callously rob his victims of all bureau. It felt like a potent metaphor for a cultural time when the banal abuse of male power had been belatedly dragged into the spotlight. Thanks in no tiny persona to Ritter’s performance- enjoyably sarcastic, occasionally swaggering, but ever wary- Jessica Jones felt raw and real in way that felt unusual for genre TV.

After she discharged her contractual jobs in the Defenders, the second season of Jessica Jones felt a little bumpier, belatedly setting her on a collision course with a fateful figure from her past in the formidable form of Janet McTeer. But, even if the plotting often seemed wayward, the implementation of its still resonated, particularly the push-pull relationship between Jessica and her adoptive sister, Trish( Rachael Taylor ), who intent up at such an extreme impasse it seemed unlikely they would ever reconcile.

Season three picks things up a year later, and strives to bring Jessica and Trish back together by smartly inverting their usual personas. The bourbon-swigging private eye who prefers to work in the darkness is now famous enough to be recognised in the street, putting her sometimes questionable techniques under investigation. Former tabloid fixture Trish- who has spent her whole life in the public eye from child starring, to thwarted pop siren , to talkshow host and now, rather grimly, shopping channel presenter- has taken to becoming a masked avenger.

Clammy
Clammy brand-new rascal … Salinger( Jeremy Bobb) Photograph: David Giesbrecht/ Netflix

There is also a clammy new scoundrel, Salinger( give full play to Jeremy Bobb, Nadia’s one-night stand in Russian Doll ), who takes his own sweet time revealing himself, even if that stall seems to be part of some scrupulous overarching strategy. Unlike the similarly slimy Kilgrave, Salinger apparently has no superpowers beyond his seethe lily-white male privilege and a determination to tear down powerful women. The fact that he knows how to leverage all the institutions of law and order that heroes are supposed to protect stimulates him even more dangerous, particularly when Jessica still often defaults to two-fisted justice.

Once Salinger properly enters the story, season three heats up a little. Still, it wouldn’t be a proper Netflix Marvel indicate if there wasn’t at least a little narrative wheel-spinning in the middle. That stretched-out storytelling tendency- the “Netflix bloat” impression- may end up being this curtailed venture in superhero streaming’s lasting bequest. But amid what was predominantly a boys’ fraternity of powerful attributes, it feels as if Jessica Jones may be the one to endure.

Season three of Jessica Jones is available on Netflix now

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ tv-and-radio/ 2019/ jun/ 14/ jessica-jones-netflix-marvel-season-three

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