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The Promise of Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones has been out for an Internet Decade now, I assume most of you have binged it already. For those of you who have not BIG OL’ FAT SPOILERS to follow, so behave accordingly. Spoilers like the one episode where Jessica Jones fights Thanos in a subway. It’s a real turn, I’ll tell you what.

Any, this won’t be a review of JJ, that’ll probably be covered elsewhere. No, this is about something else I’m pretty pumped about. It’s about the promise of Jessica Jones. It means something big for the rest of Marvel’s Netflix shows.

Now, before I get into it we’ve gotta clear something up. I liked Jessica Jones, but I’ve tried my best to make the following unbiased. Whether or not you liked Jones, I hope that we agree it has set a pretty cool precedent. Let me elaborate.

It set the bar for Harley product placement

Alias, the comic that Jessica Jones was based on was a Marvel MAX title. MAX is basically Marvel’s “R-rated” comics. They’re free of the normal restrictions that normal comics are usually forced to follow. It’s adult content. Swearing and gore as far as the eye can see.

As such, there were some worries that Netflix would water down the source material. Jessica Jones would be “dark” and “gritty”, but essentially sanitized for mass consumption. Light swearing. Maybe some blood. Admittedly, I had figured that they would dial back the intensity. I mean, Daredevil had its moments of intensity for sure, but it didn’t stray into MAX material.

To my surprise, Jessica Jones ended up being everything it needed to be. The show never shied away from gore, from violence, from sexuality, from rape, from each character’s emotional journey. Now you can argue that Jones never became as extreme as the programming you’d find on, say, HBO, but did it need to? It got its point across effectively. Any more would excessive.

Here’s what’s so promising about that.

Jones showed us that Marvel isn’t afraid to go dark. To be the things it needs to be. I’m not saying that they’ll necessarily go even further than this show (not saying they won’t either), but at the very least they set a really cool precedent.

I’ve been kind of worried about Punisher’s portrayal in Daredevil season 2, but Jones has relieved that a little bit. Marvel seems okay with frank brutality, with disturbing violence, with blood. All things Punisher needs to work effectively. Oh, and guns.

This also relieves some worries about other properties, namely Iron Fist. I’m mostly talking about Iron Fist. Jones stretched itself to a new area outside of Daredevil. It was more intimate, more grounded, more focused character relationships. Less on grand-scale crime versus one man.

Iron Fist is different from both Daredevil and Jones (and, I assume, Luke Cage). It’s a fantastical adventure, it’s grand in scope, it’s chock-full of magic. I have more faith in Marvel stretching itself to make the Iron Fist show how it needs to be made instead of trying to stuff it into a Daredevil mold.

Well, other than… nevermind

In my opinion, Marvel’s Netflix shows are two for two. The precedent set by Jessica Jones has me resting easy about the other shows yet to come. Personally, I’m looking forward to it. If there’s anything I missed or if there’s a particular show you’re looking forward to, let me know in the comments below.

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