First of all, if you haven't watched Jessica Jones yet, you need to log onto Netflix right now and watch it. The show is a bit slow on the get-go, but when it picks up it really picks up and it's impossible to stop. This isn't a typical television show. Marvel and Netflix first hit strong with Daredevil and there's definitely no loss of momentum with Jessica Jones. This format works on smaller Marvel characters like Matt Murdock and Jessica Jones because they aren't fit for the big screen. They are side stories meant to pick up on the bigger events, like The Avengers's battle in NYC, and give them some life outside of the cinematic universe. The new take on Murdock did a great job and Jessica has upped the ante even more.
With that said, it's no secret that Marvel has a female problem. The only female characters present in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been supporting characters and eventually fell to a weakness which, let's face it, is Hollywood's typical portrayal of a woman; Pepper, Black Widow, Jane Foster, and Peggy Carter haven't been enough. Agent Carter and was a decent start but with everlasting rumors of a solo Black Widow movie, a rumored increase of screen time and importance for Scarlet Witch, the inclusion of The Wasp for the Ant-Man sequel, and the upcoming Captain Marvel movie it would seem like Marvel and Disney are both trying to fix this problem. It's apparent they want to give us not only more women in lead roles, but women that aren't just weak victims or something to be taken advantage of.
I would like to talk about 5 key points as to how and why Jessica Jones proves that Marvel's female problem is drawing to a close. You can't portray a character like this, on television or on the screen, and expect the MCU to remain the same as it has been regarding women. I will warn you that this does contain spoilers for Jessica Jones, so if you might want to take a pass if you haven't binged on Netflix just yet. Believe me when I say it's worth it.
5. She is focused
Mind control is no stranger to Jessica so at any given opportunity, she has to make sure that she is in control of her body and her actions. Whether it's verbal therapy techniques or trailing a lead for a client, she is as discreet as possible and remains focused. Distractions don't come easily for Jessica and she understands that it's imperative to keep a clear head.
4. She is human after all
The thing that I personally have struggled with regarding the MCU up to this point was the lack of human compassion. These are people but they don't seem like it at times and it's not all just Tony Stark's arrogance or Thor's ignorance to Earth. It's the fact that the heroes we've encountered have little to no humanity.
Jessica didn't need a full blown origin story to show us what she was dealing with or who she was. She was the victim of an accident and made the choice to help people. She didn't gain invincibility or become immortal. She bleeds and she feels pain. The fact that she can push through it to do what she feels is right is a choice we all face. It's just the simple truth that it's not a choice everyone can do.
3. She is smart and intuitive
Kind of a necessity for a private investigator, eh? Jessica's top asset isn't always her strength or her connections. It's her intelligence, intuition, and investigative talent. She has a brain and she knows how to use it. She can decipher dangerous situations and knows how to find dirt on someone. But that's all just an every day thing for a P.I.
Jessica's intelligence and ability to read someone's intentions aren't super powers, but she utilizes them as if it was connected to her super abilities. Tracking down Kilgrave and his minions was only the tip of the iceberg. Jessica utilized her natural gifts to solve mysteries, figure out what was real, and who she could trust and it didn't fail her once.
2. She is a survivor
It's no secret that it's been rough for Jessica. After being mentally and physically controlled, raped, beaten, and abandoned she finds a way to keep going. It's no secret that Jessica deals with a lot on a daily basis, but who doesn't? Whether it's whiskey or a new case to investigate, she manages to put her demons at bay when the opportunity to help someone comes up. Once you've been kicked down there's really no other option but to get back up.
She does her best to use her shame and guilt about her past not get the better of her. She figures if she can't fix what happened to her, maybe she can make it right and prevent something from happening to someone else. Whether she wanted to be a heroine or not, she got herself there by the way she carries herself.
1. Face it, Jessica is a badass
Super strength aside, Jessica is just a girl who knows exactly what and who she is. She talks a lot of shit, she is emotionally blocked, drinks like a sailor, is sarcastic as hell, and has her fair share of enemies, but she doesn't apologize for herself. She figures people will either love her or hate her for who she is and that's not her decision to make. Not to sound overly feminist, but she also can get the job done without any man's help. Hell, she even killed Kilgrave without the help of the super strong, invincible Luke Cage or the crazy, vindictive Sgt. Simpson. She did it with her natural wit and intelligence.
It's rare to find a female character portrayed like this and have them be the lead of a story. They successfully did it and I applaud them. I am almost certain that Jessica Jones is the start of a new era with Marvel as far as film and television go and we will be seeing more characters like her. Characters that don't rely just on their gender or given ability to make themselves relevant and strong.