“Jessica Jones” strips down a superhero as Marvel gets gritty on Netflix

Piya Sinha-Roy
Published : 21 Nov 2015, 09:07 AM
Updated : 21 Nov 2015, 09:07 AM

Marvel's first leading female superhero on-screen, Jessica Jones swigs whiskey out of a paper bag, relishes a scathing put-down, is not afraid to get dirty fighting villains and does what she pleases in a new Netflix series.

Streaming all 13 episodes Friday on online streaming platform Netflix Inc, Marvel's Jessica Jones follows the damaged, tough-talking private investigator Jones as she is tormented by Kilgrave, a villain with mind-control powers.

Played by Krysten Ritter, "Jessica Jones," who has the power of super-strength, is the first female superhero to headline her own Marvel show in a genre dominated by male characters.

"She's a complex human being, and it's so rare that women get to play those roles," said show creator Melissa Rosenberg.

"The audiences have been in the past slow to respond to a deeply flawed female character. We've been held up to a much greater standard and it's been incredibly limiting."

The show is set a in Hell's Kitchen in New York destroyed by the events in 2012's Marvel's Avengers film, interconnected into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which includes the blockbuster films, ABC television shows as well as Netflix and Marvel's Daredevil series.

Aside from "F-bombs and explicit nudity," Rosenberg said she was able to test the limits on Netflix by not being held to broadcast television or movie studio restrictions.

"The boundaries are being pushed in terms of how deep into the dark recess of human psyche we can go, how ugly we can make characters, how much on edge," she said.

Ritter, 33, previously headlined the short-lived ABC sitcom Don't Trust The B—- in Apartment 23 in 2012, but for Jessica Jones, the actress said she found herself in a "very sweeping, long experience."

"I would work by myself a lot, in all of the scenes. I felt isolated a lot, I felt lonely a lot, but that really works for the character," she said.

With minimal make-up, ragged jeans and a battered jacket with a hood to be inconspicuous, Jessica Jones doesn't wear a cape or carry a shield unlike Marvel's roster of superheroes, and don't expect to see her fighting in a dress anytime soon.

"This is a really raw, stripped down character who is not dressing for a male gaze or a female gaze," said Ritter, adding that she never wore an outfit that "showed off my figure."

"I wanted Jessica Jones to feel protected and yet hidden. She's got to be able to get dirty and fight."