Arguably the area in which the Daredevil excels the most is showing off the sometimes gruesome physical violence of street-level superheroics. The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed and executed, and generally does a good job of showing the physical toll and consequences that come with Matt Murdock’s nocturnal activities.
Jessica Jones is a completely different animal, and I think is much better for it. Granted that as I write this I’m only in the second episode of the series, but it’s already incredibly clear that Jessica Jones has in spades something that Daredevil lacked: visceral personal stakes.
With Daredevil, Matt Murdock is almost the stereotypical do-gooder: his motives are generally of the ‘save the city/innocent people’ variety. He wants to help people. Stop criminals. Dismantle the criminal empire that is hurting people. But all of those motivations are external to him. There isn’t much in the way of personal reasons for him to do what he does, other than the concept of “doing the right thing”.
But in Jessica Jones, the stakes are nothing but personal. Where Daredevil focused on the physical violence and costs of superheroics, Jessica Jones focuses more on the mental and emotional toll that comes with the superhero territory.
That’s not to say there aren’t any excellent fight scenes. There’s a bar fight scene in episode 2, between Luke Cage (played by the amazing Mike Colter), Jessica Jones, and some unruly patrons. I watched the fight several times to just soak in the awesomeness of it. I absolutely love how totally and completely casual Luke Cage is during the fight. It’s fantastic.
But the heart and core of the show is Jessica Jones battling her own inner demons, and ultimately the source of those demons. The source of those demons, in this case, is a character known as Kilgrave. For the first couple of episodes he appears as little more than a phantom, a hallucination of Jessica’s PTSD-laden mind. And David Tennant, as Kilgrave, is at his absolute creepy and sinister best here.
The gradual unfolding of what was done to Jessica, what finally led her to break free from Kilgrave’s control, and her struggle to cope with all of it is an incredibly well crafted story.
I can’t wait to finish watching this season. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s going to be an amazing ride. My only complaint is that Netflix isn’t making these shows fast enough.