I’m something of a fan of the Marvel cinematic and TV universe. “Something” because while I grew up on the properties, consider Spider-Man a major influence on my morals and ethics, and want to grow up to be Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, I have been at the point of Marvel movie fatigue for some time now. Comic Book nerd that I am, I never read all the comics, and it seems the same has become true for the myriad of media properties they have hitting big and small screen throughout the year.
Thus, I’m very glad that the trailer for Jessica Jones, Season 2 that dropped last week has me feeling that nice flutter of excitement for more Marvel. Why? Well, putting aside that I’ve loved Krysten Ritter since Don’t Trust the B**** in Apt 23, it also helps that one of the strengths of the Marvel Universe isn’t just having a well of characters deeper than a conversation with Deepak Chopra. It’s that these characters all represent a variety of different genres and storytelling. What made Jessica Jones’ first season so compelling, in part, was its perfect presentation as a noir detective story.
Jones was the scarred and gritty detective following clues, leads, perps and witnesses to track down the criminal and foil his master plan. The trailer above points to that being the road map for another season of the show, and that’s perfect. After her time with a superhero team, The Defenders, I’m glad that we’re bringing it harshly back down to earth (or the streets), with its grime, and with Jessica being off put by any sense that she’s been hoisted up onto some pedestal or higher plateau.
However, the tone and genre was the broth that formed the base of the stew that made Season 1 so successful. What made it a surprising masterpiece was the emotional and societal themes it grappled with through its characters. Jones season 1 was all about barriers and walls (mostly mental and emotional). How trauma causes us to put up those walls to protect ourselves, but how those walls can keep us from truly helping others as well as ourselves. It’s notable then that part of the trailer’s voiceover is Jessica saying “something happened behind these doors.”
Jones showed the villains who violate the trust of being let in past these boundaries, and those who break them down by force to take what they want. Facing those villains, we see women (and men) who are coping with that trauma, building themselves back up to and beyond their former strengths to fight it, and finally overcome it.
This trailer is very promising. I was worried those themes that gave season one its power would be doused, but right from the start: the bartender’s question, “drinking to remember or forget?” with a perfectly bitter Jones retort “Giving a shit won’t get you a better tip,” is a tight reminder of those themes. Who’s trying to get past your wall? What reason are they doing so? Jessica’s litany of her past traumas: the accident, the experiments she was subjected to, and now the pressure of being a known “super-vigilante,” alongside shots of her looking in the mirror and drinking respectively (make note of the mirror, I want to circle back on that).
The big shock, a pleasant one, is the new plot of the “competition” who’s trying to buy out Jessica’s agency, when he says he doesn’t take no for an answer Jessica flat out tells him “How rapey of you.”
I’ll need to confirm this rewatching season 1, but I think season 1 avoided dropping the “r” word at all, and left it to the viewer to draw and discern that line which had been repeatedly crossed by men in the show.
That they’re now saying it bluntly, and even dropping it right in a guy’s face (justifiably so) in the trailer is telling. I hope the promise this trailer is making with this move is a deeper dive into those dynamics, of men’s sense of power and false entitlement- however, I’ll be disappointed if the sole means and extent of it is just in this business dynamic.
Speaking of power dynamic, Jessica’s friend Trish pledging “Jessica might not want a sidekick, but she needs one,” is an interesting line. On the one hand, fans of the comics have been waiting for Trish to step up action wise, on the other, it’s going to be a very interesting push and pull with Trish finding the right way to be there for her friend without overstepping those barriers Jessica has.
The last theme in this trailer I think is worth noting, that I mentioned above: mirrors and glass. Sure, it’s all cool and action set-piece stunning to have shattering windows and glass, but remember the trailer opens with Jessica breaking a glass and being told it’s the “third” (incidentally, this is the third season of a Marvel show she’s appearing in, though only the second of her own). Around 1:25, a male voice tells Jessica “You’re not super, you’re a ticking time bomb” while Jessica throws someone into a mirror.
Jessica’s response is “You keep telling me who I am, how dare you.” Glass and mirrors both do one thing pretty well: they show reflections. Maybe the reflection you see at a bottom of a glass of a whiskey is more distorted than that of a mirror, but the theme running throughout the trailer (seriously, check out how many windows, glasses and mirrors pop up throughout the 2:12 long trailer), is one of reflection, self-perception, and agency in defining what you are.
Jones’ struggle in season 1 was as much an internal struggle against her trauma and self as it was against David Tenant’s Kilgrave. The trailer is making some big promises then, thematically, but it’s making the right ones. Be excited folks, this looks good.
Give us some love on Patreon and we can make more hilarious content!