Op-Ed: Things I Worry About for Marvel’s Jessica JonesNovember 18, 2015
Let me preface it like this, there is something I worry about for Marvel’s Jessica Jones that I shouldn’t have to. But it seems to be a curse surrounding the majority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s women.
But you may be asking me this, what in heavens are you talking about, the women of Marvel are so kick ass. And if you said that, I would wholly agree. They do kick ass, in fact they kick a lot of ass.
But let’s review the curse that plagues a good chunk of our favorites, but not all, of the Marvel women.
One of the original ass kickers; first wowing us with her intrigue and skills in Iron Man 2 is Natasha Romanoff. In her first scene she easily out maneuvers and wastes Happy. We get to know her through her mysteriousness, which has long been part of Natasha’s story in the comics. It is a great introduction to her character, and left us thirsty for more, especially after the hallway scene.
The next time Natasha pops up is in the Avengers, and again she spends most of the film getting things done. She never backs from the fight and approaches problems logically. She tricks Loki, the trickster, into revealing his endgame. Not a small or easy feat, but one that changes the Avengers from frantically figuring out what to do, to actually assembling themselves.
She continues standing equal to Steve Rogers in The Winter Soldier. Bucky goes after her during the freeway scene, leaving his accomplices to deal with Steve and Sam. She outsmarts him, and while she falters and shows fear she is not lessened by it.
Her characterization takes a major hit in Age of Ultron. Her whole development in that movie is sidelined for a rather forced love story.
Gamora also gets shafted by being sidelined. Yes, if Guardians of the Galaxy had Gamora as the central character it would be a lot darker movie, and the Marvel movies tend to not go the way of dramas. While I adore Peter Quill, Gamora’s story is far more compelling, and she is perhaps the most frightening of fighters out of their ragtag bunch. Perhaps the second Guardians will focus more on Gamora’s story as the Marvel Cinematic Universe races towards conflict with Thanos.
And the latest Marvel lady to get the sideline treatment is Hope Van Dyne. Hope is way more qualified then Scott Lang to pull the heist off. She is already an accomplished fighter, knows how the suit works, understands the science of the suit, and has easy access to Cross Technologies. Yet, as headstrong and independent as we are made to believe she is, Hope Van Dyne does not defy her father, who she has a shaky relationship with, to don the Ant-Man suit. At least, Hope will be back in Ant-Man’s sequel and we’ll see her get her chance to shine.
Marvel has done a lot better with the women in their television shows, in Agents of SHIELD, the women are primarily on the battlefront, yet have a deep-seated character and compelling personal stories. Even the women who aren’t putting up the fight are still well written and balanced. And Agent Carter flips the script completely pointing out the micro aggressions women face in the workplace and often being taken seriously. Her story and struggle is often leaps and bounds ahead of the curve.
So, as you can see, my hope for Jessica Jones is that her story is not sidelined. We know Luke Cage has a prominent role in her series, Marvel could easily choose the series as a set up for his story. My hope is that Jessica does not fall to the wayside of the very few and often failed female superhero films. That she is built as a character with depth and not just face value. My fear is to look through comment sections and see a barrage of depreciating comments, that a female hero is not something viable.
From the little I’ve seen in trailers and promotions, there is little doubt that Jessica Jones won’t deliver on making her an equivocal contender, and a true Marvel hero.
We’ll only know for sure on this Friday, November 20, when Marvel’s Jessica Jones drops on Netflix.