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    Jessica Jones and Luke Cage


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    Post  mikel.withers November 11th 2016, 10:26 am

    After watching the last five episodes of Daredevil Season 2 in a single sitting, I figured I'd give Jessica Jones a shot.

    Definitely a different kind of theme here.

    It has taken me a couple days to digest the series. I think that's a good thing.
    There's victimhood, addiction, unhealthy relationships, empowerment, redemption, forgiveness...
    I didn't enjoy watching this, but I feel like it was important in a way. Broadened horizons, maybe.

    Well, that isn't to say there was nothing enjoyable in it... Jessica herself had a dry, cynical wit that was amusing and Killgrave was fantastically ... what is the word??? Bent. Crooked. Twisted. Off... but in a charming psychopath way... I almost think his non-powered manipulations are worse than his powered ones.

    Like Daredevil, you might say that the real heroes are the "normal" people around the "gifted" who take a stand without the firepower to protect them.
    And then there is Luke Cage, introduced in Jessica Jones, and changing the "sensuality" of Daredevil into "sexuality" in JJ and his own series. There were a couple times when I hit the "mute" on my computer in the hopes that people in the next room didn't think I was watching something else... affraid
    So, Luke Cage...
    I'm about halfway through, so I can't give finished thoughts, but I'll give initial impressions.
    Not to put too fine a point on it, but if Jessica Jones was a Woman show, then this is a Black show.
    A lot of it centers around... a barber shop, and if Cedric and Ice T were behind the chairs, they wouldn't be out of place. Not that such is a bad thing... if you had a show about Brits maybe it would be centered on a pub (called the "Winchester" maybe?) Then you have Luke's "breakout" scene from his origin story when he is quite literally dressed as Powerman, the "cougar" saying "mmmmm, a black man with a job, ain't nothing wrong with that"... a lot of little, not so subtle "clues" to make sure we know we are watching a Black show.
    As a Person of no Color, (unless I'm sunburnt) I tend to think it is a call-back to the comics from the Blaxploitation era and I'm neutral-to-uncomfortable with it. I'd be really curious what a Person of Color felt about it.
    Alright then, themes: well, Black Power (duh), exploitation (duh again), identity, community, family, loss...
    It'll be interesting to see how these play out as the series progresses.

    Last thought (for now) : Personally, I don't like living in an echo chamber. I feel like listening to what the JJ writers said was a good thing, and I feel like LC will be good as well. I'm really looking forward to seeing if a Defenders series will be able to...not "blend" but maybe "collide" and "mix" the strong themes we see played out in the individual series.

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    Post  Paeter November 11th 2016, 10:58 am

    I'm curious if these shows seem to clearly be a part of the MCU still, or have they switched to just referencing each other instead of any movie continuity? From all reports, they, like the movies, have very similar tones to each other, at least on the scale of serious to whimsical. So at a glance it looks like two very different worlds rather than one shared world.

    I also get the sense that audience reactions to these shows are much stronger, positive and more passionate than reactions to the Marvel movies, which people still seem to enjoy but don't ever seem "wowed" by anymore.

    Any thoughts?

    -Seek The Truth!

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    Post  mikel.withers November 11th 2016, 11:34 am

    These are definitely part of the MCU.
    There is a lot of references to "the Attack on New York" and "you're one of them, aren't you?" and I know I've heard "magic hammer" bantered about.
    But, these are what someone else has called "street level" shows. Daredevil is in Hell's Kitchen... that is his neighborhood, it exists in a world where New York was attacked by aliens, but his neighborhood came out fairly well.
    Jessica Jones is... I don't remember where... walking distance from her PI office, mostly.
    Luke Cage is between a night club and a barber shop and whatever is on the street between them. "Uber? I'll walk you..."

    Bit spoiler-y-
    Jessica Jones wants to convince people that this guy can control minds... seems weird, but she lives in a place where a guy turns into a giant green smashing machine.

    I guess I'd say that you don't have to watch these to understand the movies, but you really should watch the movies to fully understand these.
    As to being wowed... The move away from CGI and explosions and toward grittiness... The characters keep bruises and cuts from one episode to the next... draws you in better. Ben Avery and guest mentioned the phenomena on the 2nd part of their "The Fly" Welcome to Level Seven podcast: you can't really empathize with having your head explode, but getting a fingernail ripped off is something that gets you on a visceral level.
    Also... when you have a couple main characters' and several supporting characters' lives spread across ten or more hours, you can get character arcs in much better than five main characters over two hours.

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