“You’re a hot-headed, short-fused mess of a woman” someone tells the heroine in the trailer for Netflix’s new Marvel show, Jessica Jones — like it’s a bad thing. It’s not clear exactly what Jessica Jones' superpowers are, other than the ability to hold her liquor and refusing to take any sh*t, but that’s enough for me. As far as I can tell from the footage, she's a modern reboot of the loner, no-good, philandering Private Investigator type of noir films. Except, oh yeah, she’s a woman. With this trailer, I can say without doubt that Jessica Jones, the next Marvel badass to be brought to the screen, is going to absolutely kill it. (This is further confirmed by the fact that she's played by Krysten Ritter, whose brooding, gives exactly zero f*cks vibe couldn't be more perfect for the role.) The first season of Marvel's Jessica Jones comes to Netflix on Nov. 20, so get ready.
Jessica Jones may be the first Marvel character to get her own Netflix show, but she’s not the first female badass to come out of the studio. Marvel has been making a real effort to shake up the traditional idea of the superhero for some time, resulting in some incredible female characters who are basically warriors fighting not just against their particular villain but for more strong women characters in film and on TV. Here’s a breakdown of the best and brightest badasses exported from the Marvel universe to a screen near you.
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow
Johansson donned her spider-suit once more in this year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Though the film wasn’t great, I went to see Black Widow and I wasn’t disappointed. She’s a total boss whose superpowers are her drive and career choices (talk about role model!). She was trained as a spy and assassin by the KGB, and formerly was an enemy to the good guys. Since switching sides, she’s become a top S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Going back to reality for a moment, it’s also pretty badass that Johansson got paid $20 million to play the role (the second most of the entire cast), especially given the pay gap hoopla in Hollywood.
Kate Mara as Susan Storm
Susan Storm, engineering genius of the Fantastic Four, was our only hope of female badassery, and we were DENIED. Not only did they put her in a horrible wig, but when a crucial moment in the film came, she was excluded. As a quick recap, the four build this interdimensional travel machine, they decide they are going to try it out, and who is the only one not going? THE PERSON WHO BUILT IT, aka Sue Storm. It wasn’t even a discussion; it was just a given, somehow, that she would stay behind and make sure everything went OK at homebase. Great work, screenwriters. Real cool. Bad writing and bad wig aside, Susan Storm is a STEM inspiration. If only she had been given her due maybe the movie wouldn’t have flopped.
Halle Berry as Storm
What’s with all the storms? Is it a way of suggesting that women are moody and unpredictable, or is it an acknowledgement of their power? That burning question aside, I’ve loved seeing Halle Berry in the X-Men films of the past decade, including the latest and most confusingly titled, X-Men: Days of Future Past. It was a watchable movie, though definitely not as good as the first, and probably because there wasn’t enough Halle Berry. Take a hint, writers.
And now we have Krysten Ritter in Marvel’s Jessica Jones as the latest badass to join this pretty excellent company. She’s dark, tortured, unapologetic, and ass-kicking. While it seems like she could just snap the villain, played by David Tennant, like a twig, I’ll go along for the ride. I’ll suspend my disbelief. Next Friday, let the binge-watching commence.
Images: MYLES ARONOWITZ/NETFLIX; Giphy