Netflix and Marvel’s Jessica Jones shows how these things should be done. Yes, it’s another superhero series, but this one is every bit as good as Daredevil, and what makes it good is what’s been left out:
No one seems to have any super powers; well, nothing earth-shattering anyway. You won’t find anyone here who can knock down a building by breathing on it. Jessica gets by on modicum of super-strength, and seems to be powered by vodka and very little else. She’s a private detective by day, and like all good gumshoes, she drinks to forget.
There are no city-levelling fight scenes.
No hi-tech armour, no mystical hammers and no indestructible shields.
No Scarlett Johanssen, but I’ll get over it.
What it does have is an easy slow-burning plot and a rather seedy feel that comes across as a sort of film noir shot in a slum. The script is deadpan, not overdone, with a hint of dark humour. They’re not trying to send a message or save the world; none of the heroes and villains here give a hoot about anything or anyone. It’s surprisingly heavy on the sex scenes, and the director hasn’t pulled any punches in any of the fight sequences – and there aren’t that many of those.
I didn’t make it through the first episode of Supergirl; I’ve watched four episodes of Jessica Jones, back to back, and when I’m done here I’m going back for more. Great stuff.
I don’t think I’ve seen a franchise reboot come around quite so fast. The last Fantastic Four movie (Rise of the Silver Surfer) was released in 2007, which doesn’t seem that long. It must be a comic-book thing. Anyway, Rise of the Silver Surfer didn’t exactly thrill me, so I was looking forward to a fresh start with new characters, new director and the involvement of the same production outfit that brought us the brilliant X-Men series.
Okay, first the good.
This outing was a lot grittier than the previous takes. The characters were vaguely human, which usually makes comic-book films a lot more approachable for more people. The special effects were fairly good (especially the Human Torch sequences), and the interaction between the characters were nothing to write a blog about, but were pretty much okay.
And that was the good.
Unfortunately, while the characters were vaguely human, they were also a little bit dull. There wasn’t much to separate them really. The good guys where good, and the villain was . . . well . . . he didn’t seem that bad. He went about his master plan to destroy humanity as though he could be talked out of it if someone listened to his problems over a cup of tea and generous slice of chocolate cheesecake.
The film meandered from one inconclusive scene to the next, marking time until the final battle – which was over in a few minutes, and didnt’ really add anything to the film or the characters. To be honest, I was glad it was over.
I got the distinct impression that this film was made to a time budget: It was to run for 98 minutes and not a moment longer. The whole thing seemed very compressed; years squeezed into ten minute set pieces that were frustrating and uninspiring.