xparrot: Chopper reading (books)
[personal profile] xparrot
Finished watching the new Netflix series last night. Short reaction: am surprised how much I liked it considering it was way darker and more violent than what I generally go for.

Long reaction - the reason I enjoyed it so much was because unlike a lot of grimdark gritty shows, most of the main characters managed to stay likable. Even when they were going through horrible things or forced to do horrible things (not just by Kilgrave but by circumstance), they didn't lose their humanity. Or their senses of humor, and the moments of unexpected comedy were some of the best parts, kept everything from being so relentlessly awful that it became painful to watch. A lot of that was thanks to Krysten Ritter's performance, she's fantastic, just the right combination of snarky hard-boiled PI and angst-ridden superhero.

And a lot was thanks to the villain. Kilgrave is so morally pitch-black that almost anyone else looks bright against him. David Tennant did a great job with the character, reining him in more often than not, which made him more frightening because it kept him just on the side of believable. He's one of the scariest will-controllers I've seen in anything (the only one I can think of who gives him a run for his money is Legato Bluesummers from Trigun, but you don't see as much of the aftermath of Legato's power.) As a villain he's really in the force-of-nature, act-of-god category - you can't reason with him, ending him is the only option. I like natural disaster stories, everyone united against a common force of destruction, and a lot of Jessica Jones plays out like that, only times a million in the psychological trauma.

I love most of the characters who were united by him - or before; Jessica and Trish's relationship was one of my favorite things about the show (I was so worried Trish wasn't going to make it, and so happy she did - though no surprise, she's like the most competent person in the show. Her handling of Simpson once he goes on the red pills and off the rails was just amazing, and the end of course.) Also I did not call Simpson becoming a major character - and maybe a villain later, depending on where these series goes? The series was great at unexpected twists - Malcolm's evolution into Jessica's much-needed sidekick was just awww, and yeah, never would've guessed that from his introduction.

And I really like Luke Cage (he was one of the reasons I've been looking forward to the show; after watching Mike Colter on The Good Wife for years I am so excited to see him playing a good guy.) I enjoyed his chemistry with Jessica, want to know where the relationship is going - especially as at the end we don't actually know how he feels about her, since for their last interactions he was Kilgrave'd. He clearly cares about her still given what he said when he woke up, but has he forgiven her yet? And will she ever be able to bear hearing him say that he does, given how Kilgrave twisted that?

Am not sure how I feel about Luke's wife's murder. The fridging is so annoyingly cliche (and I don't really want Luke Cage's series to be all about that and from this it seems like it might be.) On the other hand, I liked...or, not liked, but appreciated? that her death was Jessica's catalyst, and her greatest pain - as opposed to Kilgrave's sexual violation, because there are a lot of stories that pose rape as the worst thing that can happen to a woman, and while that was clearly part of Jessica's trauma, it wasn't the main portion of it. I'm also curious what exactly Luke Cage's wife was researching, and why - something related to Luke's powers, or something else?

There were a few details of Kilgrave's powers that I was curious about...the biggest one being, if you can't hear or understand his commands, can he force you to do anything? It seems like he doesn't have to verbalize everything - like, you rarely hear him tell anyone "don't hurt me" but it seems like that's a default for everyone with him. But if you don't understand English, can he command you? Or if you can't hear him at all? It wasn't until the last episode that Trish actually went in with headphones, which I'd been thinking about since the second or third ep, and it seemed like they worked. And are deaf people immune?

Am debating watching Daredevil now (I was avoiding it due to the violence - but I managed to get through JJ by strategically covering my eyes, so maybe I can do the same for DD...)

Date: 2015-12-06 01:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joonscribble.livejournal.com
On the other hand, I liked...or, not liked, but appreciated? that her death was Jessica's catalyst, and her greatest pain - as opposed to Kilgrave's sexual violation, because there are a lot of stories that pose rape as the worst thing that can happen to a woman, and while that was clearly part of Jessica's trauma, it wasn't the main portion of it.

This. So much this. I almost felt like the fridging was for Jessica's benefit rather than Luke's. And I really liked how Jessica's turning point came from an act she had committed rather than an act done on to her. I know Kilgrave ordered it but I also liked the series adding in that Kilgrave did leave some wiggle room for her not to actually kill Luke's wife but she did.

the biggest one being, if you can't hear or understand his commands, can he force you to do anything?

If the series follows the crux of Kilgrave's powers from the comics, it's a body/pheromone thing that allows Kilgrave to control people. Hence why he has to be near you in order to make it work. My understanding is that as long as people understand his commands, they have to do it. So a deaf person is affected if Kilgrave is near them and writes down his commands.

But you do need to be able to understand him so I don't think someone who doesn't understand English will be affected. I'm assuming this from the fact that depending on how Kilgrave words his commands, people have some room to not do what he actually means. Such as his order to Trish to put a bullet in her head. The meaning is clear but Trish was able to just put a bullet in her mouth.

Date: 2015-12-06 02:11 am (UTC)
ext_3572: (Default)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
And I really liked how Jessica's turning point came from an act she had committed rather than an act done on to her

Yes, yes, this. One of the things I was thinking of when I heard the summary of the show is how male heroes are often motivated by loss (Bruce Wayne losing his parents, etc) while female heroes so often are motivated by things done directly to them, personally experienced injury and trauma (especially rape.) Jessica nominally falls under this as Kilgrave did hurt her physically/sexually, but the show doesn't dwell on that, and what really hurts her most is the other people who were hurt.

If the series follows the crux of Kilgrave's powers from the comics, it's a body/pheromone thing that allows Kilgrave to control people. Hence why he has to be near you in order to make it work.

In the show it says it's some kind of virus (apparently airborne since it could be suppressed in a hermetically sealed room?) Though that confused me because, what, it instantly infects people? And if he has you infected, shouldn't his voice still work over the phone? But yeah, given that you can force literal interpretations of his instructions, that does imply English comprehension is a requirement.

(now my terrible sense of humor wants to see Kilgrave trying to use a phrasebook to order people around in, say, Chinese, and totally screwing up his commands...)

Date: 2015-12-06 02:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joonscribble.livejournal.com
And if he has you infected, shouldn't his voice still work over the phone?

I think he can't give new commands over the phone even if you've been infected by a previous command he'd given in person. The science behind that seems vague but I guess to sort of limit his reach or else no end stands a chance unless you just develop immunity like Jessica.

I do like that the show does a very clear cut allegory for being in an abusive relationship and the idea of having the abuser's voice in your head, tormenting you. And that it can be really hard not to be triggered into doubting yourself when you hear your abuser's voice again. But yes, I like that this wasn't the absolute reason for Jessica's actions. It certainly added to her story but it's more about her hating what's happened to those around her.

(now my terrible sense of humor wants to see Kilgrave trying to use a phrasebook to order people around in, say, Chinese, and totally screwing up his commands...)

While this would detract a bit from the scariness of Kilgrave, I want this to happen. Mainly because David Tennant would excel at this.

Date: 2015-12-06 12:24 pm (UTC)
ext_3572: (Default)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
Yeah, they had to limit Kilgrave somehow - but the limits like the no-phone-control seemed pretty arbitrary given what they did say about his powers. It's a pretty minor point, I just would've liked some technobabble to explain it. I always love me some superhero technobabble!

Yeah, they managed to do the abuse allegory, and make it a significant part of Jessica's character, without making it her sole motivation. One of the things that makes Jessica come across as heroic, in spite of all her flaws, is that even though she was probably one of the most abused by Kilgrave, she doesn't make that distinction - she doesn't compare her own pain to anyone else's, she has nothing but sympathy for his victims. And she's not out for revenge but to stop him.

While this would detract a bit from the scariness of Kilgrave, I want this to happen. Mainly because David Tennant would excel at this.

He really would (I wonder what it was like on set. The show was so dark, and his character was so incredibly evil...I'm glad I knew Tennant so well as an actor already, because if this had been the first thing I'd seen him in I'd have had a hard time enjoying him in anything else!)

Date: 2015-12-06 03:30 am (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
From: [personal profile] sholio
(now my terrible sense of humor wants to see Kilgrave trying to use a phrasebook to order people around in, say, Chinese, and totally screwing up his commands...)

I think it would be completely plausible in the context of the show! He mentions at one point that people obey him even if he doesn't want them to (the "I once told a guy to go screw himself" conversation) so he could easily end up with REALLY weird results that way. It feels a little wrong to say "Someone write this" because, well, Kilgrave + slapstick seems like eleven kinds of NOT RIGHT ... but there is definite crackfic potential there.

Date: 2015-12-06 02:23 am (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
From: [personal profile] sholio
I'll respond to the JJ parts of the post shortly, but I did want to say that if you got through JJ, you can totally get through DD. I really do think JJ is worse (ETA: "worse" = more violent/disturbing, not worse-written; just wanted to clarify!) on every level except for sustained violence -- that is, there are more extensive violent scenes in DD, but for the most part it's not as individually shocking; it's generally action-movie-esque sequences of people getting beat up or shot. ... Okay, there are a few disturbing bits, now that I'm thinking about it. But nothing that's worse than, say, someone getting stabbed with scissors.

Also ... you've seen Agent Carter, right? There's a comment I want to make about the mind control, but I don't want to spoil a thing if you haven't seen it.
Edited Date: 2015-12-06 02:24 am (UTC)

Date: 2015-12-06 02:31 am (UTC)
ext_3572: (Default)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
My reactions to gore (as in, what I can watch vs what I can't stand) are not really that related to how disturbing they are, just how graphic - like, someone stabbing themselves doesn't really bother me more on that fundamental 'flinch' level than someone else doing it, it's the stabbing part that I can't watch. I'm probably going to try DD either way, just will be ready to cover my eyes.

And yup, I've seen Agent Carter, am looking forward to s2! (there is actually a lot of different types of mind control in the MCU, now that I think about it - the rage serum in AC, HYDRA's brainwashing in AoS, Loki's staff in Avengers - but Kilgrave is the worst because it's so powerful and broad, and because he does such horrific and selfish things with it. One of the things that makes him so bad for me is because he's so personal and petty - ends-justifies-means villains are frightening in their own way, but Kilgrave doesn't have any grand ambitions of world domination, no goal at all - he just is sadistically causing pain because he can and he wants to.)
Edited Date: 2015-12-06 02:33 am (UTC)

Date: 2015-12-06 03:24 am (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
From: [personal profile] sholio
Well, hopefully I'm not leading you astray on DD -- but overall it's a fairly optimistic show, despite the darkness and gore, so I hope you'll like it!

And yeah, it seems like one of the MCU's favorite tropes is mind control (which is excellent, because "hero forced to attack his friends" is one of MY favorite tropes XD). The specific comment I wanted to make was about ear protection and characters figuring out that if you can't HEAR the villain, he can't control you -- which was something I loved in AC when they FINALLY figured that out (well, one of them did), and I was surprised it took so long in JJ for anyone to even think of it. Although, since the virus thing wasn't explained for awhile -- that I remember -- I was expecting the soundproof room to have no effect at all ... but then, once it did actually work, I couldn't figure out why everyone didn't just start carrying around earplugs!

Date: 2015-12-06 12:26 pm (UTC)
ext_3572: (Default)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
Ahhh I totally forgot about the psych guy in AC, and that they used sound protection with him! Really, why didn't they use earplugs? Even if they're not totally guaranteed, they'd help...

Date: 2015-12-06 09:03 am (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
From: [personal profile] sholio
... And back at last with JJ thoughts. :D

My thoughts on this show slid back and forth as I watched it. For the first few episodes, I was really enjoying the blend of darkness and black humor. Then it kind of just got ... dark. This one actually went a bit darker than I'm comfortable with, not the gore so much as the level of gray morality, heroes doing things that are Kind of Not Okay, and blowing up character relationships. I did absolutely love all the Jess and Trish stuff, though (MY HEART) and Malcolm's evolution from junkie/running joke to serious plot element and from there to major supporting character. ♥

since for their last interactions he was Kilgrave'd

hahaha ... I love how the characters start using it as a verb. :D

And Kilgrave really is awful. I think he's the worst of the MCU villains so far, especially as he doesn't want to take over the world, or have any pretentions at grandeur; he isn't even particularly sadistic. He just really, truly doesn't give a damn about other people, and views them as strictly objects for his amusement, which is completely chilling.

And yeah, for all the many different sorts of mind control in the MCU, I think this is the only one that takes it to its completely horrifying ultimate expression.

Also I did not call Simpson becoming a major character - and maybe a villain later, depending on where these series goes?

Ditto! I kinda wish he hadn't gone darkside (though I wasn't expecting him to stick around; I really thought he was going to be killed) because I liked the sense of team that we were getting for awhile with the main group, and I was sad that it got blown up (er, more or less literally) and ended with everyone alone and isolated and sad. On the other hand, I did feel like this season set up a lot of dominos for future seasons -- all the hints about Jessica's backstory and the mysterious company, etc; and Simpson still running around out there, possibly still with a thing for Trish.

Am not sure how I feel about Luke's wife's murder. The fridging is so annoyingly cliche (and I don't really want Luke Cage's series to be all about that and from this it seems like it might be.)

I don't really mind the 'fridging -- for me, it doesn't really feel like a 'fridging, though I know it technically is, just because there are so many female characters, and so many deaths in the series. But I wish they hadn't tied together Luke and Jessica's storylines in that particular way. I know his wife's death is the catalyst for their meeting (I assume she's following Reva's husband around in an attempt to find closure) but it bothers me that their relationship has that at its base. I didn't really like Luke tracking down the drunk driver to kill him, either. The whole thing just hit a lot of wrong notes for me.

Overall, I loved the series going into it, but had a hard time coming back from all the dark stuff in the middle (though the last couple of episodes, especially the Jessica and Trish stuff, was pretty much my id in a nutshell, and helped a lot). I hope they get a season two, because I would really like to see what they do with it, and I'm hoping for more rebuilding and less falling apart.

Date: 2015-12-06 12:42 pm (UTC)
ext_3572: (Default)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
Yeah, the characters went a lot darker than I usually like my heroes to go...but the extent of the threat justified it for me, for the most part. They spent so much of the story showing how dangerous Kilgrave was, and how much damage he wreaked, that the lines the heroes cross don't seem like moral event horizons but aberrations. And his death wasn't a triumphant victory, but the only remaining choice.

ETA: Agreed that Kilgrave is the most horrific of all the existing MCU villains (...really it's almost a shame he's dead, because he's the kind of villain that will get other villains to work with heroes to stop, he's that bad.) (And also agreed from your comment elsewhere that the MCU's penchant for mind control, and making friends temporarily turn on one another, hits me right in the id, you can keep doing that as much as you like, MCU!)

The characters didn't seem quite so alone at the end, to me - Jessica has Malcolm right there with her, and Trish of course. And Luke was concerned about her. And Hogarth is sort of on her side (Hogarth was a pretty fascinating character, I'm curious where she's going.) Plus the nurse who I heard is from DD. It's more than Jessica starts out with - she's not better at the end by any means, but she's better than she was.

I don't really mind the 'fridging -- for me, it doesn't really feel like a 'fridging, though I know it technically is, just because there are so many female characters, and so many deaths in the series. But I wish they hadn't tied together Luke and Jessica's storylines in that particular way. I know his wife's death is the catalyst for their meeting (I assume she's following Reva's husband around in an attempt to find closure) but it bothers me that their relationship has that at its base. I didn't really like Luke tracking down the drunk driver to kill him, either. The whole thing just hit a lot of wrong notes for me.

Hmmm, yeah, I forgot about Luke going after the drunk driver, I didn't like that, either. And it worries me about his series. You could argue in JJ that Reva isn't fridged by the standard definition, because her death isn't really Luke's motivation - he's living up to her memory by running the bar, not getting vengeance or anything, not until he's pulled back into it by Jessica. But now that's been opened up, and given its apparent plot relevance, it seems likely that the Luke Cage show will have a lot about him dealing with his dead wife and that's not really what I want...

Am really curious about what a second season of JJ would be like - would they try to recapture the same tone? Or could they let it be lighter? Because I really did enjoy the characters, and it would be fun to see them under better circumstances; but most TV doesn't allow for that kind of mood shifts. OTOH, Netflix is a wildcard...
Edited Date: 2015-12-06 12:49 pm (UTC)

Date: 2015-12-06 09:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iibnf.livejournal.com
Dare Devil - I only got one ep in - it's not as good nor as popular.

Date: 2015-12-06 12:43 pm (UTC)
ext_3572: (Default)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
Yeah, that's my roommate's opinion as well, she's seen most of it and liked it okay, but not as much as JJ.
Edited Date: 2015-12-06 12:43 pm (UTC)

Date: 2015-12-06 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sheron.livejournal.com
Daredevil was great. Tbh I enjoyed it more than JJ and I think it's somewhat grimdark as well but it is ...hopeful? Also I love the three main chars <3

Date: 2015-12-06 10:09 pm (UTC)
ext_3572: (Default)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
I've seen a few people describe it as hopeful - definitely will have to check it out!

Date: 2015-12-06 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sheron.livejournal.com
For the record, I have successfully closed my eyes for most of the fight scenes and it was just fine ;-)

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