I have just finished watching the latest Netflix/Marvel TV show, Luke Cage. This is another great series which compliments the gritty realism of the other Marvel TV shows. Alongside Jessica Jones, Dare Devil and next year’s Iron Fist, these shows will all come together under the defenders arch – a show combining all four of our ‘heroes’, which will be released next year.
Personally, I am loving the Marvel/Netflix tie-ins and long may they continue. The grounded feel of these shows widely contrasts to the fantastical MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) which although fun, puts too much emphasis on CGI effects and cramming in as many characters as possible at the expense of real character development. In Dare Devil watching Matt Murdoch transform from a shy lawyer into reluctant saviour is awesome to witness whilst Jessica Jone’s intriguing love/hate relationship with her ex-partner and now nemesis Killgrave is equally as engrossing
Luke Cage is similar in feel and I am really loving the fact that these are heroes from the street – a massive contrast to the other-worldly feel of heroes like Iron Man, Hulk and Thor, whose fantastical powers mean they are difficult to relate to. Conversely, our TV heroes are average joes with average jobs who have daily struggles – just like anyone else working and living in a big city like New York. It’s their reluctance to be anything more than themselves and not’ big hero brands’ is what I find endearing and relatable.
Now don’t get me wrong. There have been some great marvel films over the last decade. The first two Iron Man’s, the first avengers and the most recent Captain America (Which was fantastic) spring to mind. But, you feel like you are watching something that has so much more depth and meaning when you watch an episode of Jessica Jones than say watching Thor knocking out an Alien flat with his god-like Mjolnir hammer.
Of course, you need to bear a couple of things in mind. Firstly, TV shows, in general, have the huge advantage of having the time and scope to develop characters properly and at a steady pace. You could argue that this is one reason why the adaptation of Dare Devil on to the big screen pales in comparison to the TV show, and not just because of Ben Affleck’s terrible acting. You also have to consider the fact that Netflix, who are renowned for edgy content, are co-producing the shows. Therefore the feel of these shows will be much more akin to something like Narcos or House of Cards then something from the MCU. And by that token, Disney dictate the tone and feel of the marvel movies – so that they are on brand with the strong ‘family friendly’ values of the company. Put it this way there is no chance that Disney would ever commission a film version of Jessica Jones, a character who is a traumatised rape victim with severe mental health issues, unless it was enormously watered down.
In truth both the Marvel tv shows and films cater to different audiences. So whilst I may be the target demographic for the former there is nothing wrong with having both alongside each other. Would you really want young kids watching extremely violent shows about rape, Harlem gangs and general brutality in New York? Of course not. Marvel cater different content for different audiences and that’s only a positive thing.