21st Nov2015

‘Jessica Jones – Season 1’ Review

by Paul Metcalf


Jessica Jones has finally arrived on Netflix, and while some may be tiring of the superhero movies and television shows has been a lot of hope for the latest Marvel show. With a Neo-noir style and a more adult feel to it, Marvel may have a hit on their hands…

Starring Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones we meet her as a former “super hero” working as a private detective and doing her best to escape her past. With the return of an old enemy she has to revisit her old demons and defeat them, with the help of Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), new acquaintance Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and lawyer friend Jeryn Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss).

Jessica Jones is a more mature Marvel show that doesn’t pull any punches. Jessica Jones is a character who has a dark past which she escapes from through heavy drinking and getting lost in her work. With the return of Kilgrave (David Tennant) into her life though, he brings back all the demons with him that have haunted her for so long.

The show finds its strength in its complicated characters, because none of them are squeaky clean, especially not Jones. In hiding from her past and deeds that come back to haunt her, she is hiding from her “gifts” and in some way it makes the show at times feel almost Watchmen like in its focus on normal people and their past superhero lives, though in Jessica Jones of course, they really have them.

What is impressive about the show is that it is not just another superhero focused show in the normal sense. What we have with Kilgrave as the nemesis is a character that not only stalks Jones’ nightmares, but also her life. He is an abusive character whose obsession with her threatens all those around her. Add to the fact that he is able to control anybody he chooses; this makes him even more dangerous. When his history is introduced and we start to sympathise with his brutal past, things get even more complicated.

While I didn’t want to binge watch Jessica Jones, I found the story engrossing and hard to stop watching, which is why I managed to watch it in a day. While Krysten Ritter is very good as Jones, David Tennant steals the show and if anything keeps it moving when it starts to flounder. His Britishness makes him feel unique in the gritty American setting of New York, and his complicated character works to entice the audience into the dark world that Jones and Kilgrave inhabit. This is a world where people with powers are feared, with an almost “post 9/11” feel to the actions of The Avengers in New York. These are dark times for people like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.

Adding to the good work done by Ritter and Tenant, Mike Colter is also impressive as Luke Cage. With constant rumours that Cage’s show may be in doubt, seeing Colter on-screen shows that we need that show. Yes, he’ll be good in future seasons of Jessica Jones, if he features, but he also is a strong enough character to have a show in his own right.

Jessica Jones will be a show celebrated for its strong female characters and quite rightly so, especially in the case of Jones herself. One thing that impressed me was the fact that the show does not throw the fact this is a female focused show in our faces constantly. Jessica Jones is simply a bad-ass private eye who handles herself well and can overcome any problems she faces. She is broken, has many issues but in the end she is a strong person who has to overcome adversary. As a strong female character this is very welcome, and is something we need more of. Done with a feeling of equality, this strengthens the themes in the show and makes it much more effective.

Where Jessica Jones really wins out is in the volatile relationship between Kilgrave and Jones. There are story elements that will really make you question just how evil Kilgrave is, but then he’ll prove just why we should despise him. This is a well woven story that focuses on abuse and controlling relationships as a theme and how to survive them, and is intelligently written to make the audience think. The things that he has done to Jessica can never be forgiven.

I didn’t know what to expect with Jessica Jones, but now having watched it, it may be one of my favourite pieces of entertainment from Marvel. It is an adult show that doesn’t dumb itself down, and takes a look at the superhero world in a whole new way. If you are tiring of the Marvel Universe, then watch Jessica Jones because this show just may change your mind.

****½  4.5/5

Jessica Jones Season 1 is available on Netflix now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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