Howdy people of the internet, time for the review that I’ve been waiting all year to do that isn’t Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I am of course talking about Marvel’s Jessica Jones. After bleeding through Daredevil earlier this year, I’ve been ready for this to drop and while the trailers were definitely interesting, it didn’t hype me up as much as I was expecting. But now that it’s out, I binged it over the last two days and finished it this morning around 7am. 😛 So after seeing the first season I’m ready to pass judgement in this spoiler-free review.
“Following a tragic end to her brief superhero career, Jessica Jones tries to rebuild her life as a private investigator, dealing with cases involving people with remarkable abilities in New York City.“
Best way I can describe Jessica Jones is that it is an intense character-focused drama with psychological thriller and horror elements incorporated. It’s hard to talk about the story without getting into spoiler territory, but to suffice to say it worth the watch. People going into this expecting the usual Marvel adventures found in the films will be in for quite a shock as JJ is probably the darkest corner of the MCU put into live-action so far. Daredevil opened up the MCU to this grounded and realistic street-level realm of superhero antics with action, violence, moral and ethical areas of grey and the crime drama stuff, and JJ takes those foundations and creates a deeper, more mature world. JJ is very blunt about the topics it covers especially when it comes to PTSD, sex, rape, drugs, death, violence and psychological battles, it really is about power and control; who has it and how it can be used to influence, help or break those around you. JJ can be shocking, unnerving, gruesome and downright wrong to witness what goes down over the course of these 13 episodes, however, thanks to the great team of writers and directors headed by showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, these can be some of the most gripping, tension-filled and memorable TV in recent memory especially for a Marvel property. There were also some references to the MCU film universe and Daredevil, nothing major, but they were notable and worked when used. I will admit that the series isn’t perfect, certain stories that are tied to specific characters aren’t as interesting as others, the amount of sex in the show while necessary for certain scenes at the same time felt unnecessary and some plot points towards the end didn’t get the conclusion I had hoped for. I feel like this show will divide the Marvel fan base due to its stories, action on-screen and the personality of the main protagonist, Jessica.
The cast really do an amazing job in this show and some more than others deliver some truly memorable performances. Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones was awesome, at first I wasn’t sure her physical frame and acting skills would suit someone like Jessica, luckily Ritter proves that she’s got the right stuff for the role, for the most part. Jessica has a bad attitude, short fuse and rarely let’s anyone help her, but behind her exterior there’s a tortured and fractured soul whose past won’t let go of her, and because of current events that tie back to her own she feels compelled to take action by any means necessary. I was great learning about this character, why she acts like she does and seeing her go from a super badass to a crumbling mess was great, and Ritter did such a lovely job with her material, though as times I which she was a little more physically imposing and aggressive. Mike Colter as Luke Cage, man, what a beast! I loved this guy, Luke is a very smart, polite and keeps to himself at first, but once he interacts with Jessica and starts to become integrated into the main plot he becomes so much more interesting, dramatic and aggressive. Colter has such a great screen presence, carries himself well and can be so charming and funny, but then can be so intimidating and scary, when he’s allowed to flex his skills I loved it. Together, Ritter and Colter have a good on-screen relationship and their chemistry is nice, at first it’s not quite as strong, but later on down the road these two really find their groove. Rachael Taylor also does a good job as Trish “Patsy” Walker, at first Trish was a little bland and besides being associated with Jessica, there wasn’t much to her, but later on she’s fleshed out and becomes a much more interesting person down the line. I liked the bond between Jessica and Trish and how by the end of the season it really highlights how much their connection matters.
Wil Traval was an unexpectedly intriguing character as Will Simpson, at first I wasn’t sure if I’d like his involvement in the show, but in the latter half he really steps up and becomes one hell of a character to lookout for and Traval was awesome. Erin Moriarty was very captivating as Hope Shlottman, this girl has quite an emotional journey in this show and I was surprised by how much she affected me, Moriarty’s acting was top-notch and really made me care for her character. Eka Darville was also good as Malcolm Ducasse, at first I wasn’t sure if there was much to his character beyond his earlier appearances, but then he really steps up and becomes a really useful character full of insight and good morals. Carrie-Anne Moss, man, she was really good as Jeri Hogarth, this is a powerful and cutthroat kind of lady who only does things for her own gain and Moss was extremely great in this role. Also have to give shout outs to Susie Abromeit as Pam, Lisa Emery as Louise Thompson and Kieran Mulcare as Ruben. But the biggest praise has to go to David Tennant as Kilgrave, damn, what a performance. Kilgrave is now easily in the top 3 villains of the MCU alongside Wilson Fisk and Loki. This is a man with mind controlling abilities and while he doesn’t view himself as a bad guy, he certainly does a lot of terrible things. I love how charismatic and versatile he is when it comes to how he interacts with people, sometimes he can be really calm, other times really humourous or sometimes he loses his shit and gets super aggressive. This guy is all sorts of nasty, he’s sadistic, disturbing, rude, volatile and has next to no redeeming qualities, and yet he is such an engaging character and I loved every minute he was on-screen as he was magnetic. Tennant is absolutely fabulous here and because the character’s backstory, history with Jessica and interactions with several people over the course of the season, it allows him to show several forms of his personality, emotion and twisted version of logic.
When it came to the presentation it is very good for the most part. Visually I love the way the show looks, the cinematography is so good with beautiful shots of New York City’s various locations during the day through to the night, I really like the attention to detail when it came to use of colouring and lighting, everything really popped while watching on my TV screen as there was such a great sense of clarity and sharpness in the picture quality. As for the use of CGI, it is minimal and sometimes it looks good and other times not as good, the same could be said for the action, some of it was really cool, well-choreographed and badass, and some were a little too short and not as interesting. I have to say I liked the use of make-up and practical effects for some of the more violent stuff as it was very realistic and impressive to watch. Oh and I cannot forget to mention the JJ intro, it is so mysterious, abstract-looking and sassy, it looks really cool and gives a brief illustration of the tone and actions of the show and it really helps that the theme song by Sean Callery is excellent. I love that jazzy theme, but not only that his entire score for the show is a very different and unexpected beast with its jazz references being quite smooth and sensual but also being quite loud, aggressive and crazy, this soundtrack really makes the world of JJ come to life.
Comparisons to Daredevil
Now something I’ve seen in the comments section of each episode review that IGN were doing was people comparing this show to Daredevil, with some saying it was worse, some saying it was better and some saying it was on-par. So I thought I’d give my two cents on this subject. Jessica Jones certainly does a few things better when it comes to the depth and development of its main characters, that being said Daredevil was certainly better when it came to the action sequences and its fight choreography, plus the plot was a little more straightforward. All that aside, I have to ask: can’t both shows coexist without the moaning and bitching about which is better? Everyone has their preference, some may like the action-heavy crime stuff with Daredevil, while others may be drawn more to the psychological and drama events of Jessica Jones, either way both shows are great, and while I do prefer Daredevil because I’m an action junkie, I won’t deny that JJ had stories and specific moments that will stay in my mind for a while after my first viewing. Basically I like both, nuff said haha.
In conclusion Marvel’s Jessica Jones is another successful TV show that brings us closer to the Defenders series. I’ve heard people bitch and complain that the show’s “boring” or “not edgy enough” or “not like Daredevil” and to them I say shut up. JJ succeeds in being one of the best character-focused TV shows I’ve seen in a while with really engaging and memorable performances, good action and some of the most disturbing, scary and cruel stories to come out of the MCU so far. It probably won’t be for everyone, but if you can handle the hard-hitting nature of this series you’ll find a lot to love and appreciate about this show.
So have you seen Jessica Jones and if so so what do you think of it? Do you believe its dark and mature subject matter was handled effectively or not and how do you think it compares to Daredevil? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters. 🙂