Bravo Marvel and Netflix. Bravo. You’ve done it again. After bringing us the brilliantly addictive Daredevil back in April, Marvel and Netflix have teamed up once more to produce the excellent Jessica Jones.
The recent dominance of superhero movies in cinemas has been well documented but the fact that there’s never been a more fruitful time for comic book TV shows than right now is often overlooked. 2015 has seen eight comic TV shows grace our screens with the standout shows being Daredevil, which has the gritty greatness of The Dark Knight and The Flash, a refreshingly fun and light-hearted sci-fi romp of a show. Add Jessica Jones to the list of quality comic book TV shows, as it brings something engrossingly unique to the table.
Personally I’ll consume any superhero film or TV show, but to me, the mark of a top-notch comic book adaptation is my answer to this question: Would I like it if it wasn’t comic book related? In the case of Jessica Jones – it’s a big fat YES!
Jessica Jones is unlike any superhero show we’ve ever seen before. With its strong noir flavour the show is a surprisingly adult-orientated take on the comicbook genre, even more so then Daredevil. There’s raw sex scenes, brutal violence and lots of swearing. As well as sex and violence, it also deals with very adult themes such as murder, rape and child abuse. These issues are all handled with sensitivity and are executed in a compelling ways which help to fuel the storylines. It’s not all gloom and doom though, as the show is laced with intelligently dark humour.
With plenty of twists and turns to will keep you guessing, the plotlines that run through Jessica Jones are sure to have you hooked. The combination of intriguing mystery, fun fight scenes and genuinely gripping drama means there’s something in Jessica Jones for everyone.
Don’t be afraid if you’ve never opened a comic or seen any of the previous Marvel films or TV shows as Jessica Jones requires no prior reading or watching.
From the very first moment you meet her, in a scene which sees her throwing someone through a door, you’ll realise Jessica Jones is unlike any superhero you’ve seen before. After a failed stint at superheroics led her to suffer from PTSD, she retired and became a private investigator, using her powers (super-strength, super-stamina and super-leaping) to solve mysteries in the sin-ridden city of New York. She comes across liars, cheaters, addicts and murders on a daily basis and eats them for up for breakfast.
Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad and Don’t Trust That B- in Apartment 23) plays the titular heroine and has the looks of an anime character – big bold eyes, a sharp, pointy nose and jet black hair. As Jessica Jones, her appearance is the only thing cute about her. She’s a whiskey-swilling, foul-mouthed and hot-tempered “mess of a woman” and Ritter nails every aspect of her character. Whether it’s delivering quick-witted one liners, exuding a tough personality or showing glimpses of vulnerability, Ritter delivers a majestic performance. Her mixture of quirky charm, stubborn attitude and emotional rage made her perfect for the role of Jessica Jones.
Every good comic book film/show needs a memorable villain and in that department Jessica Jones certainly doesn’t disappoint. Former Dr Who David Tennant plays the show’s big bad Kilgrave, who has the power to control the minds of other people. Tennant has you on the edge of your seat absolutely every time he appears on screen. As Kilgrave he oozes as creepy charisma which snatches your attention with a vice-like grip. At times, Kilgrave’s use of his powers will make you laugh. At other times, you’ll be sickened by what he makes people do. Similarly to Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin in Daredevil, Tennant gives a truly sinister performance but adds enough subtle layers of humanity for you to have a shred of sympathy for him.
As well as an outstanding heroine and villain combo, the show boasts great supporting characters. Carrie-Ann Moss’ (The Matrix) ruthless lawyer Jeri, Eka Darville’s (Empire) drug addict Malcom and Erin Moriarty’s(True Detective) Kilgrave-victim Hope are all fascinating characters. So too is radio host Trish (Rachael Taylor), who shares a brilliant best-friend relationship with Jessica.
And Mike Colter’s effortless portrayal of Luke Cage, who has red-hot chemistry with Jessica, will have you eagerly anticipating his own show in 2016.
Look out for Wil Traval’s cop Will Simpson, who has a very interesting arc (especially if you’ve read the classic Daredevil storyline Born Again) and twins Robyn (Colby Minifie) and Ruben (Kieran Mulcare) who have a stranger incestuous relationship than GoT’s Cersie and Jamie Lannister!
I can rave on and on about how good Jessica Jones is, but it isn’t without a few flaws with its biggest being the same as Daredevil’s. As the series goes on it builds some thrilling momentum and despite ending on a strong note, it loses a little bit of steam in the latter episodes. This is mainly due to an unnecessary focus on some supporting characters which slows down the show’s roll towards the end.
Even though some entertaining sh*t goes down, episode eleven in particular sees an on-screen absence of Kilgrave which is quite jarring at that stage in the series.
There’s also a subplot, which at first seems irrelevant but later down the line fantastically connects to the main plot. It then seems to be sharply dropped with its loose ends untied leaving you wanting somewhat of a resolution.
Jessica’s powers could have maybe looked a bit better too. The show uses clever camera tricks to display her superpowers but maybe some CGI would have made them appear more extraordinary. Of course the Marvel TV department runs on a low budget but surely they could have afforded to have some very small doses of cheap-looking CGI.
Still there’s not too much to complain about as Jessica Jones is a delight of a show. Armed with a captivating heroine, a magnetic villain and a superb script the show is guaranteed to entertain. It packs a dark and gritty punch which makes it stand out so well from what’s come before. It’s also great to see a leading female character kick some ass in a superhero scene dominated by macho males. Daredevil and Jessica Jones have both been awesome, and hopefully Marvel’s other Netflix shows, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are equally just as good, before the team up Avengers-style in The Defenders. OK, reviews over. Now go and binge on Jessica Jones!!! Season one scores a:
All 13 episodes are available to watch on Netflix now
Check out the trailer here:
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