Title: Jessica Jones
Air Date: November 20, 2015
Genre: Action, Detective, Drama, Psychological Thriller, Superhero
With the release of “Jessica Jones” on November 20, we finally have a gritty female superhero that can set a standard for future projects.
Netflix’s newest Marvel series seems to encourage binge-watching even more than the last, with all 13 episodes of the addictive “Jessica Jones” having been released at once. Both long-time fans and newbies to the comic book character will be hooked from the first episode, with all of Jessica’s spunk and mysterious past thrown at you from the very start. The show has plenty of surprising twists, keeping the viewer in suspense from the moment Jessica throws a client through her window to the final fight.
The beginning of the show was fantastic, as it introduces Jessica Jones in an exact scene taken from “Alias,” a comic book about the super-heroine. Jessica is a private investigator, whose office is also her apartment. The first scene shows her confronting a client with information about his cheating wife. The client becomes angry, blaming Jessica for his marriage problems, and the next thing you know, Jessica throws her client through the glass of her door. “And then there’s the matter of the bill.” Not only is this opening great because it shows Jessica’s personality right from the start, but it’s also a nod to the comics, offering fans a small bit of what they already know and love.
The series focuses on Jessica and her associates as they struggle with Kilgrave AKA “The Purple Man” (although he’s not exactly purple in the show). While Jessica’s story line is obviously the main one, and thus the most fleshed-out, her other friends also grow and change throughout the 13 episodes as they help Jessica become a hero. These other characters include Trish Walker, a former child star and the best friend/sister of Jessica; Jeri Hogarth, a tough lawyer; Malcolm Ducasse, Jessica’s neighbor; and Will Simpson, a cop who wants to get back at Kilgrave for using him. Luke Cage also plays a significant part in Jessica’s story, although he is due for his own Netflix show in 2016 and, therefore, doesn’t have his full story told here.
For those of you who enjoyed Netflix’s previous Marvel series “Daredevil,” you will love “Jessica Jones.” While Jones herself is more of an investigative superhero, she deals with a lot of dark things from her past on her way to finding peace, similar to Matt Murdock in some ways. The two series even inhabit the same place in the Marvel Universe, which hopefully promises for more of a crossover in the future.
Kyrsten Ritter plays Jessica Jones perfectly, encapsulating her character and bringing her to life in a way that’s even more compelling than the comics. Jessica is tough and snarky, with a physical reaction to the world that says she doesn’t care when she actually does. Ritter does an excellent job of portraying these qualities, as well as the brokenness that Jessica holds inside from her traumatic past. While Jessica is just as likely to punch someone in the face as she is to do something nice for someone, she somehow comes across as a lovable character nonetheless, and we are left rooting for her no matter what she decides to do.
Perhaps one of the most interesting and compelling characters other than Jessica Jones is actually Kilgrave. David Tennant manages to make him both a terrifying villain and a man to be sympathized with, which is something completely unexpected. Kilgrave is a creepy, obsessive character who gets whatever he wants with his mind control powers, but as more of his story gets revealed throughout the season, he becomes easier to identify with. I mean, who wouldn’t go a little crazy if your parents abandoned you, and the woman you love hated you so much she wanted to kill you? However, Kilgrave’s methods of dealing with his past show that he truly is a villain and one that will not stop until he gets what he wants. For fans of BBC’s “Doctor Who,” this role for David Tennant may come as a bit of a shock. Yet Tennant’s portrayal of Barty Crouch Jr. in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” had already shown that he had the potential to play a much darker character before he even knew he would be the Doctor.
“Jessica Jones” is an unpredictable, thrilling series that explores a lot of different themes. It’s smart, funny, and quite realistic for being a show about a superhero. Even with only 13 episodes this first season, the story is captivating from start to finish. And with such strong characters, you can be sure there will be a second season.
Story: “Jessica Jones” is an excellent example of what a show about a female superhero should be like. While there are slower parts to the story, they are well balanced with the action sequences. The viewer discovers Jessica’s past gradually throughout, which gives an excellent draw during the entire series and hooks you in. In addition, the series addresses a lot of darker topics, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, with grace as well as seriousness.
Acting/Characters: Each of the characters has great depth, with even minor characters growing throughout the series. Kyrsten Ritter as Jessica Jones is brilliant, bringing the comic book character to a life. David Tennant as Kilgrave is also fantastic. “The Purple Man” was previously thought to have only one layer, but Tennant shows a multitude and allows viewers to have an empathetic response to the villain.
Cinematography: Being closely related to “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones” finds a lot of similar camera work. The angles are often shot from places you might not expect, but they still provide interest without distracting or taking away from the show itself.
Organization: This series starts off slow, as the viewer spends time unraveling the character of Jessica Jones. Like any good detective show, one mystery is solved and another two will appear from that. However, the show does not drag on; each discovery the characters make is important, and will be used at some point in the future. As “Jessica Jones” reaches its final episodes, the action increases appropriately, and the final moments are some of the best in the whole series.