Jessica Jones Review

Jessica Jones Review: Netflix's Latest Marvel Series Is, Fittingly, Quite Strong

grade_A-It’d be simplistic though not inaccurate to say that whereas TV’s DC Comics-based series are very much about heroes doing super things, Netflix’s ever-unspooling slate of Marvel dramas — including Jessica Jones, which releases its 13-episode Season 1 on Friday — tend to focus on what these extraordinary individuals are up to between the saving of lives and fighting of crime.Marvel's Jessica Jones

There’s also a drastic difference in pacing for the Netflix fare, as Daredevil and now Jessica Jones repeatedly demonstrate. For example, can you imagine Arrow spending a long minute on Oliver sitting quietly in the back of a taxi cab, his mind full of colliding thoughts? And yet we see Jessica do just that, as she struggles to come to terms with an improbable, ghastly truth. Consider it a perk of commercial-free streaming and how those “missed” minutes add up.

Krysten Ritter (Don’t Trust the B—-, Breaking Bad) winningly fills the title role, delivering caustic cutdowns in a way that’s almost as debilitating as the character’s intermittent feats of superhuman strength. Jessica mans a one-woman private eye operation, an occupation that mines her keen skills of observation and where her muscle merely proves handy, such as when ripping off padlocks like masking tape. Ritter’s lithe, unassuming build Marvel's Jessica Jonesonly makes Jessica’s effortless hurling of burly he-men across a bar a more provocative visual.

Said bar belongs to Luke Cage, cast as perfectly as the Marvel character could possibly be with The Good Wife‘s Mike Colter. (It’s no great spoiler to say that he and Jessica have a hook-up; it may arouse your interest to know, though, that the encounter makes the most of Netflix’s freer reigns, involving as it does two, ahem, extraordinarily resilient people.) Rounding out Jessica’s world are Rachael Taylor (666 Park Avenue) as Trish “Don’t Call Me Patty” Walker, a local news personality who’s inclined to overprotect her P.I. pal (and who may have secrets of her own), and Carrie-Ann Moss (The Matrix) as Jeryn Hogarth, an elite attorney whose firm occasionally recruits Jess despite her “methods” (when she herself is not juggling torrid personal drama; cue Devious Maids‘ Susie Abromeit as Jer’s comely assistant).

Soliciting and servicing clients for her Alias Investigations is almost incidental to Jessica as the series unfolds, seeing as a new case dredges up dark, dark memories of Kilgrave, a malevolent man who in a different time preyed on Jessica using his powers of mind control. Marvel's Jessica JonesAs played by Doctor Who‘s David Tennant, you quickly get the sense that this villain has no redeeming qualities, which makes Jessica’s sense of dread all the more palpable.

I recently tweeted, as I watched Supergirl, that I’ve perhaps hit “peak superhero lairs,” seeing as no less than, what, four different series now feature glossy, hi-tech hubs of well-staffed superhero activity? Jessica Jones, especially as a Daredevil chaser, is a palate cleanser for that, following as it does a lone wolf stationed in drab Hell’s Kitchen who’s lucky to have an office door on its hinges. With its aforementioned languid, jazz-scored looks at the calms between Jessica’s storms — and make no mistake, the fight sequences when they come around are a visceral thrill — its 13-episode run promises an in-depth study of one super-intense woman.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: Hmm, I think you feel a cold coming on. Better play it safe and call in sick Friday. Yeah.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. garlick2 says:

    Super excited for this….I couldn’t take the bubbly nature of Supergirl, so this will hopefully be a good dark watch, just like Daredevil was.

    • I am definitely way more excited to watch Jessica Jones than Supergirl, even though I love that show as well!

      • DavidJ says:

        Agreed. I’m as a big a fan of the lighter superhero shows (especially when they’re as much fun as Supergirl and Flash), as I am of the darker and heavier superhero shows like Daredevil.

        With how many superheroes are running around in movies and on TV these days, it’s nice to have a bit of variety in tone between them all.

    • Dude says:

      Our generation’s willness to embrace anything dark and cynical and reject anything happy and earnest is exactly why we are the worst generation.

      • DL says:

        I think it has to do with the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been mostly bright and comedic thus far. People are just looking for a change of pace. You seem to be reading a lot into this.

  2. ladyluck527 says:

    If I still haven’t watched Daredevil yet, do I need to watch it before I watch this?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Not at all. It feels like the same world (since it is), but there’s zero prerequisite.

      • ImperatoreFormaggio says:

        Found Daredevil to be a bleak unenjoyable misanthropic mess.
        Does this series have the same cynical and nihilistic tone?

        • TinLV says:

          I enjoyed Daredevil, so much I’m watching it again with my husband before the new season starts ( when is that anyway ??).. It had a dark tone, but it was so well written and staged, it was engrossing from the first episode. The backstory was compelling and the story had the most multi-layered villian I’ve seen yet in any of these ‘superhero” adaptions. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it. I like it best so far of all the Marvel endeavors on TV. But I do plan to tune in to Jessica Jones as it sounds like a show I will enjoy watching.

    • Isobel says:

      No, though it’s a great show if you want to check it out later ;)

  3. autumnd23 says:

    Thanks for the review. I’m definitely interested in the noir aspect of the series as well as David Tennant (who is the best). However, I have a hard time with extreme gore, excessive profanity, and tons of explicit love scenes (I, for instance, do not watch Game of Thrones). Is this going to be a problem? Or is this a mild TV-MA with just a scene or two? I’m just wondering if I should tune into this or not.

  4. Brian says:

    After watching the first episode last month at NYCC and loving it, I can’t wait to watch the rest of the 12 episodes.

  5. Having seen the pilot at NYCC this year (be jealous lol), I can say this show will at least be as good as Daredevil if not better!

  6. Jayemay says:

    Just confirming, this review is for the full 13 episode run, not just the first three episodes or something, right?

  7. A-, not surprised. I’m certain it’ll be awesome.

  8. Courtney says:

    Watched the Pilot at Comic Con and it was absolutely amazing. I enjoy Daredevil, but JJ was outstanding. It had a Veronica Mars’ vibe which I really liked. Krysten impressed me so much too. I can’t wait to watch the rest of the episodes!

  9. Jay says:

    I personally prefer DC shows and not a huge fan of Marvel comics but the Netflix series are perfect on every level. The cast of Jessica Jones is what made me want to watch and Daredevil was way better than I initially thought it would be.

  10. Nichole says:

    Am looking forward to this. Netflix with Daredevil brought a darker tone to the superhero show that I haven’t found in others (can’t talk for Arrow, don’t watch that one). After sampling the first episode of Supergirl and being left with the feeling that a 12 year old with glitter sticks had exploded on TV (no offence to 12yr olds, or glitter sticks, intended), a female superhero show with darker tones is very much needed!

  11. dan says:

    First episode was really dark and amazing. I don’t know if I will be able to see David Tennant as a villain yet after being a fan of his stint as the Doctor though.

    • Maggie says:

      Tennant is my favorite Doctor, yet I love seeing him do things that are different from The Doctor. I’ve watched him in Hamlet, The Escape Artist, Broadchurch, Spies of Warsaw and Fright Night, but Jessica Jones is the biggest departure from The Doctor yet. Kilgrave is the polar opposite of The Doctor, and Tennant is awesome being so revoltingly disgusting. So vile and creepy, it may be awhile before I can watch any of his Doctor Who episodes again.

      While Tennant may have gotten me to watch this, I have to say the entire main cast is great. Krysten Ritter is perfect as Jessica. Having been a huge fan of Veronica Mars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s great to have a new show that fills the void that they left.

  12. homzy says:

    where did Jessica get her powers and what are her powers?