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Show Review: Marvel's Jessica Jones (Spoiler Free)

Updated on November 24, 2015
Show poster for Jessica Jones
Show poster for Jessica Jones | Source

My Initial Impression

So, my wife and I binge-watched the show the date after it came out, seeing the first 11 episodes and finishing the last two the next morning. Yeah, I tend to avoid binge-watching myself.

Acting was absolutely fantastic. There are more than few characters that become intensely unlikeable and you love to hate them. Acting is fantastic, especially among the leading actors. The plot is also very self-contained, meaning you don't have to watch much else in the Marvel lineup (including Daredevil) to appreciate this film. It doesn't do that much to expand the universe, but in the little ways it does it does well.

My only complaint is that it losing some of its accessibility through some implicit sex scenes (which I'll get into its rating more later), but the rest of the violence and gore can be attributed to its source material (which was when Marvel was attempting to make an adult-oriented comic series).

And this is because this is not a superhero show. Sure, there are people with powers, but it's first and foremost a drama. There's some action here and there, but the show does things differently compared to the rest of the shared universe.

Krysten Ritter as the titular character
Krysten Ritter as the titular character | Source

The Plot

While not really a superhero film (at least, no in the ways of the Avengers or even Daredevil), Jessica Jones is the first female 'superhero' to lead her own original series in this new media age of superheroes. That's a C-list hero (or worse) that made it before Wonder Woman gets her own film.

Still, the show does a different and yet still a wonderful thing. One of its main themes and plot pushers is rape. Now, hear me out. Rape (in the physical sense) is not depicted in the show, rather the rape of the main character occurs before the show even starts. It's what rape has done to the character and how she struggles with it that helps the main character in her personal struggles with distancing her friends, her self-image, and defending others that are like her, abused by those with power over them. I read an article recently that goes into more detail about it, but it's interesting when so many other show depict the act itself (like Game of Thrones) and that's the highlight, not the character's evolution in conquering that event in their life.

As for the rest of the plot, the show is strongest in the beginning and middle and is fairly gripping during the last act. I say fairly only because I complain that it's a list of characters doing stupid things to further the time before the actual final confrontation. I enjoyed the series in its full, sure, but many situations seemed to take an 'easy way out' before forcing the final showdown, making one or more characters doing a stupid thing. Yes, I know the main villain isn't going to be captured and all issues resolved halfway through the season, but I wonder if there wasn't a better way to handle it. It's a minor complaint but it's there and you'll notice it.

David Tennant as Kilgrave, known otherwise in the comics as the Purple Man
David Tennant as Kilgrave, known otherwise in the comics as the Purple Man | Source

The Villain(s)/ People you Love to Hate

My wife and I finally started watching the Tennant seasons of Doctor Who and we're very happy with them. After watching Jessica Jones, we're a little more uneasy with his character. Tennant plays Kilgrave to a 'T,' but that's only after a third of the season happening without him, only his actions and the people he's affected along the way. In fact, when he first makes a physical appearance, I was disappointed because the aura the character had without being seen was absolutely terrifying. Of course, Tennant's acting becomes a force of nature itself and my complaints were washed away.

I recently created a list of Marvel villains ranked to which I observed the numerous failings of the villains compared to the heroes. Kilgrave is a world destroying monster for the people he comes across. It's horrifying when you consider a villain who can dominate your will so profoundly that you can do nothing against him.

But he's not the only person you'll hate. The lawyer Hogarth (played by Carrie-Ann Moss who also played Trinity in The Matrix), a loose ally of Jessica Jones, is a monster of a different sort, even if she operates as a sort of necessary evil. Almost every action she performs causes you to hate her more and more and the show seems to enjoy riding that downward slope. Other characters, including Jessica, will make decisions and act in ways that are despicable in ways that are like a delicious toxic; you'll want more, no matter how terrible that character may be. One character in particular flips alignments enough that you'll struggle exactly with how you feel about them.

Hogarth (played by Carrie-Anne Moss) and Jones
Hogarth (played by Carrie-Anne Moss) and Jones | Source

The Rating

It's a show not for children, nor for happy family time viewings. There's considerable profanity and violence, and one more than a couple scenes that will twist your stomach (like pushing a needle through someone's eye or a young child that starts oozing blood from every orifice on his face). These scenes are somewhat infrequent but will catch you off guard.

As for sexual content, there's quite a bit. There's nothing nude (the closest you get to a bare bottom is a woman wearing a thong seen with binoculars), but there are implicit sex scenes that take only a small imagination to see what's happening. Sure, there's a little humor in one or two scenes of it, but it's not that necessary for the show. It's not as bad as anything on HBO though.

Absolutely fantastic trailer

Closing Thoughts

As long as you don't expect a family-fun film or even a superhero film, Marvel's Jessica Jones is fantastic. Acting is on point and the plot never really slows down (it occasionally takes a detour but when it does it does it fantastically, never dropping your attention). It has the barest connection to the other Marvel series Daredevil but that makes it self-contained. It's a smart show and is aware of itself and I find it difficult to point out things that I had issues with. The issues I have are little and insignificant.

Whether or not you're a fan of Marvel, you might find yourself enjoying Jessica Jones.

Tl;dr

  • first female superhero show/film but isn't really a superhero film
  • Excellent acting
  • Engrossing plot without speedbumps
  • Creep factor up to 11
  • Not family friendly (see above)
  • Self-contained

Do you plan on seeing this show?

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Further Reading

If you're interested in hearing some of my thoughts regarding other MCU properties, click one of the links below.

Worst Villains in Marvel, Ranked

What to Expect Next for the MCU: Civil War

Age of Ultron Discussion: It's Effects on the MCU

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