TV Series Review
Jessica Jones made a run at being a traditional superhero, but it didn't go so well.
Now she's just a private detective trying to pay the bills—drinking too much, sleeping too little and shedding her clothes for the ocassional guy who strikes her fancy. Oh, she's still got some pretty nifty skills she uses in a pinch: Her superstrength comes in handy when she needs to, say, break into a mark's apartment. She might not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but she can lithely jump onto a fire escape to better peer into a bedroom window.
The law? It's more an impediment than anything else. Order? Have you seen her office? If you're looking for one of those truth-and-justice types, best head to National City (to find Supergirl) or Central City (for the Flash) or, hey, even look around Jessica's own Hell's Kitchen neighborhood for Daredevil. This girl doesn't have time for rigorous do-gooding.
"She's not really trying to save the city," Krysten Ritter, who plays Jessica, told Collider. "She's just trying to save her apartment."
Do Bad Guys Make Good Good Guys?
Are we being too hard on Jessica? Perhaps. She still wants to help when she can. She'd like to put some bad guys away (maybe terminally). In the first season, for instance, she's trailing Kilgrave, an old beau of hers—one who has the ability to twist the minds of people he comes in contact with. Jessica knows all too well what a bad, bad, almost demonic man Kilgrave is. She still suffers from the trauma of their relationship, and she really would like to run away, but she decides to stay and fight—both for her sake and the city's.
As Jessica's best friend, Trish, tells her, she's "better equipped to deal with that mind than some innocent girl from Omaha."
But therein lies the rub with this well-crafted Netflix series. Jessica is no innocent and doesn't pretend to be. "There's no tidying her up," executive producer Jeph Loeb told Entertainment Tonight. And that makes for a very messy show.
In keeping with the noirish, hard-boiled private eye vibe, Jessica Jones drinks like a thirsty St. Bernard. When she's not actively drinking, she's likely drunk. If she's not drunk, she's probably hung over. (Liquor bottles litter her nightstand. Eighty-proof alcohol fills her canteen.) Rotten language, though, goes far beyond what you'd hear Humphry Bogart's Sam Spade say back in the day: S-words are common, for instance. Jessica's also intimately involved with Luke Cage—a bar-owning superhuman from around the corner. They didn't think about waiting 'til marriage. They didn't even wait for a first date, really. And their sexual exploits, along with lots of other ones, can get pretty grimy, graphic and very noisy here.
"[Jessica Jones] is dark, and I mean dark," writes Alisha Grauso for filmschoolrejects.com. "It deals with adult themes that not even Daredevil touched in its first season. While both series have earned a TV-MA rating, Daredevil earned it largely for violence, whereas Jessica Jones will earn the rating mainly for sexually explicit scenes and themes, and a lot of them. … Rape and sexual abuse aren’t themes often explored in our entertainment. They’re too real, too raw. They fill us with a repulsion and horror from a place that comes from deep within, because it’s the sort of violent act that breaks not just the body, but the spirit. Jessica Jones will not tone down that damage for the sake of delicate sensitivities."
A Matter of Superhero Maturity
With Jessica Jones, Netflix confirms that Daredevil was just the beginning. That it's not messing around with its grim, sometimes gruesome take on superheroes. Based on Marvel's gritty, risqué source material, Jessica is as unlikable a hero as you're likely to meet, dispensing with the aspirational heroism typically associated with superheroes. And the "mature audiences" label the show bears can be largely attributed to the immaturity of its central character.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones; Rachael Taylor as Trish Walker; Eka Darville as Malcolm Ducasse; David Tennant as Kilgrave; Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth; Wil Traval as Will Simpson; Susie Abromeit as Pam; Mike Colter as Luke Cage; Erin Moriarty as Hope Shlottman; Robin Weigert as Wendy Ross-Hogarth