Luke Owen reviews the first episode of Marvel’s Jessica Jones…
Welcome to the darkest corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Jessica Jones.
From the outset, Jessica Jones presents itself as a totally different show to not just the rest of the MCU, but its Netflix brother show Daredevil. Jones is fairly foul mouthed, she’s incredibly surly and totally unlikeable, and it doesn’t take long for a rather strong sex scene to come to the forefront. It may seem tame when compared to something like Game of Thrones, but it’s pretty shocking for a show that bares the Marvel branding. But this more ‘adult’ tone really works in the show’s favour. It lets you know that you’re in for a very dark ride, and you should strap yourself in. Jessica Jones is not your ordinary hero, and we’re thrown deep into her journey the second the show kicks off.
What’s great about the first episode is that it gives us everything we need to know about her powers without showing them off. Despite the use of narration, Jones never once says “I have super strength” or “I can fly”, and instead we’re subtly told what she’s capable of and allows the audience to work it out for themselves. This is quite similar to how they did in Daredevil, but here it works all the better because she’s trying to hide who she really is. The smallest of things like Jones looking up at a ledge that she could probably jump to, and instead deciding to take the stairs is truly fantastic.
And a huge part of that is the great performance from Krysten Ritter. Jessica Jones could be a very opinion-splitting character given that there is little redeeming about her, but Ritter sells her plight and dependency on alcohol perfectly. Her surliness comes through in every scene as she ‘urgh’s her way through almost every conversation, and never before in the MCU have we come across a lead character that is so easy to dislike. But there is something about her that is likeable, like there is a hero inside her that’s waiting to come out – she just doesn’t want to let her.
Like Kingpin in Daredevil, the reveal of Kilgrave is being kept in the shadows for the first episode. He’s talked about, but rarely seen which makes him all the more threatening. But it’s one thing to talk about the powers a villain has, and a totally different one to show them. And Jessica Jones brilliantly shows us the powers of Kilgrave by the closing moments of the first episode without him even being present. It’s the perfect end to a great opening episode, and an awesome set-up for what’s to come.
A strong opening episode for a series. It sets up the world we’re going to spend the next 13-hours of our lives in, introduces us to our heroine without overdoing it, and gives us a villain that we know we should be scared of. If Jessica Jones can maintain this wave coming into the episode two and three, this could be a tremendous entry into the MCU and a possible Daredevil beater.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and a contributor on The Flickering Myth Movie Show. You can follow him on Twitter @ThisisLukeOwen.