In a sentence: Action, comedy, drama, mystery and superpowers – it’s got it all.
The first episode of this show is kind of its own red herring. It comes off as a darker, drunker, but still very smart mouthed Veronica Mars private investigator story with bonus superpowers. Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) saves the day and it all feels pretty average, but then things take a sudden surprising turn in the final minutes and it had me hooked.
The show really excels in this area, whatever you think is about to happen rarely does and what does happen is often crazier, more violent and far more complex than you’d ever imagine. The constant bait and switch makes for utterly compelling viewing. You never know what’s coming next and it continues to draw you in, twist after twist until it all comes to a satisfying conclusion.
The next thing that immediately stands out is the camera work. There is some great stuff here. It seems like if there was an arty way to take the shot that’s what they always went for. Fences and stairwells seem to be the specialty here, some of the coolest shots of those elements I’ve seen. The view is often obscured or framed by the surrounding environment, or the camera placed at an odd angle with plenty of other little visual tricks scattered throughout. In short it’s incredibly well made with a strong visual style. The painterly intro is also pretty cool.
The story is quite dark filled with death, rape and lies. While it does a good job of giving these subjects the weight they deserve, there is also a welcome lightness to it. Jessica has some great sarcastic or dismissive retorts throughout and there is a good sprinkling of comedy to even out the heaviness. My favourite humorous line was an exchange between Jessica and her high powered and shifty lawyer Hogarth (Played by Trinity from The Matrix – Carrie-Anne Moss)
Hogarth: “You’re coming across as paranoid.”
Jessica: “Everyone keeps saying that, it’s like a conspiracy.”
And this one
Story wise it’s about Jessica chasing down a super evil Brit (played by Doctor Who‘s David Tennant) with the power of mind control. Along the way she is joined by fellow Marvel superhero Luke Cage who apart from being huge and strong has unbreakable skin, her best and only friend Trish (Aussie Rachel Taylor) a famous talk show host and Krav Maga trainee, the aforementioned lawyer and a few other side characters who are all given a lot of depth. You’ll legitimately care what happens to most of them along the way.
It’s great stuff and as a single season it is well rounded and “complete” the fact they are making another season actually kind of annoys me. Like 13 Reasons Why, this was very much a standalone story with a slow build up to a big conclusion (with admittedly a few hints as to what might be to come in this case regarding a shady organisation who are likely experimenting with creating superpowers). Sure they can tell some other stories, but it’s going to be really hard to live up to the first season for both of these great shows.