The second season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones is here, and has received broadly positive reviews from critics.
The Netflix show, which stars Krysten Ritter as the private eye with super strength, has been praised for roles that break with gender stereotypes.
The New York Times said the second season’s premiere was “well timed for the Time’s Up moment”.
The paper’s critic Mike Hale said it “inverts some familiar situations and characterisations”.
He wrote: “We’ve seen a powerful person’s downward spiral play out in a room with multiple hookers, cocaine and embarrassing dancing, but that person usually isn’t a woman.
“We’ve seen protagonists whose bottled-up anger turns them sullen, violent and heedless of others, but they’re usually men…
“These depictions are interesting to parse and refreshing to see.”
Alexandra Pollard, writing for The Telegraph, said: “That it was written and filmed pre-Weinstein allegations, and that the show’s largely female creative team examined toxic masculinity before the current cultural moment forced everyone to do so, is just one of the markers of its brilliance.”
Similarly, Wired‘s Angela Wattercutter said: “Season two is coming at a fortuitous time for Netflix, but it doesn’t mean the streaming service had to lean in on Jones’s themes in order to capitalise on the moment – those aspects were already there.”
Vulture‘s Matt Zoller Seitz said: “Ritter is terrific here, even when the dialogue isn’t, and there’s a thrill to watching her play the sort of charismatic, suffering jerk role that is typically only offered to male stars.”
Gender roles aside, the show’s second series got a warm reaction – although some critics said it didn’t quite match up to the first.
Writing for IndieWire, Liz Shannon Miller said: “Damn, is it good to be hanging out with Jessica Jones again.
“While the narrative surrounding her takes too long to find cohesion, it still results in a searing, in-depth character study not normally expected from this genre.
“We might whine a bit about how much TV in general there is out there, especially when it comes to the Marvel world. But a third season of Jessica Jones would be one we’d welcome happily.”
But The Guardian sounded a note of caution. “The show is struggling to find firm ground,” wrote Rebecca Nicholson.
“For a genre that is all about beefed-up human beings, it’s strange that Marvel series can so often feel so flabby and slow, and it’s disappointing that Jessica Jones falls into that trap here.
“The first episode is particularly patchy, and at times even dull, alleviated only by a supposedly tense chase scene that turns into an inadvertent homage to Benny Hill.”
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Daniel Fienberg said: “TV has probably more than its share of superhero/comic book shows and Ritter’s may be my favourite lead performance.”
But, he added: “The new season initially lacks the narrative momentum brought by David Tennant’s Kilgrave [in season one].”
In her review for Variety, Sonia Saraiya said: “Marvel’s Jessica Jones is never not a Marvel TV show, with all of what that implies – mushy plotting, convenient characterisation, a slew of side characters with bizarrely complex biographies, and a preponderance of mysteriously vast and endlessly complex science-y conspiracies.
“And yet within this otherwise standard construction are so many hidden gems of scenes that offer a superhero’s meditation – on vulnerability and power, on frailty and mortality, on the relationship of the powerful to the powerless, and yes, of course, on the inherited trauma of women – simply because the subject matter is so, so much more than the rest of the Marvel universe cares to be.”
Empire‘s Dan Jolin wrote: “Dramatically speaking, it’s a tad disappointing.
“What made the first season the strongest and smartest of the Marvel/Netflix set was the way it presented itself as less a superhero story with a feminist twist than a smart feminist noir-thriller with a superhero twist.
“Now, aside from some post-Weinstein-relevant drama with a sleazy filmmaker from Trish’s child-actor days, the show focuses more on the distrust and prejudice Jessica faces as an outed [superhero].”