I absolutely understand the dislike (even hatred) coming from a certain subset of Marvel/superhero fandom surrounding SHE-HULK. I understand it well, but maybe not for the reasons you think. It’s not because I agree with it, but because it’s predictable. It happened when CAPTAIN MARVEL, BLACK WIDOW, and WANDAVISION were released, and even to an extent for ETERNALS. This negativity usually comes from boys and men, but not 100% of the time. Thankfully, at least this same audience is a bit more forgiving when the female lead is a child as was the case with spectacular MS. MARVEL.
In the case of SHE-HULK, these “fans” are mad that the show is so comedic, yet they weren’t angry when the THOR or the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY films were comedies. They complain about the CG, but never complained about the Hulk’s CG in the many films he’s been in. And last week, they hated that Jennifer danced with Megan Thee Stallion, but they loved it when Star-Lord danced. Let’s face it, whether consciously or not, this group hates it when a strong-adult woman (or in the case of ETERNALS, women) takes center stage in the Marvel MCU. I’ll just drop a $20 on the table now to predict the same group will bring their
misogyny bitterness to THE MARVELS film release next summer.
What we’re losing in these wasted tweets & hot takes is an actual critique of SHE-HULK. After a strong start (I really LOVED the first two episodes), these latest ones were good, but not great. I adore Tatiana Maslany and think her casting is perfect. I’m really enjoying the episodic style far more than I expected to. I had heard a rumor that after the Walters’ introduction, the series would focus more on her law career and I had my doubts. We’ve all seen too much LAW & ORDER and its countless rip-offs, right? But the self-contained stories have allowed us to revisit MCU faves like Wong and bring back the always delightly Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky. I’m crossing my fingers and toes for more Jameela Jamil.
The best parts of this week’s magical episode are guest stars Rhys Coiro (ENTOURAGE) as Donny Blaze and Patty Guggenheim as Madisynn “with 2 N’s, one Y, but it’s not where you “think.” In keeping with the tone of the series so far, it’s silly and fun and it doesn’t seem to have any repercussions on the larger Marvel timeline like WANDAVISION or LOKI did. With a cast full of wonderful, likable characters, the jokes still fall flat a bit. Even for an episodic series, it should have at least some effect on the larger MCU a bit more.
I’m at the halfway point wondering: What does SHE-HULK want to be as a series? If the creators are setting up She-Hulk to be a future Avenger or to have a larger role in the MCU, at least some of the story should be dedicated to that. I felt similarly about MOON KNIGHT, which also started strong and then devolved into a confusing mess that never felt like it was a part of the MCU. I’ve got mixed feelings on how SHE-HULK breaks the 4th wall, too. Some of the cheekiness and meta critiques are fun, but I think we could do away with it completely, and it wouldn’t really matter.
All of this brings me to my favorite thing I saved for last. What I really admire about SHE-HULK: Jennifer Walters is intelligent, successful, well-spoken, fashionable, and seemingly well-liked even before she gets her powers. She isn’t broken, at least not yet. Unlike Jessica Jones or Natasha Romanov, she’s trauma free as far as we know. Why is this important to me? Because it’s fucking amazing to introduce a strong woman into such a hugely successful film and tv universe and just let her live her best life. We don’t have to see or learn that someone deeply hurt and abused her and that she needs to overcome it and prove herself. I want more female heroes depicted this way. “Trauma porn” as the kids say, is popular and over-used, and it’s even worse when the protagonists are people of color. But we’ve also seen it with so many of our adult Marvel heroines so far. Natasha, Wanda, Carol, Jane, Jessica. SHE-HULK: ATTORNEY AT LAW is a testament that we don’t need it to make our heroines interesting.
I’m a 🤩 on the season so far, just not this episode. SHE-HULK: ATTORNEY AT LAW is streaming new episodes every Thursday on Disney+.