She-Hulk Proves That in the Marvel Universe, Men Are the Enemy
Marvel's latest show the are musings of a bitter, angry, insufferable woman.
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Marvel's latest streaming television series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, has debuted its first episode on Disney+ and explores the adventures of Jennifer Walters, an attorney at a law firm that represents superhumans. Her life is turned upside down following a car accident when she gets infected with the Hulk blood of her cousin, Bruce Banner, and becomes one herself.
I know absolutely nothing about comic books, nor do I know much about The Hulk beyond a vague, distant memory of the late '70s show featuring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. My understanding is extremely rudimentary: Bruce Banner is some scientist geek who turns big, green, and ugly when someone tries to stuff him into a locker. I know even less about She-Hulk.
Nonetheless, hardcore enthusiasts of both The Hulk and comic book lore have flooded the Internet with a brutal shitstorm of scathing reviews. With my lackluster knowledge of the Marvel universe combined with the fact I've seen a vagina, I decided to watch this supposed disaster for myself and try to offer a significantly less dispassionate view that isn't as biased or compromised by total nerd rage.
She-Hulk's premiere episode begins with Jennifer rehearsing her closing argument of a case she's been working on as Deputy District Attorney. Her office is decorated with various knick-knacks adorned with the messages and symbols of a strong, confident woman. As she finishes her monologue in front of two colleagues, she is immediately praised by the annoying, bootlicking female and inexplicably berated by the unprofessional, male buffoon. In less than two minutes, the show has established and solidified the message that men are awful and females are superior by nature of the almighty labia.
The episode mainly focuses on how Jennifer became a Hulk through scenes taking place months before the show's opening. Bruce and Jennifer are in a secluded jungle paradise, complete with a kickass beach bar and state-of-the-art secret laboratory. Bruce's goal is to teach her the harsh realities of her new abilities. Lessons aren't learned here, though. Jennifer is defiant and belligerent, always one-upping the man who needed years of careful, nuanced training to get his condition under control, only to learn she can skip that part entirely because hers isn't quite as severe. She's incredibly unappreciative, impatient, and arrogant, desperate to return to her life. I kept praying that while Bruce was smacking her around his compound, he'd accidentally snap her neck and put both her and myself out of our miseries.
Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk and Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022)
Jennifer's uninspiring journey from average person to Hulk is rife with posturing, whining, and complaining about how horrible men are. She is never truly challenged while under his wing, already able to match or outperform his skills despite being a quarter of his size and having none of his experience. She insults Bruce at every turn, bitching about how awful it is that men flirt with her and that male colleagues question her credentials every single day. Nobody is comparing a Marvel show with the slow-paced, character-rich tone of productions such as Better Call Saul, but the idea that she is constantly harassed by men on a daily basis, especially in her profession, is utterly ridiculous.
Even more ridiculous is a scene where Jennifer sneaks into the restroom of a bar after her car accident. With sustained injuries on her face and arms and her clothes tattered and stained with blood, she attempts to clean herself up, but is interrupted by four women who enter the bathroom moments later. Instead of giving her the chance to explain what happened, they rush to initiate a complete makeover because they've already concluded without any evidence whatsoever that a man has physically abused her. They don't offer to call the police, but instead fix her hair, repair her makeup, give her fresh clothes and shoes, and send her on her way. This ludicrous plot device serves only to attract the attention of a group of men outside of the bar so that she can be harassed to further drive the message home that, in case you haven't gotten it already, men are horrible people.
These are the musings of a bitter, angry, insufferable woman and it becomes tiresome quickly. I can only guess this stems from the frustration of writer and director Jessica Gao being constantly swiped left her entire life. I'm sorry you were severely beaten with an ugly stick, lady, but don't take it out on us.
The episode concludes by returning to the present, Jennifer ready to give the closing statement of her case, when Jameela "I Broke My Asshole" Jamil suddenly busts through a concrete wall of the courtroom like the Kool-Aid Man. Nobody knows who she is or what she wants, but with utterly useless police officers taking cover alongside the other members of the court, it's up to Jennifer to activate She-Hulk and save the day.
Jameela "I Busted an O-Ring" Jamil and She-Hulk battle it out by tossing a desk back and forth followed by a goofy Bruce Lee kick, but She-Hulk's unexplained Mike Tyson Punch-Out skills puts an end to the rushed contest in less than 60 seconds. Jameela "You Bet Your Sweet Aspercreme" Jamil is arrested and the show is over. I still don't have a clue what the fuck happened here because I was in awe at the laughable visual effects that reminded me of a PlayStation 4 Naughty Dog game.
Jameela "Preparation H" Jamil in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022)
So, in the roughly 30-minute timespan of the first episode, I didn't learn anything relevant about Jennifer Walters; why she's an attorney, what her proficiencies are with the law, what the importance is of her current case, or why I should care. I didn't learn much about Bruce Banner outside of common knowledge and snippets that require being caught up on dozens of hours of Marvel movies. I didn't learn how Jennifer overcame the challenges of being a Hulk that Bruce desperately tried to warn her about or how she gained the courage to fight a flying, big-titted martial arts guru dressed like Willie Dynamite.
What I did learn from this show is that Jennifer Walters is an ungrateful shrew, written by women who are likely the same, and that every single man in the Marvel universe is an asshole. The episode had abysmal dialog, no meaningful plot or story, and failed to present a single likable character, but successfully managed to repeatedly tell me and every other man who watched it to fuck right off.
I'm with the nerds on this one.