While many TV watchers have been enveloped in tales of dragons and elves, there’s one story that hasn’t gotten the praise it rightfully deserves. In Marvel’s new series, She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, audiences are introduced to the origin story of She-Hulk. Taking notes from the original comic, the series is packed with humor, fourth-wall-breaking, and of course, our favorite big, green protagonist, Jennifer Walters. But why aren’t more people talking about it?
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
The Battle for Better CGI
Unfortunately, the show was already at a disadvantage before it aired. As soon as the trailer for the series dropped, fans and trolls alike took to Twitter to rally against the CGI work. As a viewer of the show, I admit, the CGI isn’t the best at times, but if viewers had just held out until the show eventually dropped, they would’ve been able to see beautiful moments like this.
As the show continued, the CGI only got better, giving some thrill-defying action scenes. Within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sometimes we can get caught up in all the visual effects. We base a movie or series’ success on how great the CGI is, and we forget about the importance of storytelling. And, at least in She-Hulk, you don’t have to squint for your life because a scene is too dark (Looking at you House of the Dragon).
Bad CGI does not equate to a bad story. She-Hulk was never about its special effects. It focused on a young woman finding her identity in a world that goes against her. Throughout the series, Jennifer, played by the talented Tatiana Maslany, struggles to figure out who she is after getting her hulk powers.
With and without her abilities, Jennifer is antagonized by her work, the media, and men. But she overcomes her battles, not only with her strength but with her wit, intelligence, and charm too. She is a Marvel character like no other. This show was never going to be your regular MCU project, and many viewers weren’t willing to stick around.
A Familiar Tale of Womanhood Some Are Still Not Ready To Hear
While the CGI may have deterred some people from watching, others decided to stay. But what they saw, wasn’t a story they wanted to hear. From its original comics, She-Hulk has always been centered around a woman combating the injustices of misogyny. Jennifer Walters is confident, sexy, smart, and funny. A combination that some men on the internet just can’t handle.
Seriously, if you search “She-Hulk” on Twitter, the hate comments and fragile masculinity fills up the screen. Many “critics” online chastised the show for breaking the fourth wall, Jen’s cute and awkward flirting, and her assertiveness in sexuality.
Luckily, the show didn’t stray away from telling an accurate account of a woman just trying to live her life. There are multiple instances of Jen having to fend for herself. In episode 3, as she walks from her car into her apartment, a group of men sneaks out from the shadows and attacks Jen in human form. She beats her assailants quickly once she transforms, but the impact of the scene still stands.
Jennifer also loses her job as a lawyer once she gains her new powers, and has to deal with the unrealistic standards of representing the superhero division at her new law firm. To be perceived as successful, she has to work twice as hard to earn respect. A fact that many fans didn’t want to pay attention to. At its core, She-Hulk is about female empowerment and recognizing inner worthiness.
However, showcasing a realistic illustration of a woman’s struggles didn’t settle well with critics online. In official ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score tanked to a mere 35% approval. With over 150,000 ratings, it’s clear to see that a certain section of viewers wasn’t pleased with the storyline that was presented.
It’s a Comedy. What Were You Expecting?
Echoing characteristics from the comics, Jennifer Walters is a comedic genius that continuously made audiences laugh. From its premiere, Jen established herself as a character that we could all relate to. Between her intrusive thoughts that she relays to the audience through fourth-wall breaking, to conversing with her cousin, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), about whether Captain America was a virgin, Jen represents the average person who just so happened to become a superhero.
But once again, many online categorized her humor as “cringe” and “unnecessary.” They claimed that the character She-Hulk would never engage with the audience or make sexual innuendos. However, the original texts beg to differ. In the comic, Jen has always remained funny, clever, and sex-positive, as one Twitter user pointed out:
Once again, there were many men online who couldn’t see the humor in the series. But if my nearly 50-year-old dad was able to laugh out loud with me, maybe it wasn’t the jokes that fell flat.
She-Hulk Finds Her People
Between all the hate and trolling online, She-Hulk eventually found an audience that appreciated Jennifer Walter’s realness, humor, and strength. As the show continued, more viewers huddled around their screens to watch the latest episodes. And fans were not disappointed. Not only did we get to see Megan Thee Stallion twerking with She-Hulk, a steaming romance between Jen and fan favorite, Matt Murdock, but we also saw how Jennifer changes the story for herself, literally.
In Thursday’s season finale, many of us waited for the usual Marvel ending. Big fight scenes, some explosions, and then a nice relaxing outro with a slight cliffhanger to keep us coming back for season 2. But what we got couldn’t be further away from our predictions. In classic She-Hulk fashion, Jennifer creates her own ending. Nobody needs to save her, she saves herself, just like she had been doing for the duration of the show.
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law was able to convey a story we hadn’t seen before. We got to see a woman having fun, exploring her identity as a superhero, and breaking all the rules that Marvel fans thought were set in stone. The show was a big change for many, which might explain some of the online reservations about it. But I implore any viewers to give it a chance. She-Hulk is no longer just an extension of her hulked-out cousin. She is an individual, and the story that Marvel created for her deserves your fullest attention.
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