Following the release of ‘Thor: Love and Thunder,’ Marvel Studios nears the conclusion of Phase Four introducing another woman to the Avengers roster. As the only project in the Marvel Cinematic Universe currently running, ‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’ introduces one of the strongest and most beloved comic characters to the screen. Tatiana Maslany, the Canadian actress formerly seen on ‘Orphan Black’ and ‘Parks and Recreation,’ leads the limited Disney+ series as Jennifer Walters, the mortal lawyer trying to survive in the everyday chaos of the universe that has to coexist with the Avengers and their enemies. The show follows Jen and the tragedy that is her mortal life being ripped away from her. A lawyer content with her normal life suffers an unfortunate (but fortunate) accident that curses her with the ability to become a green, indestructible, brawny, yet beautiful, superhero.
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‘She-Hulk’ follows the self-assured Jen Walters as she obtains her abilities on a regretful trip with her cousin Bruce Banner, one of the original six Avengers, also known as The Hulk. In her attempts to live her life as usual, Jen finds with great power comes great fame… and great unemployment… and great insecurities. It turns out that when your superpower is to transform into a gorgeous green giant, nobody seems to care about the normal you. Along with the battles Jen encounters with her superpowered foes, she battles to gain her identity back and make sure the world doesn’t only know She-Hulk, but Jen Walters too.
‘She-Hulk’ – The Strongest MCU Project for Women Empowerment to Date
Beyond the struggles of self-identity, ‘She-Hulk’ tackles many anti-feminist microaggressions that the protagonist suffers in both of her forms. In taking a position given due to her newfound powers, She-Hulk finds herself taking superhuman-oriented cases as the newest attorney hired in the division. Following her everyday life in the office, the audience sees Jen deal with the typical torment and harassment that women endure in the workplace. As many shows fail to do in their attempts at feminism, ‘She-Hulk’ does not stop with the protagonist living passively with her misogynistic aggressions. Instead, Jen thankfully fights back and defends herself. Moreso, the writers base the episode’s court case on how Jen can use misogyny against her peers whilst simultaneously winning cases.
On the obvious reason of Bruce Banner being the first Hulk, Jen also brings to question why she is named She-Hulk. She challenges why the fact that she is a female Hulk needs to be stated. One of the focal points of the show is how Jen can get everyone to realize that she is more than just the female Hulk. The series effortlessly yet cleverly combines the themes of self-identity and feminism through Jen’s adventure of inventing a name for herself. In her ambitions to brand herself as a stable superbeing, in contrast to her other Avenger peers, she fights every day to build her reputation for the sake of mascoting female superheroes.
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Outside of the show’s content, ‘She-Hulk’ rosters a production team of majority women, including the show’s creator and lead writer, Jessica Gao, who has credits writing for ‘Rick and Morty’ and ‘Silicon Valley.’ With a writing team of women, it’s able to bring a show about feminism that doesn’t try to only be a show about feminism. Typically, when a show becomes overbearing with its message against an issue, it loses its focus and falls flat, especially because many projects that promote feminism miss that mark by missing the point of feminism. What many films and series miss with feminism is that many times all that is written is showing the everyday harassment and setbacks women deal with.
However, feminism in TV shouldn’t just be acknowledging the existence of women’s struggles, it should portray them overcoming them. Everybody knows that women get catcalled and underestimated, but how the women overcome those is what the audience really needs to see. Although the introduction of the series might seem to border that fine line, it is evident that the writing team, primarily consisting of women, is able to avoid that problem.
MCU’s First Project to Smash the Fourth Wall
For the first time in the MCU’s 14-year existence, fans of the largest film franchise see a character breaking the fourth wall. ‘She-Hulk’ offers a directorial style unique to the cinematic universe. With its protagonist taking comedic stalls to speak directly to the viewer, it creates a more interpersonal relationship with Jen on her journey of self-discovery. The dialogue of the series between Jen and the camera creates the feel of Jen taking us on a shadowing trip of her daily life as a superhero attorney. Additionally, it provides us with more insight into her real thoughts, as these give Jen the ability to say what is truly on her mind since none of the other characters in the series hear what she is saying when she does break the wall.
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The series has maintained relevance throughout its run so far. Reiterating that it is the only running project in the biggest Hollywood franchise alive, ‘She-Hulk’ has the big responsibility to keep the fans entertained. Luckily, the series has shown zero struggle in creating postable content. The outspoken feminist and ‘The Good Place’ actress, Jameela Jamil, makes an appearance as Titania, one of She-Hulk’s greatest foes in the comic series. Playing a character that teases Jen/She-Hulk’s cultural relevance, Jameela plays the snarky valley-girl supervillain that battles Jen in court and in the ring. The combat scenes between Titania and She-Hulk are intense, and fabulous, and maintain that quick-witted Marvel humor.
Having canonically added the hottest woman in rap, Megan Thee Stallion, to the MCU as one of She-Hulk’s clients, the show provides a plethora of memes and quotes for the fans to discuss online, having provided the world with the video clip that is She-Hulk twerking beside the ‘Savage’ rapper. ‘She-Hulk’ undoubtedly is able to bring feminism to the discussion board of Twitter, so opting out of watching this series will keep anyone out of the loop.
‘She-Hulk’ releases new episodes every Thursday on Disney+. The series finale airs on October 13.
Actors: Tatiana Maslany, Ginger Gonzaga, Malia Arrayah, Jameela Jamil, Steve Coulter, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Josh Segarra, Mark Ruffalo
Directors: Kat Coiro, Anu Valia
Writers: Jessica Gao, Dana Schwartz, Cody Ziglar, John Buscema, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Francesca Gailes, Jacqueline Gailes, Kara Brown, Melissa Hunter, Zeb Wells
Producers: Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, Kat Coiro, Jessica Gao, Melissa Hunter
Cinematographers: Florian Ballhaus, Doug Chamberlain
By Nino Vongphachanh
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