God Disney sucks. (Spoilers)
Five minutes is all it took for me to hate She-Hulk, and I gotta say that’s a record even for Disney Marvel stuff. It’s not the fact that we kick off the show with Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) having her closing argument mansplained to her by smug white attorney man who gets kicked out by non-white lady Nikki Ramos (Ginger Gonzaga), but the moment she turns around and starts talking directly to the camera about how the audience isn’t going to be able to enjoy this lawyer show until we learn the origin story. We then cut to a flashback where Walters explains directly to the audience how she became She Hulk, and it all starts with getting into a car accident with Bruce (Mark Ruffalo), some of his blood getting into her in the process, and her hulking out.
The point I think She Hulk will instantly turn some people off is where Walters causes the accident because she’s too busy asking Bruce if Steve Rogers was a virgin and doesn’t notice the giant spaceship hovering in front of them. One point of contention that I’ve seen showing up more and more is that Marvel is keen on shitting on its retired superheroes, particularly Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. Maybe Kevin Feige is pissed that Downey Jr and Evans saw the writing on the wall that the MCU would peak at Endgame and got out when the gotting was got. In a world where YouTubers are raking in millions pinpointing every moment where a woman emasculates a man in Marvel to talk about how the series has become woke SJW beta soyboy cuck material, you’d think they’d be more attentive to not handing out ammunition.
Outside of that horrible opening, the show actually got better as the episode went on. Jennifer hulks out at some dudes catcalling her and passes out, waking up in Mexico in Bruce’s secret lab built by Tony Stark years prior and where he spent most of the blip becoming Smart Hulk. Most of the episode is dedicated to a training montage showing Walters learning very quickly how to control her powers, and then at the end of the episode she drives off to return to her life.
One point that I will make in the show’s favor is that Disney does seem to be learning something from its past mistakes. While WandaVision was a great show, one scene that became internet famous was a revealed cut moment in the finale where Dr. Strange (Benadryl Crumblefudge) shows up to mentor Wanda with her newfound Scarlett Witch powers, a scene that was cut from the show due to headers like Kevin Feige not wanting the image of a man lecturing a woman in her own show. Such is also obvious in some of Phase Four’s films where Marvel clearly didn’t want to show a man beating a woman in a head-on fight, leading to some really stupid outcomes even by Marvel’s standards.
She Hulk meanwhile has no issue having Bruce teach Jennifer about how to deal with her powers, even though her process takes much less time than Bruce and of course bad writing makes for some cringe dialogue that will be paraded around YouTube for years to come. They also have no problem showing Bruce beat the absolute crap out of Jennifer with both Hulked out, an understandable outcome as while Jennifer is adapting to her powers quicker, Bruce has been doing this for fifteen years mentally and as a fighter. It’s also a disservice in the trailer with the cutting, like the scene where Bruce throws a boulder and then Jennifer throws one further, and in the trailer it seems to imply that she’s already stronger than him. But in the show, Bruce effortlessly picks up a massive boulder right after that and pitches it far off the island. And again, beats her in a fight later on.
Granted it makes sense in the context of the series, although some bad writing has made it into an internet meme. Bruce Banner turned into the Hulk and murdered people, spending a good portion of time being hunted by the government as a criminal. He was even Ed Norton for a little bit. His involvement in The Avengers was one that Nick Fury’s bosses were not in favor of, and despite saving the world his character was regularly nebulous on whether or not he’d eventually lose control, with a good part of the world still despising him as a monster and the folks at the top basically ready to kill him if need be. Hulk fought the heroes several times.
Shit, Stark created the Hulkbuster suit for just that purpose. Effectively Bruce had a lot of messed up mental trauma to deal with over a longer period compared to Jennifer Walters who gets turned into the Hulk during a point where the world is more accepting of superpowered entities, didn’t murder anyone, and was able to embrace her new identity with some outside help. But the whole pitch of Jennifer claiming she has infinitely more experience controlling emotional problems because she’s a woman and has to deal with catcalling and mansplaining is garbage dialogue that they should have known would feed the YouTuber machine.
In my review of the Ms. Marvel season one, I pointed out that Disney’s budget, at least what they want to allocate to the shows, is clearly stretching thin as they pile on more new series. The CG in She-Hulk episode one is a notable step down from prior shows. I know everyone is waiting for the scene where she starts dating and finds out that some dudes are really into the whole Amazonian dommy mommy thing. Just look at how the public thirsted over Lady D in Resident Evil 8, and she was literally a corpse.
Maybe the wink and nod to the audience is something I’ll warm up to as the show progresses. In the same way that shows have dropped the first two episodes on launch to get the audience more accustomed, She-Hulk probably would have benefitted from having two or maybe even three episodes release at once. It’s not as awful as some are making it out to be, and I’d even say it could be enjoyable as a whole, but the first episode on its own feels like an appetizer and it would’ve been nice to see more than six minutes of present day stuff. On the plus side Marvel seems to have long ago realized that if every character got a boring normal person prologue before turning into a hero, that the audience would very quickly lose interest given the speed at which new heroes are being added to the universe. We barely see Jennifer pre-Hulk.
There’s nine episodes in this season, making it considerably longer than Marvel’s usual six episode format. They could have released a two episode launch. I’m just saying.