She-Hulk is a Joke | She-Hulk Review

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The new Disney+ series She-Hulk debuted episode three last Thursday, and it’s taken me two days to get over it. 

I wanted to be charitable here. Comedy, after all, is not easy. As the possibly apocryphal epitaph goes: Dying is easy, comedy is hard. But there is a definite line between making your audience laugh and looking like a fool. Or worse yet, making your audience look like a fool. 

In the third episode of She-Hulk, Disney has, unfortunately, crossed over into the last category. 

Some viewers were somewhat hopeful after watching the first two episodes. Apart from a few bumps in the road, the show had the potential to be interesting. 

The biggest reason to get your hopes up comes from Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), who handles the character and the script with a smooth charm that is desperately needed here. Maslany breaks the fourth wall, speaking to the audience with the comic timing of a veteran and handles the increasingly ridiculous scenarios with aplomb. It was because of her performance that I had hopes for this series. 

Here, after all, was an unusual hero character. Jennifer Walters is the cousin of the now-famous Bruce Banner, whose alter ego of the Hulk has helped save the universe a couple of times by this point in the MCU.

Jessica is presented as a very capable legal professional who is thrust, unwillingly, into the limelight and clique of superfriends when she accidentally gains the powers of a Hulk.

She turns green, gains about two hundred and fifty pounds (all muscle, thank goodness), her hair becomes longer and luxurious, and her facial structure is akin to a supermodel’s. 

To add a few more positives to her ledger, she can still add two and two together in her newly acquired Hulk form. In the original male version of this superhero, Banner becomes mentally diminished and saddled with a severe case of roid-rage. 

Also, she may not be as strong as her cousin, but she also managed to gain an archetypal feminine physique, albeit Amazon-sized. The original style of being Hulk-i-fied could be described as being transformed into four Arnold Schwarzeneggers taped together. But, no, she got the newer version that is much more 2022.

But after Ms. Walters learns all this about herself, she stubbornly refuses the superhero mantle, insisting that she still wants to be an ordinary lawyer. 

In a traditional universe with superheroes, all this is perfectly acceptable. 

Yes, the origin stories of some of our favorite comic book heroes are ridiculous, preposterous, and occasionally juvenile. Deep down, fans of superheroes know it’s all a little silly. We don’t care. It’s not the central point of why fans like them. 

The circumstances of how a capped hero “comes to be” are almost secondary to who the superhero strives to be. I say “he” because the caped heroes were almost entirely men when comic books started at the far end of the last century.

It was, as the saying goes, a different time. 

After receiving their powers, a hero will often rise (reluctantly in some cases—but they eventually do rise) to the occasion; to right the wrongs, stop injustices, etc. 

But in the case of She-Hulk, the hero turns out to be the biggest victim of them all. 

Yes, in the first three episodes, She-Hulk overcomes obstacles, defeats villains, and ultimately triumphs. Hooray for her.  

But is it a triumphant victory when the bar is set so very low? How hard is it to be a hero when everyone around you is such an idiot? 

Magic, shapeshifting elves have the intelligence and sophistication of toddlers. Law partners act like eleven-year-olds who have their own platinum cards. The owner of Walter’s law firm is a two-dimensional trope of the apathetic tyrant.

Mystic masters are entitled, clueless buffoons who seem to think that prison breaks in other countries are ok. Parole boards will release monsters if they start acting like hippies. 

How can anyone with the smallest amount of maturity not look like a God next to such morons, Hulk-powers or not? 

Yet Walters whines and complains about how hard her life has become since gaining her alter-ego. She can’t wait, she says, “to get back to my real life as an ordinary lawyer.” It may be very little time before our hero starts saying things like Co-workers are so annoying, aren’t they? OMG, I had to beat up these guys who were trying to attack me. This. Is The. Worst. 

According to Disney, the heroine viewers want to watch is an upper-class supermodel with superstrength who is still a shallow, entitled victim. 

Regardless of how it may be marketed, it is evident that She-Hulk is supposed to be a comedy. But what they have produced is not a comedy, but a joke, and a sad joke at that. 

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