“She-Hulk” ended on October 13 so here’s a review. It is a show about what it means to be a woman. It explores the things that women experience in their daily lives. “She-Hulk” is also a very self-aware show that relies on its viewers understanding of its meta-commentary for a significant portion of its humor. The show on a general and basic level is a legal comedy with a Marvel flair around it.
The show allows itself to be more than one thing at different times. It can be a legal comedy sometimes, a superhero origin story, a character drama, and more. However, many are stuck behind the fact that the show is mostly about women and don’t allow themselves to enjoy it. This review will be judging “She-Hulk” based on several things. “She-Hulk” shall be judged on its narrative consistency, comic accuracy, character depth, originality, pacing and structure, visuals, and social commentary. Spoiler warning for the “She-Hulk” show.
Narrative consistency in ‘She-Hulk’
“She-Hulk” is a show with a functioning narrative. It has themes and tropes and wants to say something. The show’s main character Jennifer Walters has a character arc about learning to love herself while her other half still exists. She attends group therapy, talks to her cousin Bruce Banner, and confides in her friends on this issue. Throughout the TV show, she learns to love herself. The themes of identity are sprinkled throughout the narrative.
Jennifer Walters struggles to understand who she and “She-Hulk” are. In episode 1, Jen gets her powers because Bruce’s blood spilled onto her open wound. However, she had to do half as much work as he did to get his hulk stuff together because she has no real alter ego. She can be green and strong and still keep her sanity for the most part.
However, the introduction of this new identity as “She-Hulk” causes complications. She is treated differently as “She-Hulk” and that bothers her. It makes her inadequate, and this is the fundamental struggle she deals with throughout the entire show. Watching her deal with these issues can be quite validating for many of the women in the general audience. It can be very interesting from a non-women perspective as well. One may gain a higher understanding of what it means to be a woman.
Comic accuracy in ‘She-Hulk’
“She-Hulk”’s comics are full of 4th wall breaks and a reality-warping comedic style. The show offers the same. The ninth and final episode offers much of that metacommentary and reality-warping comedy the comic books are known for. However, there is a major problem with the “She-Hulk” TV show. She isn’t large and or fit enough to be a believable “She-Hulk,” The Hulk is a mass monster with insane levels of vascularity.
His physique is astonishing and a testament to his strength. So her physique should be a slightly toned-down version of that. However, it isn’t and it’s because of the Disney higher-ups. According to many sources, the character was supposed to be much more muscular but Disney’s higher-ups didn’t allow it.
All in all, there are good representations of characters and there are bad representations of characters. This show falls mostly on good representation if you can mind the lack of muscles. It must also be stated that there are many interpretations of “She-Hulk” because she has existed for several decades and therefore has many iterations where her physique is much similar to the show.
The character depth in “She-Hulk” is not very deep. That’s fine because the show isn’t a character study. It is a legal comedy with different characters from the Marvel cinematic universe jumping in and out of episodes. In some shows, when non-plot things happen it would be considered “filler.” However, since the implied intent of the show was that it was going to be a legal comedy none of it is filler.
Where this stops is all the sections outside of the office. The parts where Jen (“She-Hulk”) is outside of the office are where all the deep character introspection happens. Jen is the only character with any real character development. However, that is fine because she is the main character of the story. Most characters in the stories serve their functions as the“best friend” or “supportive guy at work.” Her charter depth was already touched on so that doesn’t need to be touched on again.
“She-Hulk” is not very original. It is an MCU product through and through. The show borrows characters from other shows and movies. It references the fact that it knows about itself a lot which is a very trendy thing to do in entertainment. It offers self-referential humor, post-irony, and 4th wall breaks. “Rick and Morty,” “The Office,” and many other shows do this. The narrative is simple and cookie-cutter. However, all of this is to say that “She-Hulk” uses the tools it has to make itself more than the sum of its parts.
Pacing and structure
“She-Hulk” has 9 episodes. Some of which could be cut down to a smaller size. None of the actual episodes needs to be cut but a lot of the time used in some of the episodes could be used better. Some segments just could feel too long. However, that may be the bias of a person that watched it as it was coming out. It may feel better paced if watched all at the same time. The Disney format of Marvel TV shows being 6 to 9 episodes produces the feeling that the story is being dragged out for weekly views.
The visuals in “She-Hulk” aren’t too bad. There is some change in scenery every couple of episodes. There are the cold hard walls of the metahuman prison, the greenery of the abomination’s retreat, and the bland and beige colors of Jen’s office. The dark and dangerous alley she found herself in, in one of the earliest episodes. There is a lot of change in scenery in “She-Hulk” but no outstanding shots of great cinematography. “She-Hulk” isn’t trying to be an artistic masterpiece so it wouldn’t be fair to set extremely high expectations knowing good and well that “She-Hulk” won’t be able to meet them. It looks like TV show which was what it was trying to look like, so that’s fine.
“She-Hulk” is a show about identity. Jennifer Walters is a character who struggles with identity. She struggles with her place in the world. She wrestles with whether or not she wants to be a hero. “She-Hulk” is ultimately about struggle. The social commentary within the show hits hard. It depicts the daily life of a woman just trying to survive in a man’s world. In almost every episode of the show, she comes up against misogynistic behavior and has to persevere. It is an ever-present shadow that makes its presence known in every episode. Put simply, misogyny is the main villain of “She-Hulk”.
‘She-Hulk’ is a solid 7.5 out of 10
Overall it is a decent show. It has its ups and downs but is a nice time generally. It isn’t the waste of time that a lot of people thought it was going to be. Jennifer Walters is a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a hero and a decent addition to a TV show. Disney knows what they are doing with these TV shows. They aren’t all great, but “She-Hulk” is kinda good.
Written by Kenneth Mazerat
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