Well, if you were an MCU fan, as well as a Halloween fan, this past week was either a good week or a bad week, depending on your opinions of both the latest Halloween movie and the season finale of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Both have seem to be review bombed from online critics, or should I say online trolls.
But what made the season of the show so great was how it took a different angle to the superhero genre the same way Halloween Ends did. I really don’t know what people were expecting from this season. In the comics, Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) and She-Hulk both have a habit of constantly breaking the fourth wall. And despite what people say about the Deadpool references, She-Hulk has been around a whole decade before Wade Wilson.
Is it sexism? Does Beast take a crap in the woods?
Without a doubt, She-Hulk was an attempt to address the sexism that exists in the comic book world in a hilarious but straight-forward in-your-face mentality. The season had Jennifer having to deal with an online male-dominated troll group Intelligencia. This is ironic considering that the spelling and pronunciation is femine. Also, in the Marvel Comics, Intelligencia is a group of some of the smartest and sinister villains on Earth. Here, we find out its a group of InCel dudebros upset that they’re just happens to be female superheroes in existence.
Jennifer had to deal with becoming the She-Hulk following a car accident in which Bruce Banner’s (Mark Ruffalo) blood gets in her system. Then, she lost her job at the District Attorney’s Office and was hired at a prestigous law firm in southern California but only because she was She-Hulk. The idea that she was hired because of her identity is saying something about being hired to fill a status quo.
But handling the superhero division of the firm, she had to argue for the release of Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) who is also the Abomination. Originally hesitant because of the battle in The Incredible Hulk with Banner, her cousin was okay with it. And Emil is reformed with seven women who are his pen pals that he calls his “better eighths.” She also had to deal with a copyright infringement from Mary MacPherran/Titania (Jameela Jamil) over the use of the name “She-Hulk.” (This I thought was an in-joke to the licensing issues Marvel has had to deal with over the years especially with the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies. )
On top of that, she’s dealing with nagging parents, Morris and Elaine Walters (Mark-Linn Baker and Tess Malis Kincaid) and finding a good fashion designer, Luke Jacobson (Griffin Matthews) who can design clothes that stretch so she want ruin anymore clothes. It just so happens Luke is also designing clothes for Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox), who strikes up a relationship with Jennifer after they battle some goons together. The goons just happen to work for Eugene Patillo (Brandon Stanley), the son of a rich client at Jennifer’s firm who is Leapfrog, a very inept superhero wannabe. (Call me crazy, but his costume reminded me of Kick-Ass.)
Yes, while the season didn’t exactly have Jennifer constantly breaking through walls to smash people’s heads in, it took a different approach. I heard it was more like Ally McBeal meets the MCU. It doesn’t always have to revolve around action and espionage plots as well as stopping someone from destroying the universe.
Actually, this is one thing that has divided fans and the Internet. In the end, while attending a Southern California Law Awards gala where she and all the other nominated lawyers get named Female Lawyer of the Year, Intelligencia interrupts the program to publicly shame Jennifer for her dating habits. They even include footage taken by Josh Miller (Trevor Salter) who is secretly a member of Intelligencia who had been in a relationship with her before ghosting her. This caused Jennifer to smash the screen and go wild, thus being detained by the Department of Damage Control.
Losing her job at the law firm and having to move back in with her parents, she sought help from Emil at his commune only to discover it was hosting a meeting of Intelligencia. Nikki Ramos (Ginger Gonzaga) and Anthony “Pug” Pugliese (Josh Segarra) had tried to infiltrate the group. And here’s where the episode went crazy.
Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the episode
In what looks like it’s going to be your stereotypical barroom brawl typical of other MCU and superhero climaxes, it’s revealed Todd Phelps (John Bass), who is a very misogynistic and narcissistic billionaire who went on a date with Jennifer, is behind Intelligencia. He was able to obtain some of Jennifer’s blood and engineer it so he could inject himself and become the HulkKing. It’s at this point, Jennifer questions this as it’s often been done in the past MCU movies. (It has. And it’s just about every other freaking plot point of a superhero movie.) And Titania and Hulk smash through ready to brawl as Emil has transformed into the Abomination against court orders.
It’s at this point, the series breaks the fourth wall and the screen changed to the Disney-Plus MCU streaming home page. She works her way throught to the writers’ room at Marvel Studios where they tell her she has to speak to K.E.V.I.N. Fans think this might be Kevin Feige, but it’s actually an artificial intelligence that claims to be in charge of all MCU productions. Jennifer criticizes the constant tired tropes, such as the daddy issues and other factors like it’s usually about a “Super Soldier” serum.
In the end, the series more or less yadda-yadda-yaddas it with Emil going back to prison and Todd being arrested. And there’s hope as Jennifer and Matt attend a cookout with her family where Bruce makes an appearance with his son, Skaar. In many ways, the whole ending was just great as it parodied problems in the MCU as well as Phase Four which seems to be going nowhere at the moment. As a lawyer, I think Jennifer would work on a legal case against Intelligencia rather than smashing skulls.
I don’t know what has made so many people upset. Well, I do know. It’s because the MCU is focusing on female characters that have been around long before several audience members were an itch in their daddy’s pants. It also begs the question why the hell do they even read the comics in the first place since superheroes are supposed to represent the people whose voices aren’t usually heard. And it’s about inclusion.
As for She-Hulk herself, will there be a second season? So far, I haven’t seen anything. It’s likely that she’ll make the transition to the big screen. With Daredevil: Born Again planned at Disney-Plus, it’s likely she’ll make an appearance now that her and Matt are an item. I hope they bring the character back in more ways. Maslany seemed to have a lot of fun with the role. I must admit, I wasn’t really too into it from the first trailer, but after watching a few episodes, I looked forward to it every week.
What do you think? Please comment.