Why Is Everyone So Mad About She-Hulk? A Review

Why Is Everyone So Mad About She-Hulk? A Review

The following review contains spoilers for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, streaming on Disney+.

Promotional material for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law featuring the titular character.

In August of 2022, Marvel studios released their latest comic book TV show, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. The fourth wall-breaking legal comedy follows Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), cousin of The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). After a car accident puts Walters in contact with her cousin’s mutated DNA, she too gains the ability to transform into a green, 7-foot tall, super-strong hulk. The reactions to this show have been mixed, to say the least. Notable ratings website Rotten Tomatoes places the show’s critics’ score at 87%, while the audience score sits at just 35%.

The Marvel fandom has become notorious for its often controversial opinions surrounding the inclusion of minorities, specifically women, in their media. This pattern has been seen in properties like Ms. Marvel, which starred a Muslim girl (Iman Vellani), and Thor: Love and Thunder, which shows Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) taking up the mantle of Thor.

Where this show differs from the previously mentioned is the subject matter. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is incredibly aware of the inevitable fan reaction, and chooses to make this a core part of the plot. The overarching antagonists of the show are a hate group targeting She-Hulk/Walters specifically because they believe she does not deserve powers due to her being a woman. While this portrayal is dramatized, it’s not far off from real reactions to the show. In one scene, a comment section displaying sexist opinions about female superheroes is shown. This was a big factor in the show’s backlash, but it was not the only one.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’s episode 3 portrays real comments Marvel received after announcing the female-led series.

There are definitely valid criticisms of the show. The CGI, for example, is pretty rough compared to other Marvel media. Many have compared the quality of She-Hulk herself to that of a video game character, which isn’t exactly a compliment when aimed at a multi-million dollar corporation. This is mainly noticeable during fight scenes, which are quite unsettling since the characters look so strange. I personally agree that a number of characters look somewhat uncanny, but they become easier to ignore as the show progresses. Other complaints include the fact that the show has little action or plot, especially compared to previous Marvel TV shows. Many don’t like the meta humor or the slower pace, which is completely fair! While I personally enjoyed it, the show is definitely not for everyone. The problem arises when these criticisms are only mentioned or amplified due to spotlighting of women’s issues in the show. “She-Hulk has bad CGI and a slow plot, so Marvel should improve these issues going forward” is perfectly fine. “She-Hulk is a bad show because I don’t like narratives focused on women, so Marvel should focus on their male heroes” is not. 

To conclude, I want to encourage anyone reading this to engage more critically with their media as well as the responses to it. It’s fine to criticize a show, but it’s important to look under the surface and think about why you may be reacting so strongly to a piece of media. She-Hulk is a goofy legal drama, and that’s all it needed to be. I recommend it if you’re looking for something topical and self-aware to watch, but it may not be for everyone.