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She-Hulk fixes one Superhero problem

She-Hulk loved the show through and through. The roughhousing she received is what makes the MCU special.

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Spoilers for the first episode of She-Hulk follow.

An invigorating change of pace, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law addresses a significant issue plaguing the MCU’s superhero canon. When Jennifer Walters and her cousin Bruce Banner are thrown off the road by a UFO and are engaged in a terrible car accident, Jennifer’s world is flipped upside down. Jennifer risks having her blood tainted by Bruce’s when she donates to rescue him. Because of the exposure to alien DNA, she has become the Hulk.

In order to assist Jennifer learn to control her abilities, Bruce transports her to his underground lab on a Mexican island. But Jennifer is a quick study, and she has already mastered the art of rage management thanks to her constant encounters with the patriarchy as a woman merely trying to succeed in the world. In contrast to Hulk’s She-Hulk alter persona, Jennifer is still herself during her transformation, much like Smart Hulk. Jennifer thinks she can return to her regular life because she has grown up emotionally, but Bruce has different ideas.

But Jennifer has no desire to join the ranks of the superheroes. She would rather be a lawyer and help others, she says. After all, Jennifer is still making payments on the substantial sum she borrowed to go law school. Jennifer, like many other great heroes, didn’t ask to be given her abilities, but she also doesn’t want to be a hero. Jennifer is furious because having powers evidently means she has no choice of her own future, while Bruce argues that the fact that she can transform into the Hulk implies she has a civil obligation to protect humanity with her cruel and green talents.

As to Why She-Hulk Doesn’t Wish to Join the Avengers

She-Hulk is condescending toward the superhuman community and argues that Bruce’s identity as the Hulk separates him from society. Indeed, it is a severe criticism, but one that is not without merit. Jennifer doesn’t want to sacrifice herself for the greater good lest she be killed for it, therefore she says no to being a hero. The Hulk enjoys his role in the Avengers, but he has trouble understanding Jennifer’s perspective since he interprets her refusal to accept responsibility for the world as a rejection of her. Her disdain for the Avengers is not borne of any sense of superiority, but rather of a desire to escape the genre’s hypermasculinity and patriarchal bias. Because she is a woman, Jennifer has had to work twice as hard to become successful in the male-dominated area of law. It’s understandable that she initially rebels against the idea that her life no longer belongs to her.

After almost a decade of Marvel Cinematic Universe films and TV shows, She-Hulk finally bucks the trend of the overeager superhero. The MCU has yet to follow a character with powers who openly rejects the world of superheroes and supervillains, while some heroes like Ant-Man begin as reluctant heroes. The change is welcome. While Jennifer may be sceptical about the Avengers, her desire to serve others remains undimmed. Simply put, she wants to help others in the way that the law allows. Jennifer’s unorthodox view of heroes in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, the final show of Phase 4, is proof that the MCU still has surprises in store for its viewers.

She-Hulk season two premieres every Thursday on Disney+.

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