Marvel’s ‘She-Hulk’ Series On Disney+ Is Funnier Than I Expected


One of the fun parts of the several Marvel Universe series on Disney+ is that they delve into the “little problems.” The supervillains are not quite as fearsome, and the issues generally are of a more personal nature. Several of the series have been flat-out funny. Others delve into the underbelly of that universe. The new series She-Hulk is one of the funny ones.

I admit to being dubious before watching. The trailers for She-Hulk had more than a fit of feminist anger toward men front and center. But I discovered, to my delighted surprise, that the show is a riff on a lot of issues and refuses to take itself seriously. While the Avengers fight off the death of half the life in the universe, Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) is an attorney who sometimes grows to six feet, seven inches and turns green, picking up all the strength of a hulk while dealing with very strange law cases. She is Bruce Banner’s cousin (Mark Ruffalo does cameos) who is in an auto accident with him and winds up crashing against him. Both lose blood, and it blends, turning her into a female version of the Hulk.

After being fired from the district attorney’s office for saving the lives of a jury from her arch-enemy Titania (Jameela Jamil), a minor super-villain, she is fired. Not realistic, but on the other hand it looks like she lives in California. Then she has to defend Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), a mild-mannered Brit who wants parole so he can be “one-eighth of a stable romantic relationship with seven of his female pen pals.” The small problem is that he is also Abomination, a mutant somewhat similar to Hulk, but considered a bad guy. To make things worse, he disappears from his supposedly impregnable jail cell one night. It turns out Wong (yes, that Wong, played by Benedict Wong) needed him for a fight to prove his own worthiness for the title of Supreme Sorcerer. For those checking, the fight actually happened in the movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

A really fun episode was when Titania copyrighted the name “She-Hulk” and gets a court order demanding Jessica stop using the She-Hulk name. Which leads to Jessica trotting out a group of men, losers all, who only wanted to date her in her large, green form.

So, yes, the show can have fun with men as losers, but it also presents Jessica and some of the other women in the same satirical light. And instead of an anti-male, anti-powers-that-be screed, we have a screwball comedy. And so the show really works. Not brilliantly, but it is fun.

A key element is Maslany, who manages somehow to make a superhero seem vulnerable. Yes, she can throw bad guys around as if they weighed nothing, but she feels that although adorable as herself, she only attracts men when she outweighs them and takes over the whole love process. One of the funniest scenes is when she comes back to an interrupted date with an interesting man, still huge, and picks him up and carries him upstairs (he is very cooperative in this). Of course, he shows no interest in her the following morning when she is back to herself.

Another strong point is the supporting cast. Jamil is great as Tatiana, completely over the top in her narcissism, probably as able to annoy her enemies to death as to kill them with her strength. Ginger Gonzaga is funny and appropriately ditzy as Nikki, Jennifer’s paralegal, sidekick and best buddy. She is becoming a scene-stealer. Jon Bass is good as Todd, a billionaire, who might, just might, be a boyfriend if he wasn’t so much of a loser (while still being a billionaire). There are some great cameos, especially Benedict Wong, who shows he can really handle comedy, Tim Roth as Blonsky, and even a funny bit by Megan Thee Stallion.

If you have Disney+, you’ll probably enjoy this. It is not really for kids, although there’s really nothing offensive in it. However, they might not get most of the jokes. Watch past the first episode, which is really just setting things up. It seems to improve episode by episode.