Say what you want about She-Hulk‘s CGI, but it is the Marvel TV series that has me most excited for new episodes in a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, — I enjoyed the heck out of Ms. Marvel. But after the She-Hulk episode 2 ending and Easter eggs, I’m at a point where She-Hulk won’t just be appointment TV, it feels like a show that will truly surprise.
In fact, I’ll go so far as to call She-Hulk the exact show that the MCU needed and will need going forward. In a sea of multiverses and samey origin stories — and that’s before we even get to Blade, let alone what other upcoming Marvel movies and shows offer — brooding heroes have filled the slots in Marvel’s schedule. She-Hulk is a welcome change of pace.
So far, She-Hulk has broken the rules as much as its titular superhuman has smashed boulders and her cousin’s property. And it’s all worked. So, allow me to give a spoiler-light explanation of why the first two episodes of She-Hulk should have you rooting for this show to get renewed for many more seasons.
Oh, and to be frank: as much as I like the story of Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) and her powers, that’s not what I’m talking about here. Her story isn’t exactly revolutionary, as well-told as it may be.
She-Hulk enables character growth and rebooting
I don’t know how many of you recently watched The Incredible Hulk, the 2008 film starring Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. The sole Hulk film in the MCU is a weird movie (and one that She-Hulk acknowledged in a way that made my eyes widen and a silly grin hit my face) because it’s almost been forgotten.
Yes, that’s where we met General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) before his later MCU appearances, but it’s mostly swept under the rug. Until now. She-Hulk, as you may have heard, brings Tim Roth back into the Marvel fold, as his character Emil Blonsky was only previously seen in his giant and brutish Abomination form in Shang-Chi.
And now that Roth is back as Blonsky, the character is now the polar opposite of the Hulk-hunter you may remember. He’s now a poetry-writing pacifist who knows his way around a yoga mat. And it’s a hilarious take on the character that hits reset on everything we know about the character.
This is a power that the She-Hulk series, as a sitcom, has — to show us a different side of a character we already know. And here’s a little tease, as I’ve seen episodes 3 and 4: this isn’t the last time that happens. You get a sense of this from the first episode, when Jennifer Walters breaks the fourth wall, talking through the camera to the audience, like she’s Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool or Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag.
So, while Hawkeye delighted by metaphorically resurrecting Wilson Fisk, the She-Hulk series is showing it can do something similar, while still revitalizing the character. You might not like a sillier Emil Blonsky, but this character has more nuance and potential. And once a character can make you laugh, they’re arguably much more interesting.
She-Hulk’s Easter eggs are already proving worth the hunt
To be as spoiler-free as possible, you’re going to want to pay attention to all the screens inside of She-Hulk. In one blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, She-Hulk’s second episode delivered two very fun Easter eggs.
The former refers to one of the most iconic Marvel characters, while the latter is a … how do I put this? It’s an incredibly niche MCU reference that you may have forgotten about, even though it happened in the last year of Marvel movies.
Yes, planting flags in the MCU about characters we haven’t even seen here yet is great, but it’s almost to be predicted. The fact that they’re even acknowledging that moment now is particularly exciting, since it should have been a topic looming over every show in Marvel. That moment is the kind of thing you would expect nobody would want reference to.
And that’s exactly what a Marvel sitcom should deliver. She-Hulk seems to play by its own rules, while still somehow fitting into the MCU. This isn’t easy, and it’s going to make She-Hulk a show that you always have to keep your eyes open for.
Outlook: She-Hulk makes the MCU feels alive again
Not to be that guy, but Doctor Strange 2, Black Widow and Eternals all made the MCU feel like a series of green-screened dry runs that were arranging chess pieces for future Marvel movies without offering that much fun (aside from Sam Raimi’s moments of horror homage in the Doctor Strange sequel).
She-Hulk, on the other hand, is introducing the right kind of chaotic storytelling to the mix. And since it’s all canonical — and not involving the multiverse, at least yet — it all feels like it’s going to be worthwhile. (Sorry, Illuminati.)
This vibe I’m following will probably get stronger once Deadpool 3 shows how Mr. Pool is “a lunatic” in the MCU, but after I saw the first She-Hulk episode, I hit play on each episode of She-Hulk expecting (and getting) solid surprises. Maybe this pattern takes a down-turn in episodes five through nine (Disney only provided the press screeners of the first four episodes). But so far? I’m all in.