Fictional MCU Earth is unfortunately a lot like the real world. Women are asked to shrink themselves to accommodate those around them. Jen has had a life of being told to stay out of the way, to be anyone but herself.
In the first four episodes we were given, there are plots in which Jen has to figure out the legal ramifications of supervillain parole or how to serve a cease and desist to unlicensed magic users. These cases raise some perplexing philosophical questions. Like, what does the MCU want to say about prison reform and rehabilitation? Or how does the law — in which power is mostly abstract — hold actual magic users responsible? It’s a funny conceit, but the legal cases give texture to the MCU and offer a glimpse into the effects that superheroes have on civilian life.
Unfortunately, the show never really goes that deep into how cases are won or, so far, how one might navigate the complicated intersection between nuanced lawyerly duties and more straightforward superhero ones. The good guys are good. The bad guys are bad. The bad guys who are reformed are good now. Most of the time, Jen’s side is the just one.
Thanks to a freak accident in which she absorbs some of her cousin’s gamma-radiated blood, Jen gains super strength, invulnerability, and broccoli-hued skin. Unlike Bruce, though, she’s able to control it. As she explains, life as a woman already means controlling anger and emotion; she’s well practiced at not seeming too mean, too rageful, too much. Switching between her Hulk form and regular civilian form is easy. That it’s so difficult for Bruce shows reflexively how men aren’t held to the same standards.
Transforming into the Hulk lets Jen tap into the primal glee of not only being strong but also being aggressive, loud, flashy, proud, and cocky — things she hasn’t allowed herself to be before. These qualities allow her to thrive at her new job as a superhero law attorney, get multiple matches on dating apps, and become famous.
Marvel’s cinematic track record with its female superheroes has been, well, a mixed bag. It took more than a decade and 20 movies before the studio created its first female superhero movie. In 2021, Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) received her first movie (a prequel), and that same year Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) got her own series in WandaVision.
Overall it’s a great show for adults and finally a show where we see some women empowerment. I definitely would not recommend the show to kids as there is cussing in the show, and some rather naughty suggestions implying sexual conduct.
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