She-Hulk Breaks the Fourth Wall to Show You What True Power Looks Like

In addition to introducing the world to Jennifer Walters, She-Hulk: LawyerThe first episode of “A Normal Amount of Rage,” caught up with its star’s well-known cousin to give the show its first of many direct ties to the bigger MCU. As the older, more experienced Hulk, Bruce Banner as the Smart Hulk seems like the perfect person to give Jennifer a crash course in gamma-irradiated living. But just as it seems She-Hulkjust going to put her heroine to the test with a straightforward origin story episode establishing Smart Hulk as her mentor, Jennifer breaks the fourth wall to make it very clear that while she may enjoy this kind of spectacle, it’s not not one of them.

This post contains spoilers for the first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

In Avengers: Endgame“Smart Hulk’s” relatively new ability to tap into his Hulk powers while retaining Bruce Banner’s genius intellect was how Marvel exemplified how far the character had evolved since his first appearance in 2008. The Incredible Hulk. Before Smart Hulk became involved in the Avengers’ plan to defeat Thanos, End of Game hinted at how big of a celebrity Banner had become since learning to live as the Hulk full-time, and that fame seems to still be a part of his life when we meet him again in She-Hulk.

Shortly after the fateful accident that exposes Jennifer (Tatiana Maslany) to the blood of Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) and leaves her with a host of Hulk powers similar to his own, he whisks her away to a remote beachside lab. in Mexico both to study his cousin and to give him a chance to recover from his first transformation. Although Jen can’t quite remember the details of how she woke up in Bruce’s bunker/laboratory combination – the place where he first learned to integrate his Hulk and Banner selves – she rolls. with the situation and handles it surprisingly well when he starts to fill it.

It’s easy for Jen to relate to the idea of ​​becoming the Hulk, and she isn’t so worried at first because she knows that Bruce is probably able to build devices to help control his powers. But Jen is devastated when Bruce tells her that he estimates it will take her around 15 years to fully take control of the rampaging Hulk persona that now lives within her. Despite her shock, however, Jen can understand Why it’s important to her to learn more about her new self, and rather than wallow in the tragedy of her situation, she dives straight into a training montage that reveals just how much better she is Hulk than Bruce.

Whereas She-HulkThe first season of is full of living villains who all want to fight Jen, the real big bad brought to light in “A Normal Amount of Rage” is a set of ideas rather than a person. Despite Jen’s insistence that she feels fine and the variety of ways she demonstrates a fairly quick mastery of her new Hulk body, Bruce is reluctant to take her at her word or consider the possibility that there is. have significant differences between their powers. To some extent, Bruce’s concern is understandable, given the inordinate amount of damage he knows he’s capable of as the Hulk. But what becomes clear when you watch “A Normal Amount of Rage” is how much Jen seems to control Jen as She-Hulk, and how frustrated that frustrates Bruce.

As a soft-spoken doctor with a chip on his shoulder, the MCU’s Bruce Banner would probably never consider himself sexist or mean-spirited towards women. But there’s a kind of casual, almost passive sexism in the way Bruce assumes that Jennifer’s experience as the Hulk will be exactly the same as his own. Because it took him years to learn how to control his Hulk, he thinks it will be the same for Jen, and he can’t even consider it not because it would force him to fundamentally reconsider. the way he looks at the world.

When Jen explains to Bruce how anger and fear are emotions women are forced to deal with on a daily basis, she’s not just talking about how often women have to think about their safety. She also talks about interactions with men like Bruce, who refuse to truly listen to what women have to say about their own lived experiences.

In the same way that Jen can easily understand that her body processes gamma radiation differently than Bruce’s, she can also indicate that he doesn’t exactly want her to return to her normal life because he’s alone and alienated from the world for so long. . It’s impossible to say if Jen has always been more perceptive than Bruce about what goes on in other people’s heads. But what’s very clear is that becoming the Hulk has left Jen with a unique way of understanding the world in a way that’s going to be fascinating to watch. She-Hulk play with during its first season.

She-Hulk explaining that she knows how upset Smart Hulk is
Picture: Disney Plus

What’s smart about the way She-Hulk Smart Hulk uses in “A Normal Amount of Rage” is how he sets up the introduction of Jennifer’s ability to break the fourth wall of any medium she finds herself in. She can see that being totally honest with Bruce about how much help he still needs might not be the best idea, and so (much to her surprise) she instead tells the audience by speaking directly to the camera.

Jen’s awareness of her existence as a fictional character has been part of her contract since John Byrne Sensational She-Hulk comics from the late ’80s, where this first manifested when Jen took control of the story she was in by choosing to tear out its pages. Although She-Hulk primarily used this power to say her show wasn’t like other MCU shows, “A Normal Amount of Rage” envisions it almost as Jen’s response to Bruce’s Hulk rage. The same way Bruce was stunned to have his mind ripped out in Avengers: Endgame, it gives Jen pause when she realizes who she is talking to when talking to the camera. But it’s really just a break, and almost immediately after Jen breaks the fourth wall for the first time, she’s back in motion because she’s a busy woman with a life to pick up.

It’s because Jen then exasperated by Bruce and his inability to express the feelings that she ends up expressing to the public, and this evacuation is what puts the two cousins ​​in the right headspace to actually be there for each other in the way that they need. Jen may not have Bruce’s medical training or the exact same kind of instinct for heroism that made him a great Avenger, but the combination of She-Hulk’s strength and powers of perception make her She’s the force to be reckoned with that Smart Hulk is – if not an even bigger one.

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