Opinion: Is it a surprise that She Hulk’s physique is hyper-sexed? Not really.
After months of speculation, the green giant strides onto the small screen. The question everyone’s asking? How does she look (of course)
Saturday 20 August By Hanna Flint
The first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney-At-Law dropped on Thursday, months after online chatter began over what the final CGI rendering of the superhero would look like in her solo Disney+ series. Reactions about Tatiana Maslany’s motion-capture appearance in the sneak peeks and trailers have so far not been very kind.
Personally, I didn’t mind that in hulk mode she looked like the ogre version of Fiona from Shrek. I was more offended that Marvel Studios’ head Kevin Feige had cast a 5ft 4in actress to play Jennifer Walters, a character who, in the comics, is 5ft 10in when in human form. I get they probably wanted to make the contrast as big as possible between her two states of being but, you know, justice for tall girls and all that.
The timing of the series has been particularly resonant given the enlightening conversation around the problematic relationship between VFX houses and Marvel. People within the industry have spoken out, accusing the entertainment studio of making unrealistic expectations and demands, combined with underpayment, for each of its films and TV shows. As one VFX artist explained to Vulture, ‘When I worked on one movie, it was almost six months of overtime every day. Marvel genuinely works you really hard. I’ve had co-workers sit next to me, break down and start crying. I’ve had people having anxiety attacks on the phone.’
The anonymous worker also suggested, ‘most of Marvel’s directors aren’t familiar with working with visual effects’, which She-Hulk creator and head writer Jessica Gao somewhat confirmed when she explained to Variety how the MCU machine worked. ‘VFX is one of those things where they already have their way of doing things – the machine just gets rolling,’ Gao said. ‘You can try to insert yourself as much as you can, but at a certain point, you’re forced to get out of the way.’
When working with any Hulk character, CGI would obviously be a major factor. Unless you want to hark back to the days of Lou Ferrigno. Certainly, with She-Hulk, who is a respectable 6ft 7in compared to her sometimes 8ft cousin Hulk (Jen and Bruce are related), that might have been possible had they not retconned the circumstances of her origin story. The prominent difference in the series between the cousins is that she doesn’t develop a Hulk persona at all.
In the opening episode, after Jen is infected with Bruce’s blood, she survives the gamma radiation because they share a rare combination of genes that allow them to synthesise the lethal rays into special abilities. Poor Bruce has spent 15 years sharing a body with that other angry dude and only during The Blip was he able to put his science hat on to make himself into a slice of Hovis' ‘Best of Both’ – mind of Bruce, superpowers of Hulk – now fondly known as Smart Hulk.
Jen already retains much of her personality as She-Hulk, so it would be odd to have a bodybuilder stand in for Maslany in green form. And the Canadian actor does a pretty charming, funny and relatable job as a lawyer wanting to fight for justice with her legal knowledge, not superpowers. We will certainly be seeing the bulk of Jen in human form, because of just how expensive it is to do CG work and how ‘cost-conscious’ the producers were.
What we’ve seen so far looks pretty good to me. I mean, how realistic do we expect a giant, muscley green woman to look? There was always going to be an element of artificiality because it’s a fantasy concept invented by comic nerds. Male comic nerds, I should add. It says a lot about the gender politics of comic books that she’s been drawn in a gorgeous, hypersexualised way since the 1980s while the Hulk has almost always looked like a monstrous brute.
Women of Marvel: Never not fuckable.
Boo(ze) hoo hoo
I was recently in a Sainsbury’s Local trying to buy some booze on a Friday night, but I’d unfortunately left my ID at home. I use Google Pay to pay most of the time, so often forget to bring my purse out. But, I’m also 34 years old and surely after 16 years of being legally allowed to drink, I should be able to buy a few tinnies without the fuss?
Alas, no. When I was asked for ID and told the cashier my age, she said I looked 25. Well, thank you, I thought, but now that we have both established that I don’t look under 18, can I please buy some booze anyway? I asked. She said no, referencing the store’s Under 25 policy, despite previously suggesting I don’t look under 25. Make it make sense.
Is this because I sold my soul to the same devil as Paul Rudd? My punishment is to never be able to leave my home without identification or face sobriety until I find another shop who will serve me. This might actually be the ultimate champagne problem but the tyranny of Challenge 25 must end. Or at least, be applied with actual logic.