A couple of days ago, screenwriters Craig Mazin and David Goyer raised the ire of fans by saying derogatory, borderline inflammatory statements against the character of She-Hulk. Lambasting the character is one thing: most people, however, are upset with the coded terms both men used to address the hero, reducing her history to sex appeal and power fantasies. Their statements were steeped in ignorance. As a result, everyone's had a response, an answer to their ill-advised comments. But what should happen is the most obvious response, the one we haven't heard yet. There needs to be a She-Hulk movie.
Marvel's got four more films on their schedule: this summer's Guardians Of The Galaxy, next year's Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Ant-Man and Captain America 3 in 2016. Beyond that, there's only two more release dates and no more titles, with those slots rumored to go to Thor 3, Dr. Strange or even Black Panther. So why is it that She-Hulk can't be squeezed in at some point to take center stage?
What better way to answer controversy and criticism then by just coming out and proving that She-Hulk is a compelling character that a lot of people would want to see? Where and how She-Hulk started, back in 1980, doesn't matter. What is relevant is how she experienced one of the comics' strangest and most enjoyable reinventions. Marvel purposely distanced She-Hulk's alter ego Jennifer Walters from her cousin, wandering loner Bruce Banner. So while the general public hears She-Hulk and just thinks a male version of the Hulk (or a Slut Hulk, as Mazin charmingly put it), they're actually being wildly inaccurate.
As a superhero, She-Hulk (who could actually control her Hulk form) served with the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and the Defenders among other super teams, rubbing elbows with some of the biggest names in the Marvel world. She was tough, a little quippy, and always readable: for awhile, she even seemed to know she was a character in a comic book. But these are all traits represented by other existing characters.
She-Hulk truly defines herself by working as an actual lawyer, taking cases to court in her green figure and building a reputation as one of the top prosecutors in the business. Over the years, she has spent time defending costumed characters for their mistakes, viewpoints and often dubious extra-legal activities. She-Hulk is not defined by her sex, her shapeliness, her relationship to Hulk or even her romantic relationships with the rest of the Marvel universe (she's had a few), but by explicitly being smart and funny. And great writers over the years have made sure that those traits (as well as having Hulk strength) make the character unforgettable rather than her hand-me-down name or even her femininity. She-Hulk is not a female hero; she is just a hero.
The best part about this is, because of that tie-in to Hulk, it could be really easy to introduce She-Hulk into the onscreen Marvel universe. If Marvel is skittish about another Hulk movie, well, have they tried a Hulk movie with TWO Hulks? Particularly off the back of the Avengers movies? You could easily have a film where Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner is providing an emergency blood transfusion to his cousin played by any A or even B-List actress (hey what is Rosario Dawson up to? JUST ASKING). She could have the typical superhero movie moment where they discover and are bemused/horrified by their new abilities. Then, you have two options, both of which would make terrific movies.
One, you have her power up and join the Avengers. Which is the right move, in regards to diversity, to keeping the Avengers franchise fresh. The team currently only has two females onboard: one is Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, who is running around with a lousy popgun while the God Of Thunder flies around and blasts things with his magical hammer. The other is Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, who, according to what we've seen so far, might be uncontrollable and just plain crazy. Neither of these women have the brute force exhibited by pretty much all the male Avengers thus far.
Or two, the fan option: have her recruited by the Avengers, but then show her reject the overtures from the super-team, and begin or resume her legal career. Not that you wouldn't have her getting into super brawls and saving the day once or twice. But it would strictly be on her terms. People have been carping about the lack of diversity on the onscreen Avengers for awhile now. Yeah, it would be great to see She-Hulk on the team, but wouldn't it send a better message to the young girls who see this movie that she's independently smart and skilled, and she doesn't need to spend time with Thor and Iron Man to be validated? Or, better yet, wouldn't it just be a funny movie for all audiences? With the Marvel universe encompassing the movies, the coming Netflix series', and two ABC shows, there's no shortage of minor characters who need legal counsel.
The fact is, there's a shortage of female characters that Marvel would feel comfortable gambling with, mostly due to issues of recognition. But a She-Hulk movie would be the best of both worlds. Unlike, say, Captain Marvel, she ties into the already-established universe as a member of Banner's family. And unlike Black Widow or any other female character they own, she wouldn't necessarily be treading ground any other heroes have explored quite yet. The comments made by Goyer and Mazin have thrust the character in the spotlight, in a negative way. And Marvel's got a golden opportunity to use that spotlight and do something positive with it, with their fanbase, and with the legions of fans who haven't yet stopped to consider what a female-led superhero film would be. This is what they call a teachable moment, Marvel. Teach some fools. Make She-Hulk.
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