She-Hulk: The Retreat

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jen, played by Tatiana Maslany, heads to a retreat for a few days to try and get over the fact a guy she likes hasn’t text her back.

Once again the show promised Daredevil and didn’t deliver, like I have said before I am now convinced that he won’t show up until a post credits scene in the final episode and he will have been used to try and draw in audiences who don’t care about a show about a whiny, spoilt white girl who has a series of wine mom issues and first world problems.

I would say however in favour of this episode that it is probably one of the better ones of the series and has Jen actually think about how she views herself which I thought was interesting to see. I liked the character growth she got, and thought that bringing back Tim Roth’s Abomination was a very good idea. Fun was had.

I didn’t like that during her therapy scenes they used actual tweets about the She-Hulk show as why she feels bad about herself, as I think this just makes the show look petty. Likewise I also think it is a bad look when one of the main stars of the show Jameela Jamil has to go on the record saying about how much the show has upset men, as though all criticism against the show is sexist. It makes the whole production look like it has a chip on its shoulder.

Another thing that I thought was bad, please do believe though I am finding all these negatives with the episodes it probably is one of the better ones, is the fact that Jen’s latest potential love interest is revealed to be a villain. This continues the shows obsession with every none established male character having to be bad or incompetent in some way, though I suppose her therapy buddies do kind of balance things out on that front.

Overall, better but still not good, luckily there is only a few episodes left.

Pros.

Maslany and the focus on Jen

Bringing back Roth

The therapy scenes

Cons.

Still no Daredevil

Continued man bashing  

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She-Hulk: Just Jen

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jen, played by Tatiana Maslany, goes to a wedding.

Compared to a lot of the other episodes of this season I actually thought this was somewhat better. I liked the focus on Jen rather than She-Hulk and thought that Maslany got a lot of moments to shine wherein her charm really did come out. I think it is hard to watch this episode and not like the character of Jennifer Walters.

That said it is far from perfect. They bring back the dumpster fire that is Titania, played by Jameela Jamil, who ruins the wedding scenes which she is in and also gives us one of the worst fight scenes ever in the history of the MCU. Moreover, they also have a b plot about a guy being sued by a bunch of his ex-wives and the joke is that he is terrible. To me this just came across as man hating plain and simple, it seems that it is very hard for this show to have any male characters, that isn’t already an established part of the MCU be shown in a good light.

In addition they also draw attention to the fact that even though last week’s episode ended with a tease for Daredevil that this episode would just ignore that. As I have said before drawing attention to your bad writing doesn’t suddenly make it good it is just doubly bad and lazy. I really do think that this show has to use the promise of Daredevil as a crutch to get people to keep watching, if they announced tomorrow that Daredevil had been cut from the show I bet the viewership would quickly nosedive.

Overall, better than the last few episodes but still troubled.

Pros.

Maslany is very charming

A lot of the jokes land

It makes me warm to Jen as a character

Cons.

Titania is still awful

The b plot is just garbage  

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She-Hulk: Mean, Green And Straight Poured Into These Jeans

1.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Titania, played by Jameela Jamil, is fully ruined and dragged through the mud so that the writers can make some mom jokes about the youth culture.

Honestly, I don’t know why I am still watching this show. I will say that I am doing it so that I can give all you who read these reviews a complete picture of the series, in truth maybe I am masochistic. This series is just awful at this point and is getting steadily worse by the episode. The one positive I will say about this episode is that Griffin Matthews totally crushes the scenes he is in and brings a hell of a presence to the MCU, one that it has been sorely lacking, the whole side story about She-Hulk’s new clothes was the most entertaining part about this episode.

Countering that the whole courtroom sequences with influencer Titania were terrible, the jokes didn’t land, staying firmly in the wine mom category of humour, and Titania was fully ruined as a character as yet another of Marvel’s classic villains are reduced to nothing more than a bad joke.

Something else I didn’t like about this episode was the line wherein She-Hulk, played by Tatiana Maslany, says how one of the benefits of being She-Hulk is that she can walk home wearing headphones at night and not have to worry about attackers. Now I know this is a huge problem but I am really getting sick of She-Hulk as a show inserting these forced in political points, for the most part the MCU has remained apolitical and that is how it should be. I watch these films and shows to escape the grim realities of the real world, and all these sort of lines do is drag me back in to the bleakness.

They do tease Daredevil, played by Charlie Cox for the next episode but it feels more desperate than exciting, they need something to keep you around for.

Overall, this is certainly the worst MCU project yet.

Pros.

Matthews

I like that the superheroes now have an outfitter

Cons.

They ruin Titania

The mom jokes

The forced social commentary

It is not funny  

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She-Hulk: Is This Not Real Magic

1.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jen, played by Tatiana Maslany, hits the dating game and Wong, played by Benedict Wong, is brought back for yet another cameo, as the show is clearly not strong enough to stand on its own.

My word this show is a mess. I was writing on Twitter the other day that I think that this show is the worst MCU project yet, it is certainly the most misjudged. Where to begin with why this was an awful episode? Maybe the dating montage that is cringe as hell and feels like it was written by a middle-aged person who doesn’t understand modern dating, worse yet by constantly stressing how the safe guy Jen brings home is so hot, she just comes across as totally shallow and unlikeable. In a modern context if a male character in a TV show did the same thing people would complain. I understand that She-Hulk dating in the comics is a funny side to her character but the humour of this storyline really didn’t work for me.

Yet another terrible decision this episode made was having Titania, played by Jameela Jamil, be an influencer. Just no. I am not even going to make a comics accuracy argument, but what I will say is again it reeks of a middle-aged person trying to write characters that the kids of today can relate to whilst being totally out of touch. It adds heaps to the bad cringe of the show.

Finally lets talk about Wong and Madisynn, played by Patty Guggenheim. I think the whole Wong magic storyline is naff as hell and was only done to keep Wong in the show as the creators know he is a fan favourite and people will keep watching for him, it is a crutch the show is using as it knows She-Hulk isn’t interesting without cameos. The budding relationship between Wong and Madisynn does feel gimmicky and I am not as on board with them as other people are, but I do think there is promise there if the show or wider MCU wants to develop them further.

Overall, I may stop watching this show as I truly believe it is the worst MCU content thus far.

Pros.

Madisynn and Wong have potential

It is unintentionally hilarious

Cons.

The dating storyline feels like a relic of network TV

Jen is creepy, forceful and shallow during the house dating scenes

The magic storyline is boring and stupid

It is painfully unfunny throughout  

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She Hulk: What The Hell Is This? Is It An Advert?

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Megan Thee Stallion shows up and She-Hulk, played by Tatiana Maslany, twerks.

I will review this episode in two parts, the first part will focus on the good and the second on the bad. The bad here is fairly extreme but I like Wong, played by Benedict Wong, so there is some good here.

In the Abomination, played by Tim Roth, storyline we get a fun cameo from everyone’s favourite Sorcerer Supreme and it is played up enough that every second we get with him is pure gold. The comedy in this part of the episode also really landed for me.

That said onto some of the worse stuff I have seen from Marvel possibly to date. Everyone hates the Simpsons episode Lisa Goes Gaga because all it exists to do is blow smoke up the guest stars rear end and say how great they are, clearly the She-Hulk team aren’t familiar with this as they do exactly the same thing here. Not only is the Megan Thee Stallion subplot not at all funny in any way but it gets really repetitive with how many times they have to say her name over and over again as though they are trying to force us to think it is a big deal. Moreover, I know a lot of people complain that the MCU has gotten too silly and want things to return to a more serious tone, however, normally I don’t mind the humour of the MCU, but I would say this show is pushing it too far. The post credits twerking scene is something that has no business in the MCU it feels like something you might see from a tie-in advert but not a scene from a film or TV show, in addition it is also all kinds of cringe.

I really do think She-Hulk as a show needs to get its tone right because right now it is all over the place and feels like a bad parody.

Overall, other than Wong this episode was made entirely to suck up to the guest star.

Pros.

Wong

A few funny jokes

Cons.

Everything to do with Megan Thee Stallion

The twerking scene

It feels like bad parody at times

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She-Hulk: Superhuman Law

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jennifer Walters, played by Tatiana Maslany, is fired from her job after getting into a superhuman show down in the courtroom and must now look for other work.

I enjoyed this episode a lot more than the first and thought that it was a noticeable improvement. I thought the comedy landed a lot more and made me laugh a few times and I also like that they are quite clearly setting up the Planet Hulk and World War Hulk comics storylines, as we see Banner, played by Mark Ruffalo leave on a space ship in the episode. I also thought bringing back Tim Roth’s villain character from The Incredible Hulk was a smart move especially because it puts Jen in a morally questionable spot and also develops out the character more beyond just being a mindless evil Hulk creature.

However, this episode still has some noticeable issues. The worst of these is how this episode just moves on from the Titania, played by Jameela Jamil, introduction last week and doesn’t even bother to bring her character up again which gives that final interaction in the first episode an air of pointlessness and I think that whole sequence was a poor fit. Moreover, the lines at the start of the episode in the bar when Jen says how much she doesn’t want to be a superhero and how bad her super hero name is are irritating, worse yet is the line about billionaires and orphans which feels like they are dumping on what has gone before which isn’t a winning strategy.  

Overall, certainly better but the writing still needs a lot of work.

Pros.

The humour is starting to land more

World War Hulk

Bringing back Tim Roth

Cons.

The early bar scene

Ignoring Titania    

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She Hulk: A Normal Amount Of Rage

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jennifer Walters, played by Tatiana Maslany, gets into a car accident with her giant green cousin and accidentally becomes a Hulk.

Yikes, I think of all the Marvel series thus far that this was the worst opening episode. This first episode really doesn’t seem to understand the Marvel beat, whilst being so try hard in its almost parody of Fleabag it presents a very confused identity.

To add to this there is some really quite jarring editing choices that make the episode feel choppy and not quite right. The choice of flashbacks taking place just before and then in the middle of a trial which then features a random fight, all without much explanation at all, makes things difficult to follow.

In addition this first episode is very heavy handed on the social commentary, far more so then anything else we have seen from Marvel to this point. I have no issue with films and TV shows making comments on political/social issues as long as they have a fresh take and don’t feel like they are just repeating talking points, this does the latter.

Finally, I understand needing to shorten things for the sake of the episode’s narrative, but having She-Hulk immediately being able to control her powers and not needing to train much at all, beyond one montage, again feels unearned.

Overall, I had heard the first episode was rough and that things get better, let’s all hope that’s true.

Pros.

The Hulk fight was cool

Maslany is trying

It is watchable

Cons.

It is preachy

The CGI still looks bad

She-Hulk immediately being great is bad story telling

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Ms Marvel: No Normal

4.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Kamala, played by Iman Vellani, and her friends face off against the forces of Damage Control and a character I have named Agent Karen, played by Alysia Reiner.

So let’s get the big talking point out of the way first, do I like the fact that Kamala is the MCU’s first mutant? Not really, I am one of the few people who actually like the Inhumans, at least in the comics, and I think that this would have been the best time to have brought them into the fore. However, the author of the original run and creator of Ms Marvel as a character has said that she always wanted Kamala to be a mutant so I guess that it makes sense to make her one here.

Moving on, for the most part I really enjoyed this season finale I thought it was a smart move to focus on tying up emotional arcs rather than trying to shove in a huge CGI fest final battle, we do sort of get one but it is over with pretty quickly. I believe focusing on the characters is far more in-keeping with the type of show this is, which fundamentally is coming of age.

I also liked the fact that Kamala finally got her comics accurate costume and that we got a big time MCU cameo in the post credits, I thought that both things helped to give this finale episode a satisfying sense of payoff.

My two small complaints about this final episode would be that it entirely ignores the Nor dimension for the most part and that it brings back the incredibly bland Damage Control baddies that feel painfully uninteresting, I would have much preferred them to have brought back the Clandestines for one final scrap.

Overall, this series has proven itself to be the best Marvel Disney + show so far.

Pros.

The feeling of satisfaction

The emotions

The costume and the cameo

The teases for the future

Vellani

Cons.

Generic baddies

Ignoring the Nor dimension

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Ms Marvel: Time And Again

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Kamala, played by Iman Vellani, learns about her family’s history with the Djinn and the Nor dimension.

Despite this being one of the shortest episodes of the season I also thought it was one of the best. I really enjoyed the interpersonal family relationships here, such as between Aisha, played by Mehwish Hayat, and Hasan, played by Fawad Khan, as well as between Kamala and her mother, played by Zenobia Shroff. I thought in the case of the former their love story was incredibly sweet and effecting and in the case of the latter their mother daughter relationship finally felt satisfying as the two come to an understanding.

I thought the ending of the Clandestines, was perhaps a little premature as their final battle with Kamala felt a little rushed. However, I am sure the ending will right this and might even bring them back once again. I am still resolute that the weakest part of this otherwise great TV show is its villains, as they continue to be woefully underdeveloped, but that is par for the course with Marvel Studios productions.

Finally, I just want to once again say what a great job Vellani is doing in the lead role. She radiates charm and genuine enthusiasm throughout and it is almost impossible to not instantly warm to her character, she may be the best new character Marvel has introduced anywhere in the last two phases.

Overall, another strong episode.

Pros.

The history

The relationships

The ending and tease for the finale

Vellani

Cons.

The Clandestines continue to be weak villains    

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Thor Love And Thunder: Thor Gets Paternal

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, is forced out of semi-retirement when Gorr The God Butcher, played by Christian Bale, goes on a killing spree. Along the way he runs into his old flame Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, who is now the Mighty Thor.

I have to say a lot of the early responses to this film that I saw were quite negative and so I went in with pretty low expectations, thinking to myself surely it can’t be worse than Dark World, however, in the end I found myself really enjoying the film, and think though it has a few minor issues it is on the whole a strong Marvel outing.

Straight off the bat I think this film really does some great character work with Thor, having him get the chance to see Jane again, then losing her, then having to raise a kid on his own- he goes on a journey. Some out there on the more incely sides of the culture war will say that Thor is humiliated and ruined, however, their toxic masculinity is showing. I think it is possible for Thor to be both a badass action hero, which this film shows off on multiple occasions, as well as a sensitive guy who can be open and also poke fun at himself. At no point did I find he was being dominated or out done by the female characters and I think such takes usually arise from those we insecure masculinities themselves.

I thought the supporting cast all had their moments to shine especially Port, Thompson and Waititi, the latter especially had a lot of great lines. However, I will say that I would have liked Sif, played by Jamie Alexander, who makes a big return here, to have been given more to do. I think for me the stand out performance of the whole film was Russell Crowe as Zeus who instantly became my favourite character of the picture.

In terms of the humour, which has proven quite divisive, I think it is peak Waititi and if you enjoy his style of comedy, which I do, you will find it funny and if you don’t you won’t. Personally I found this film had me laughing more often than not. Moreover, again in rebuke to some of the criticism I have seen out there about the humour of this film, I found that it didn’t take away from the dramatic moments at all, and I think the film has a very strong emotional core. If you aren’t tearing up as Jane dies in Thor’s arms then I question whether you are even human.

Finally onto the few minor things I didn’t like about the film. The CGI in the post credits scene with Hercules, played by Brett Goldstein, was quite poor and possibly on a par with the Pip scene from Eternals. Moreover, the film’s pacing was quite noticeably off and the film as a whole felt very rushed with a lot of big things happening in a short space of time without much room for you to take them in. In addition, Christian Bale’s Gorr performance was all over the place, sometimes being quite frightening and sullen and other times being almost camp, this mismatch created quite a jarring viewing experience. Lastly the ‘Lady Thor’ line was horribly cringe and felt far too meta and on the nose, it really didn’t need to be included.

Overall, though it is not perfect there is a lot to like about this film.

Pros.

Thor’s journey

The ending

Zeus

The supporting cast all get their time to shine

Cons.

The pacing

The ‘Lady Thor’ line   

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