She-Hulk and WandaVision Are Two Different Perspectives of Women in Control


The following contains spoilers for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Season 1, Episode 9, “Whose Show Is This?” now streaming on Disney+.

Purely by chance, and due to COVID-19 closures, Wanda Vision it ended up being the debut of the Marvel Studios TV show on Disney+. The newest program in the studio, She-Hulk: Lawyer, shares a common theme with the Wanda Maximoff series. In both cases, each show tells a very different story about a woman experiencing trauma and trying to regain control of her own life. In Wanda Vision, the immense power of Wanda’s pain creates a nightmarish sitcom world in which she must relinquish her attempt at control in order to accept the reality of her world. In She-Hulk: Lawyer – a real sitcom – Jennifer Walters attempts to meld the two halves of her identity into one, all framed through metatextual superhero jokes and misogynistic tropes.

Both series are amazing character stories that help build the Marvel Cinematic Universe even more. The two shows are also studies from different perspectives on women in control, even as they’re shaped by real-life events. In the case of she-hulkFor example, countless bad faith takes on “M-She-U” plagued this series, along with the accusation that the show hates men just because it tells a woman’s story. If there is a unifying theme explored in both Wanda Vision Y She-Hulk: Lawyer Going beyond the nine-episode season format and sitcom elements, it is the common thread of examining a world terrified of women with great power.

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Unlike She-Hulk, the leading woman is the ‘villain’ of WandaVision

Despite the last-minute reveal of Agatha Harkness and the typically vile and incompetent representative of the US government for director Tyler Hayward’s MCU, Wanda was the villain. She had no intention of magically rewriting an entire city and taking over her mind, since it was all an accident. However, as the series progressed, Vision not only acknowledged her control, but also directly challenged him. In She-Hulk: Lawyer, Jen’s fourth powers to break the wall allow her to become aware of the fictional nature of her story. However, she never exercises control until the very end, in a scene that sounds very much like a specific criticism directed at Wanda Vision– A show about the trauma and pain of an Avenger didn’t need a big CGI magic battle or even the introduction of a “new” Vision.

To elaborate further, the story of Hayward and Monica Rambeau (the next appearance in the wonders) it was enough to try different approaches to get to Wanda. As funny as Agatha Harkness may be, the show didn’t need a showdown between her and Wanda. On a meta-level, she-hulk “fix” the error Wanda Vision done by giving his character control and allowing him to do things better. People reacted to She-Hulk in the penultimate episode like they reacted to Wanda, although in Scarlet Witch’s case, she was actually wrong. The next time fans saw her, instead of drawing on that characterization, she became a villainous child killer. Wanda proved to be a nearly unstoppable force, but with no malice in it. Wanda Vision. The overly militaristic and murderous response to what happened is pretty much what Jen was in for.

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Marvel Studios’ Disney+ Shows Aren’t Empty ‘Female Empowerment Fantasy’

If it shows how Wanda Vision, she-hulk and movies like captain marvel were, in fact, power based fantasies for women and girls, that would be fine. I wouldn’t make them any different than any other superhero or action movie in the last 40 years, except for the target audience. Like the stories about the men of the MCU, though, these shows are just emotional human stories you can relate to. Anyone who is grieving will find some resonance in Wanda Vision. Anyone who suffers from little impostor syndrome at work can relate to She-Hulk: Lawyer. There’s a lot of great empowerment fantasy in these shows, but what makes the impact is the way these characters take and relinquish control.

In Wanda’s story, she experiences a moment of intense emotion that affects life around her in unexpected ways. At a crucial moment, Wanda willingly puts this pain aside to stop actively harming those around her. She does this, even though she will cause him pain. While the identifiable aspect of such a story may vary based on lived experience, it is something that all audiences understand. In Jen’s story, she takes control when things (literally, in her case) start to fall apart. It’s not just men and boys who can’t jump through the Disney+ menu screen to rewrite her story. Anyone can get away from that end by “erasing” what really doesn’t matter from their lives. The metaphors in both shows are universal and not limited by anything as narrow as the gender spectrum.

The reality is that, even with active correction, women remain underrepresented in all of the blockbuster superhero movies and shows. That Wanda Maximoff and Jennifer Walters are women informs their actions and the world’s reactions to them. However, their stories are not limited in that way, but are designed so that any audience with an open mind and heart can find something to hold on to.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Season 1 is currently streaming on Disney+.

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