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With the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, it truly seems like Marvel can do no wrong and can make a brilliant film based on any of its properties, regardless of how unknown or bizarre it may seem to the public. I believe that She-Hulk, feminist icon and unorthodox Marvel hero, might be the best candidate for a future film adaptation.
Let's take a look at what Marvel has done even in the last month. When the idea was first announced, movie executives and even some of the movie going public might have seen something as unknown and creatively taxing as the The Guardians of the Galaxy to be an effort portending to disaster, but a fantastic cast and James Gunn’s original and irreverent screenplay and direction (as we noted in our review), Guardians proved everyone wrong and showed that fun and engaging stories are all that mattered, and could be massively successful.
However, the success of The Guardians of the Galaxy proved to the world that Marvel and Disney could truly make a movie about any of their intellectual properties, regardless of the potential risk or the lack of popular opinion on the character. As Escapist Magazine notes, Gunn and Marvel even had the confidence to drop in an post-credits appearance from a character who was absolutely synonymous with the failure of the superhero movie genre back in the late 1980s, thus showing that they could make people re-interested and even excited about the character that was originally scorned.
Considering Marvel's recent risk-taking behavior, I would suggest that the smartest movie for Marvel to make in the future would be the Jade Giantess herself.
For the unfamiliar, according to Marvel’s own database, She-Hulk premiered in 1980. Jennifer Walters, a meek but good-natured lawyer, had unfortunately crossed a mob boss and was shot down in a mob hit. Forced to accept the irradiated blood of her cousin, Bruce Banner (a.k.a. The Hulk), Walters found that she gained Bruce’s ability to transform into a savage green monster, albeit with a feminine physique.
In a twist, Walters soon gained a greater control over her powers – eventually gaining the power to change at will – and is even able to retain her intelligence as She-Hulk. In other words, Walters shows an even greater control over her abilities than her more famous male counterpart.
While sometimes played for sexual titillation, Escapist notes that She-Hulk soon developed her own identity as a quiet feminist icon, counteracting the sexualized comic characters that filled many of their other comics. Walters was an independent and confident lawyer with a quick wit and report with many of Marvel’s big name heroes, while also remaining sexually free and confident. To this day, Walters continues her law practice, and remains one of the most successful lawyers, as well as one of the strongest and well-liked characters, in the Marvel Universe.
So why, of all characters, should She-Hulk be chosen over any more famous hero, or even other female characters? Two reasons.
First, despite the fact that, as Comicsbeat notes, 46.67 percent of comic fans are female, female hero representation in comic book movies has been notably lacking. While Scarlett Johansson has made a notable performance as Black Widow, her role is surprisingly limited and she is easily outnumbered by current male members of the Avengers, who will soon have Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, and possibly even Black Panther added to their ranks. And while Elizabeth Olsen will be making an appearance as the Scarlett Witch in Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, her female presence will be counteracted by Aaron Taylor Johnson as Quicksilver.
It seems that while Marvel is willing to put a talking raccoon in a movie, they are still afraid to have a single female hero by herself. She-Hulk, due to her independent and confident nature, might be the best character to go on a solo adventure. While most female heroes are associated with teams like the X-Men or the Avengers, She-Hulk usually chooses to be on her own, dealing with her own issues and tribulations rather than engaging in the the typical superhero life.
But what would such an adventure entail? That is the second main appeal of She-Hulk: the sheer originality of tone in comparison to other films in the superhero genre. A She-Hulk tale, as opposed to any other hero, would not consist of simply fighting a villain. In fact, if one reads many of She-Hulk’s modern tales, one would find that She-Hulk does not really have many consistent villains and that not many of She-Hulk’s modern tales are about fighting villains.
I would imagine that a She-Hulk film would be in a vein similar to Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids and her current critically praised run in comics written by lawyer Charles Soule, with She-Hulk’s adventures consisting of investigating her cases while cavorting with both heroes and villains and trying to find a balance her personal, professional, and superhero lifestyles. It would not be an adventure in the tone of Captain America or Iron Man, but more of a “day in the life” tale, in a fashion similar to 2012’s Dredd. Given Feig’s growing success in Hollywood and his heavy consideration for the upcoming and possibly female-led Ghostbusters 3, it seems that many movie goers would not mind more female lead action films.
It is also worth noting that Jennifer Walter’s snarky and irreverent nature often cuts through the histrionics of many superhero tales and produces memorable and often awkward interactions, whether it be arguing with Doctor Doom over the future of his son or talking about sexual double standards with Tony Stark. Walters has the connections and charisma to make a fascinating exploration of the Marvel Universe while also building a fleshed out, progressive, and relatable character for both male and female viewers.
Marvel has taken a lot of risks over these last few years. The fact that The Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers films exist at all is something to be marveled (if you excuse the pun), and the fact that they are successful, shows how hungry for fun and variation the movie going public is. A She-Hulk film seems like a natural step further down that path.
image courtesy of INFphoto.com