She-Hulk Is Getting Massively Review Bombed

Doesn't seem exactly fair.

By Vic Medina | Published

she-hulk

Don’t look now, but fans are mad at another Marvel show. This time, the fandom is up in arms over She-Hulk, Attorney at Law, the MCU live-action series for Disney+ with Tatiana Maslany playing Jennifer Walters. AThe series is receiving a huge number of one-star reviews on IMDB, far more than any of the other recent Marvel shows. That’s led to accusations of “review bombing” by some fans. Review bombing is what happens when a vocal group of unhappy fans bands together to “sink” a show’s rating by giving it the lowest score possible. It’s a phenomenon that was seen the day the show was released, as this graphic from August 20 shows.

At the time of its report, 31.9% of all reviews on the She-Hulk IMDB listing are a single star. As of today, the one-star reviews have grown to over 33% of all reviews. Ms. Marvel was the only other series to earn more than 10% one-star reviews, with 19.9%. All the other series were in the single digits, including WandaVision (2.2%), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2.9%), Loki (1.5%), What If…? (2.1%), Hawkeye (1.5%), and Moon Knight (4.1%). While the difference between She-Hulk’s 1-star reviews and those of its predecessors is significant, it’s not the full picture. It should be noted that, as of today, 26% of all reviews give it five stars, nearly matching the negatives, and indicating that there are a significant number of fans trying to artificially boost the rating. Even IMDB itself is stirring the divisive pot, with a tweet praising Maslany’s monologue from the first episode.

Media outlets like The Direct, who published the first report on what’s happening, are taking a less-than-honest approach to the series, which only divides the fandom further. Rather than adhere to some journalistic standard, these media outlets have become advocates for the shows, shilling for them without admitting its obvious shortcomings. On the other hand, some sites seeking clicks are branding the show as woke garbage, unworthy of the She-Hulk legacy and the fan’s respect. It’s indicative of the extremes Marvel fandom has taken these days: either you love the latest offering, or hate it with a passion. In their review of the first four episodes, The Direct calls the show “another Disney+ win,” without a single negative comment about any aspect of the series. Even the questionable CGI, although much improved from the original trailer, gets the seal of approval from The Direct. Is this top-shelf praise any worse than the one-star reviews it complains about, and is anyone willing to give this show a fair assessment?

Regardless of where you stand, it’s safe to admit that Tatiana Maslany was an inspired choice to play Jennifer Walters. Say what you will about the script or its intentions, but anyone who has seen Orphan Black knows she is a great actress. She makes a great She-Hulk, although other aspects do fail both her talents and the character she is playing. Jennifer Walter’s habit of “breaking the fourth wall,” a plot device tied directly to the comics, doesn’t translate well here, especially when Deadpool did it so much better. Rather than using the chance to connect to the audience, the script often has Maslany smirk, complain, or provide useless commentary. It’s a wasted opportunity, and while we shouldn’t expect Jennifer to mimic Deadpool’s sardonic attitude, failing to let Maslany use her acting talent to deliver a signature moment is unforgiveable. And yet, while some argue that the Hulk is too weak in the show or Jennifer is a new “Mary Sue,” the truth is the show is entertaining, with a light approach that has the potential to be something different, which is what Marvel really needs right now.

To be fair, the show isn’t doing itself any favors, as its handling of some key MCU characters has been highly questionable. Fans were excited when it was announced that Charlie Cox’s Daredevil would return with a role in the series, but that goodwill faded when some fans soured on the look of the costume. Others took issue with the show making a running joke of Captain America’s supposed virginity. For a series so concerned with the depiction of gender stereotypes, the entire conversation felt odd and disingenuous, rather than authentically funny. Had the roles been reversed, with Natasha Romanoff or Wanda Maximoff the brunt of the joke, it would likely have never made it to air. However, that one missed joke doesn’t justify a one-star rating for a show with so much to offer.