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I stopped watching She-Hulk — and it changes the way I think about the MCU

Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer "Jen" Walters/She-Hulk, sitting in a law office, in She-Hulk
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

I’ve made no secret of my growing dissatisfaction with the MCU. And She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, the latest slice of the interconnected comic book universe has done precious little to reverse my Marvel fatigue. 

I should clarify upfront that I don’t think She-Hulk is a bad show. Just very bland. And that’s become an increasingly common trend with the MCU, particularly in the TV space. The glut of Disney Plus shows have rapidly worn me down to the point where I only finished the likes of Hawkeye and Moon Knight out of a sense of obligation to stay in the loop rather than because I genuinely wanted to see how those series concluded. 

However, the one-two-punch of Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk convinced me that I really don’t need to watch everything MCU, it’s perfectly okay, even preferable, to pick and choose the stuff that captures your attention and skip the rest. Having now put this new approach into practice in recent weeks, I’m suddenly and surprisingly more excited about Marvel than I was before. 

I walked away from She-Hulk  

Earlier this summer I very nearly stopped watching Moon Knight. I’m fully aware that my dislike of the Oscar Isaac-fronted show is a controversial take, but the show lost me in the malaise of its middle episodes. 

The fourth-wall-breaking humor feels uninspired, and Walters’ ability to turn into a big green rage monster so far appears almost unnecessary to the story.

After some passionate (to put it mildly) reactions to my various articles expressing my disappointed with the show, I pushed on and finished the series.

Then next up came Ms. Marvel, and to be honest I found the first two episodes pretty refreshing. I loved Iman Vellani in the central role of Kamala Khan, and the significantly lower stakes appealed to me after so many MCU projects where the hero needs to prevent some global catastrophe or world-ending threat. 

Unfortunately, the shine started to wear in subsequent episodes and, as of the time of writing, I’ve still got two episodes left of the series. I’ve struggled in recent weeks to summon the enthusiasm to finish the series. My motivation wasn’t helped by having the ending spoiled for me courtesy of social media — but that’s the risk we take while aimlessly internet scrolling these days. 

In steps She-Hulk, the latest MCU show and is currently two-thirds of the way into a nine-episode run. I hate to sound like a broken record here, but after an initially promising first episode, the next two chapters in Jennifer Walters’ story left me pretty underwhelmed. The fourth-wall-breaking humor felt uninspired, and Walters’ ability to turn into a big green rage monster so far appears almost unnecessary to the story. A strange narrative decision in my eyes. 

Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer "Jen" Walters/She-Hulk in Marvel Studios' She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

(Image credit: Disney Plus/Marvel Studios via YouTube)

Since watching those first three episodes as soon as they hit Disney’s streaming service, I’ve fallen behind as the weekly rollout continues ahead full steam. And instead of feeling a desperate urge to catch up to avoid having the climax spoiled for me as happened with Ms. Marvel, I actually feel really pleased to have let She-Hulk pass me by, almost like a weight has been lifted.

I don’t feel the compulsion to carry on watching She-Hulk the same way I do with a show like House of the Dragon. The latter has me almost physically itching for each new installment, but it’s been very rare for an MCU show to give me that same feeling, and unfortunately, She-Hulk definitely hasn’t. If my overriding reaction to a TV show is basically a shrug, then it’s probably a good sign to go and watch something else instead. 

Make the MCU your own 

Up until this point, I’ve been worried that if I skipped a piece of MCU content, be that a movie or a TV show, I would fail to fully understand some future Marvel project. And perhaps that will prove to be the case — maybe something from She-Hulk will be the key to defeating Kang in the next Avengers movie — but I’ve realized that watching a TV show purely because of FOMO is a waste of my own time and isn’t sustainable in the long run. 

I don’t need to watch every single piece of MCU content in an attempt to stay within an increasingly unwieldy loop. I can pick and choose the parts of the universe that interest me. For example, I’m really looking forward to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but have next to zero interest in the upcoming series Echo. If I start a new MCU show on Disney Plus and it doesn’t grab me, surely it makes logical sense to bow out once I’m sure the series isn’t for me — that’s the approach I’d take with any non-MCU show after all. 

Shuri in Black Panther

(Image credit: Marvel)

The interconnected nature of the MCU has made me believe that in order to enjoy any of it, I must consume all of it, but I'm no longer convinced that's true. I’ve argued before that I want the MCU to slow down for a breath, but clearly, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. It’s full steam ahead for the foreseeable future. So a new strategy was clearly needed. 

Going forward, instead of demanding that the MCU bend to my wants or forcing myself to watch mediocre content, I’m instead going to curate the franchise myself picking out the movies/shows that appeal to me and letting the other stuff fall by the wayside. 

Now that the MCU appears to be prioritizing sheer quantity over quality, taking a more selective approach is the only way I can see to avoid Marvel burnout.

This new approach is already getting me excited about the MCU again. Now when I look at the list of upcoming MCU movies and TV shows instead of feeling overwhelmed with how much stuff is on the horizon, I pick out the highlights that interest me most. Plus, if any of the content I choose to skip ultimately enjoy a rave reception or receive a recommendation from a trusted friend or colleague, I can always circle back and catch up.

Now that the MCU appears to be prioritizing sheer quantity over quality, taking a more selective approach is the only way I can see to avoid Marvel burnout. And the last thing I want is to be so sick of the MCU that when the next big event movie hits theatres I'm not even interested. So, if you're starting to feel Marvel fatigue, I suggest you do adopt a similar strategy as well. 

Next: Have you marked the Hocus Pocus 2 release date on your calendar? Here's what's new on Netflix this week. Are you ready to watch Andor episode 4? 

Rory Mellon
Deals Editor

Rory is a Deals Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on deals, gaming and streaming. When he’s not scouring retailers for PS5 restock or writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found attending music festivals and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.  

  • Mutale426
    admin said:
    She-Hulk is the latest Marvel show on Disney Plus that has left me cold — so I'm switching up my approach to the MCU.

    I stopped watching She-Hulk — and it changes the way I think about the MCU : Read more

    The fourth-wall-breaking humor felt uninspired, and Walters’ ability to turn into a big green rage monster so far appears almost unnecessary to the story."

    I mean that's what she-hulk does she breaks the fourth wall. Also how is it unnecessary the whole story is about Jennifer Walters dealing with being able to turn into a hulk and the attention it brings.
    Reply
  • djcalligraphy
    I don't blame you... She-Hulk is insufferable to watch. It's honestly made me consider cancelling Disney Plus altogether. I'm going to give Marvel one more chance, but if their next MCU show is as bad as She-Hulk... I'm done!
    Reply
  • tommyhardware
    djcalligraphy said:
    I don't blame you... She-Hulk is insufferable to watch. It's honestly made me consider cancelling Disney Plus altogether. I'm going to give Marvel one more chance, but if their next MCU show is as bad as She-Hulk... I'm done!
    Cool story, bro.
    Reply
  • tommyhardware
    Moon Knight was great. Not sure what you're going on about.
    Reply
  • MylesLo
    Its super interesting how All the guys who made it a big deal to say they arent feeling shehulk and ms marvel look like the same guy. Im surprised you didnt pull the “she hulk said she doesnt like being catcalled but she twerks with meg the stallion” card, but at least you threw in the “i like black panther” card.
    Reply
  • TheMightyJibu
    I think this is the best approach, and it makes sense. These are comic book shows, so take the comic book approach. The majority of comic book fans do not read every title. They may try a few of each and then settle on the ones they like the most, then read those.
    Same with the programs.
    As you've done, watch a couple as a tester, if it grabs you, fantastic, crack on with the rest, but if it doesn't, no bother, it's on to the next. No time wasted, but those who do enjoy it still get something for them.
    Everyone wins
    Reply
  • Kisame83
    TheMightyJibu said:
    I think this is the best approach, and it makes sense. These are comic book shows, so take the comic book approach. The majority of comic book fans do not read every title. They may try a few of each and then settle on the ones they like the most, then read those.

    Exactly this. It's one thing I haven't understood from people who talk about fatigue. In the comic space, fans know that it would be utterly impossible to stay on top of everything. I myself usually keep up, more or less, with core X-Men books and the Spider-fam. But I don't feel fatigued over not having the time to dive into the Young Avengers (for example).

    It's totally fine to not watch some of the shows (or movies) if you aren't feeling them. The interconnected nature of the franchise is nice, but it's also done through Easter eggs that some YouTuber will gladly lay out for us before the next big release. For example, you may have been lost on Wanda's Multiverse of Madness arc if you didn't watch WandaVision, but the actual setup for her character (besides "had kids for a couple of days") was basically the last 20 seconds of the show.
    Reply
  • KingAlobar
    Great, an opinion from the guy who watches ps5 restocks. What, are they short of film students?
    Reply
  • Shadrock55
    Stop watching the TV shows on a weekly basis. Wait until the week of the last episode, then binge watch the series. I don't think it's the MCU being low quality as much as your ability to connect to something that happened weeks ago.

    Secondly, the TV shows are genre shows. If you aren't the target audience, then it's harder to project yourself as the protagonist. It's fine to skip it and simply not say anything. Not all media is made exclusively for your demo, and all but one particular demographics seem to understand that.
    Reply
  • emilymarie070750
    Hmmmm, it's interesting to me that the 2 main shows you state not liking are the ones with female leads....

    And the upcoming show Echo, is also based around a female lead and of course you don't want to see that one either. Just very curious to me. But maybe I'm grasping or just seeing a pattern.
    Reply