She-Hulk Smashed And Proves More Superheroes Need To Get It On

This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law."

The fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a romance problem has long been documented. Across its twenty-some movies and many television series, this franchise has barely crafted a handful of compelling romances. But there's no need to reiterate all that here, because we have bigger fish to fry. Romantic relationships are just one piece of the passion puzzle: there's something else that's been sorely missing from this franchise and that's straight-up raunchy action. I'm not talking sweet, doe-eyed, blooming love — this is about steamy, passionate heat, something that is oddly nonexistent in this world of glistening abs and skintight suits.

Thankfully, "She-Hulk: Attorney At Law" has come to our rescue, bringing the heat as no other hero before her has dared. And with Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) on the prowl, Marvel has finally taken a step in the best (and horniest) direction.

The precarious state of Marvel's heat

First, you have to understand how dire the situation is. While there's no shortage of charged moments, quippy flirting, and chaste kisses, the MCU has been a largely sexless wasteland, so devoid of physical contact that much fanfare was made when "Eternals" was declared PG-13 for *gasp* "brief sexuality." That ultimately culminated in a heatless sex scene so flat and lifeless that its romantic pairing might have been more believable without it. Other than that (and the one night stand that Tony Stark had in this franchise's FIRST entry), where the hell is the heat?

It's gotten to the point where the savvy writers of "She-Hulk" decided to shape an ongoing joke around the idea that Captain America, a 90-something super-soldier, is probably a virgin. Spoiler alert — they try to make Bruce Banner convince us that he isn't, but it's clearly a lie. In the sanitized world we've been presented onscreen, it makes perfect sense that buff Chris Evans has never shared a bed with anyone. Honestly. it also provides a solid excuse for his lack of romantic knowledge (dating your ex-girlfriend's granddaughter is very improper, Steve). That being said, I will absolutely accept arguments that Steve Rogers consummated a relationship with his greatest paramour of all. But since marvel will never own up to that, you will never convince me that Steve stumbled his way out of his USO tights into the arms of some random dancer.

But no matter, because Steve's time has (probably) come to an end and the latest Disney+ series sees us following the dating life of someone who knows a thing or two about smashing.

Casual horniness to the rescue

Unless another jewel-obsessed titan touches down on Earth to snap away half of existence, She-Hulk officially wins the battle of toughest opponent yet: Jen Walters has spent the past few episodes waging a war against modern dating. It's a difficult and seemingly endless battle that's resulted in many blows to her self-esteem and evidently, her privacy. Learning the ins-and-outs of dating apps has been much harder than mastering her Hulk powers or even facing off against her first villains. But while the season is not over yet, episode eight sees Jen having a breakthrough of sorts when she comes face-to-face with another Marvel hero who's well-attuned to the struggles of managing a relationship. Yup, I'm taking about our favorite harlot, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox).

To rewind a bit, the initial announcement that Daredevil would be returning to our screens was absolutely thrilling — but only briefly, until I really considered the reality of Matt Murdock existing within the MCU and on Disney+. Part of what made the character's Marvel Netflix shows so alluring was the distance they had from the rest of this universe. How would the hyperviolent, gritty, and morally complex Matt Murdock fit into the sanitized and quippy world of the MCU? Would they water him down? Sanitize his story of all the aspects that made it great? And how could they ever live up to the badass action sequences that made the series famous?

All of those were very real concerns, but if I'm being honest, there was something else weighing on me from day one. And it's much more important than the violence or Matt's constant Catholic crisis: there was just no way that Marvel would let Matt Murdock f***.

Well. I stand corrected.

Horny heroes x2

In the words of Foggy Nelson, "If there's a stunning woman with questionable character in the room, Matt Murdock's gonna find her." Personally, I think Jen's character is impeachable, but the point stands — these two connect with each other immediately and with much electricity. Even without showing anything explicit, this is by far one of the hottest romances we've enjoyed in the entire MCU. It's leaps and bounds ahead of whatever the hell was going on with Sersi and Ikaris in "Eternals" (their sex scene was eerily reminiscent of someone rubbing a Barbie and Ken doll together: passionless, plastic action).

Shattering the fourth wall after a couple scenes of flirting with her fellow superhero lawyer, Jen straight-up turns to the audience to ask the question we're all wondering: "We're all feeling this, right? It's not just me?" It's definitely not just her — the chemistry is very real.

I will try my hardest to resist waxing poetic about the many charms of Matt Murdock, but he's a hard one to deny and his short-lived romance with Jen Walters is one for the history books. The duo first cross paths when Matt makes his grand entrance in the courtroom, a charming presence and formidable opponent that decimates Jen's flimsy case and immature client. By the end of the encounter, she's drinking alone in a bar and — oh, who's that buying her a drink? It's none other than Matt Murdock.

And thus the sexual tension grows. For a terrible moment, it seems like they'll be two ships passing in the night, missing their opportunity because duty calls them away ... little do they know that duty will bring them together, where they can bond over some nighttime escapades and flirt their way through a goon takedown sequence.

More superhero hookups, please

It plays out beautifully from there: she pokes fun at his brooding, he listens to her heartbeat, it's all incredibly hot and they know it too — which is why they forego a polite dinner date in favor of heading straight back to Jen's apartment for some alone time.

What makes this particular connection work so well is that is has layers. They connect as Matt and Jen, before even meeting as She-Hulk and Daredevil. He encourages her heroic sensibilities, she makes fun of his costume, and they've got so much suggestive banter between them that it's a wonder they make it through the mission (re: "My ass remains un-whupped"). Also, something about Matt offering legal advice while pummeling the hell out of a random goon really makes me swoon — and clearly has the same effect on Jen. Meanwhile, her effortless and unflinching intro into the word of superheroing clearly does a lot for Matt ... not to mention her ability to easily whup his ass.

This isn't a long-simmering romance. It's not a season-long arc or something occasionally injected into a trilogy of movies. It's not a love that either of them have to die for or live for or orbit their lives around — it's just two people who meet, connect, share some sizzling chemistry and actually see it through. If there are future seasons, will Daredevil re-enter Jen's world? Will she pop up as a cameo in his upcoming show? Maybe. Or maybe not. It wouldn't be the end of the world if these two never crossed paths again (though it might be a waste of Maslany and Cox's chemistry), but there's something so undeniably wonderful about the idea of these two characters doing as they do, living their lives, briefly crossing paths, and then going on to meet other people and continue their love lives as usual.

She-Hulk does romance like no other

Every week, I become more and more convinced that She-Hulk should be a role model for all Marvel heroes, future and past: not only is she juggling two personas with relative ease, she's also making time for therapeutic getaways, awkward-but-obligatory family time, and flirty drinks with pretty men. She's living her best life and saving other lives while doing it! Take note, Avengers.

To be fair, not all of Jen's nightly excursions have been so successful. She also spent a night with absolute sleazeball Josh, who turned out to be a blood-stealing weirdo, snapped a pic of her in bed, secretly recorded their night together and immediately ghosted her after sex. That was bad and dating apps can be horrible, but that's something Jen is learning for herself, while also coming to terms with her own self-esteem — which has been both boosted and wounded by her newfound abilities. Her romantic exploration is another element of her journey as a hero, but more importantly, as a person. And isn't that what all of this should be about?

Exploring relationships is just a normal, casual part of Jen's story. Her love life doesn't have to be picture-perfect or marked by a monumental romantic encounter nor does it need to be completely ignored to make more time for whatever supervillain reveal this has all been building up to. This show is first and foremost interested in the internal life of Jennifer Walters and she's a richer, more interesting character for it. Also, there's no better way for Daredevil to kickstart his career in the MCU than doing a barefoot walk of shame, carrying his boots as he slinks out of Jen's neighborhood, wearing a devil suit in broad daylight.

The rest of the MCU could learn a lot from Jen

Jokes aside, one of the best things about She-Hulk's love life is that it ultimately becomes another way to process her arc as a hero, as Jen comes to terms with the world's altered perception of her. The end of the same episode delves headfirst into some very unexpected territory: revenge porn. Jen finds herself at the center of a slut-shaming campaign, when someone mysteriously projects a video of her having sex, alongside her private messages.

Of course this is happening to her, a woman who doubles as a hero and lawyer and also happens to spend much of her downtime searching for love. In fact, the very same insults hurled her way in the episode reflect a disturbingly sizable faction of the internet that's spent the past eight weeks complaining about her antics and completely missing out on the joys of her story. The point being, Jen's personal life is so seamlessly woven into her story that it becomes the climax of the series. So beyond giving us glorious moments like her Daredevil hookup or the time she carried that big buff man to bed, it also provides sharp commentary and fascinating story developments.

The MCU's sexual awakening?

Since the time spent on Jen's love life both delivers on the steamy action this franchise has been missing and also enriches the story, why not just ... do more of that? For one thing, this is the barest minimum: it's a straight couple flirting and barely touching onscreen. It might be a big improvement, but it's also a shining example of how Disney's conservative values are limiting the merits of their own stories. Just think of all the possibilities that would open up if the entire spectrum of sexuality was up for exploration, to be used however best fits the story — rather than whatever best appeals to a mass global market.

If we're lucky, then She-Hulk ad Daredevil's hook-up will be the MCU's sexual awakening. But if not, at least we can always smash the replay button on this episode.