The B-Lister, a long-missing supervillain type, could return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in She-Hulk: Attorney At Law on Disney+. The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s debut with 2008’s Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk succeeded by distilling the successful essences of decades of comic book storytelling with flawless casting, bringing the interconnected continuity and ongoing narratives of a comic book universe to film in a way never before attempted. Beyond the “Big Three” Avengers of Marvel, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, this was present. They were successfully represented by their leading guys, much like their first foes. Criticism of the MCU’s treatment of later foes intensified as its scope expanded to include less well-known heroes and larger casts. The malevolent architect of the Infinity Saga, Thanos, among others, skillfully redeemed these increasingly one-note representations. While one issue was resolved, a different adaptational issue remained. Most superhero movies still concluded with the death of the main antagonist, whether it was for reasons of delivering definitive closure or just because it was the norm for superhero movies. And because a single villain appeared in the majority of movies, this led to a comic book universe that was drastically skewed in favour of the heroes. Tim Burton’s Batman, which dared to finish with the death of Jack Nicholson’s Joker, a villain who paradoxically is notorious for multiple near-misses and miraculous returns in the comics, may have been the first superhero comic book adaptation to end with the villain’s defeat. With Tim Roth’s rogue military officer Emil Blonsky, the Abomination, being spared in the final moments of the second MCU film The Incredible Hulk, Marvel Studios broke with this cliché almost from the start.
Contrary to what the Audience Expected, Blonsky was Initially kept Alive:
Blonsky’s first survival defied viewer expectations while also pointing to Marvel’s long-term strategy to transform superhero film, which included the concept of recurring rogues galleries in addition to multi-picture arcs and continuity. Not that this promise was fulfilled in later movies. The Incredible Hulk was downplayed for years due to a reluctance to revisit it due to Universal Studios’ ownership of the film’s rights and the subsequent replacement of Edward Norton as the lead actor with Mark Ruffalo for subsequent productions. On ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 2014, Blonsky was only briefly mentioned as still being imprisoned. This was the last we saw of the character for years, until Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in 2021, when he made a triumphant comeback as a tournament fighter. Even with this cameo, his complete comeback in both his human and mutant forms in Disney+’s She-Hulk: Attorney At Law came as bit of a long overdue surprise. With his comeback, Blonsky is ready to challenge conventional ideas about a comic book adaptation’s villain once more by paving the way for a completely new category of MCU foe: the mid-tier super villain. Moreover, despite how melodramatic it may sound, it might completely alter everything.
A team of Super Villains’ Adversaries:
Another long-forgotten comic book fixture may spring to life if there is a wider and more diverse pool of active super-villians. With the release of The Avengers in 2012, the goal of seeing a comic book superhero team on movie screens was accomplished. However, the equal opposing force of a super villain team has not yet made a true appearance. This appears to be happening at last thanks to the impending Thunderbolts movie, but it would be more audacious to finally introduce the Avengers’ adversaries, the Masters of Evil, a group whose diverse membership now includes numerous new members prepared to increase its ranks thanks to She-Hulk.
How She-Hulk: Attorney At Law will handle the rush of new super villains it is expected to bring to life is still unknown. Producer Kevin Feige has long referred to the series as a “half-hour legal comedy,” but most are undoubtedly not to be taken with the grim seriousness of most of the MCU’s earlier marquee villains. Nevertheless, it does bode well for the future of the MCU while also making it a fuller, livelier, and more dangerous place.