REVIEW: ‘She-Hulk: Attorney At Law’ Brings Superhuman Levity To The MCU

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She-Hulk - But Why Tho

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law is a Disney+ Original Series developed by Jessica Gao and based on the character created by Stan Lee & John Buscema. Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) is a highly skilled lawyer who also happens to be related to Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), aka the Incredible Hulk. When a road trip goes horribly wrong, Jennifer is infused with Bruce’s blood and gains the ability to transform into a Hulk. When her newfound abilities cost her a shot at the District Attorney’s office, Jennifer accepts a position at the Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway handling superhuman law. The catch? She has to remain in her She-Hulk form, which leads to her juggling legal work alongside a newfound celebrity.

Once again, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has adapted one of my favorite Marvel characters for a television series. And Maslany turns out to be a perfect fit for Jennifer. She manages to capture Jennifer’s more reserved and professional side in human form, as well as the more vivacious and confident She-Hulk. Given that Maslany was used to playing a multitude of characters in Orphan Black, it’s not surprising that she can find a distinction between Jennifer and She-Hulk throughout the first four episodes. But it’s still impressive to watch.

And just like in the comics, Jennifer often breaks the fourth wall to address the audience. Two things about this approach: yes, she beat Deadpool to it by a full two years, and thankfully it’s done enough so that it doesn’t feel smug or annoying.

Maslany also gets to play off an impressive supporting cast in the process. Of course, there’s Ruffalo who brings a bemused and somewhat world-weary approach to Banner, but there’s also Ginger Gonzaga as Jennifer’s best friend/legal partner Nikki and a surprisingly chill Tim Roth as Emil Blonksy – better known as the Abomination. Since this show is firmly placed in the MCU, there are also cameos from various characters, with the most prominent being the Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong). Jennifer even lampshades Wong’s popularity in one episode.

Another impressive feat is that She-Hulk feels like it has the right structure for a TV show. Something that’s eluded most of the D+ Marvel series is that they often feel like they should have more than six episodes; the sole exceptions to this rule have been WandaVision – which ironically enough, played around with different eras of television – and What If…?, which due to its anthology nature is more standalone. And like those projects, She-Hulk takes a new approach to the superhero genre: it’s a legal comedy.

Many of the struggles that Jennifer faces aren’t of the apocalyptic variety but the “first date” variety and “how do I keep my job” variety. Gao previously wrote for Rick & Morty -including the now infamous “Pickle Rick” episode – so she and her team know how to balance the outlandish elements with the humor. So does director Kat Coiro; the pilot, for example, features a montage between Jennifer and Bruce to prove who the better Hulk is with hilarious results.

The major flaw of She-Hulk lies in the visual effects used to bring Jennifer’s alter-ego to life. The effects vary from scene to scene; sometimes She-Hulk looks like a real person, and other times she looks like she stepped off the stage of a Robert Zemeckis film. Many VFX artists have spoken about how the conditions at Marvel Studios demand intense amounts of labor due to last-minute changes and budget, and this series is sadly the best example of that. If this series continues, more time should be given to the VFX crew so that they can do their best work.

Also, out of everyone in the cast the person who hasn’t had the chance to make an impression is Titania (Jameela Jamil). She-Hulk’s archenemy only appears in the pilot episode, and while her presence continues to be felt in episodes 2-4, viewers don’t learn much about her. Granted, this is only the first half of the series but given Jamil’s presence on The Good Place as well as Titania and She-Hulk’s rivalry, I was expecting a little more.

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law takes a page out of its protagonist’s handbook and juggles levity with superheroic antics, as Tatiana Maslany brings the sensational Avenger to life. With more characters on the way – including a certain Man Without Fear – and given the comic run it’s pulling from, the next five episodes should provide an entertaining watch.

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law premieres is streaming now, exclusively on Disney+.


She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Episodes 1 - 4
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law takes a page out of its protagonist’s handbook and juggles levity with superheroic antics, as Tatiana Maslany brings the sensational Avenger to life. With more characters on the way – including a certain Man Without Fear – and given the comic run it’s pulling from, the next five episodes should provide an entertaining watch.

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