Show Created by Jessica Gao — Directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia.
The first Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe series, WandaVision, was released in early 2021. Now, in October of 2022, Marvel Studios has fully released eight different Marvel series on the Disney streamer. While I’ve enjoyed watching all of them, I really do think that many of them would’ve been better as films, as these shows — like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier — still swear by the classic Marvel template. Honestly, I think only WandaVision, Loki, What If…?, and Ms. Marvel were right to be made into series rather than films. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, however, is the kind of story that feels appropriate for the streamer as a series. It doesn’t take the overarching Marvel storylines all that seriously and, even though I’m a fan of the MCU, that feels really refreshing.
Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law follows Jennifer Walters (played by Tatiana Maslany), Bruce Banner’s cousin, after an accident in which some of her cousin’s blood got mixed with her blood. Now she possesses similar powers to that of the Hulk, and the show doubles as a show about Jennifer trying to do her job as a lawyer and a show about Jennifer trying to figure out what it means to switch between two different bodies, appearances, and abilities. Because being green comes with both perks and downsides.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law has some fun with the Marvel formula in several ways. For one, this show features running fourth-wall-breaking commentary that definitely feels like Marvel Studios’ light version of Deadpool (who is getting his own MCU film in a few years). Jennifer Walters will often break the fourth wall to comment on the way the narrative is unfolding and to say that she knows exactly what kind of show the core Marvel audience wants and what kind of criticism her show might get from toxic corners of the fanbase, who are essentially one of the show’s antagonists known as ‘Intelligencia.’ She will say things like: “remember whose show this is,” when another exciting cameo appearance comes up.
Make no mistake, though. This is absolutely Tatiana Maslany’s show. Maslany is very charming and fun as the titular character, and I especially love the energy she brings to a certain blossoming relationship in the penultimate episode. Maslany’s performance always holds the show together and elevates it from being just another Marvel show.
Another way that the show does new things for the Marvel universe is that this essentially is a case-of-the-week comedy show with a female lead. To me, it really felt like a combination of Fleabag and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend but with superheroes and the multiverse. Now, admittedly, it should be said that the comedy is quite hit or miss here, but I really like the light feel that the show swears by.
Without revealing too much about the season finale, I will say that the show kind of blows itself up, in a way. I suspect a season two will be coming up, but the way this season comes to an end is quite something. There is a part of me that really loves how meta the show eventually becomes. And I really did enjoy the twists and turns of the season finale. But I also think, again, that it kind of blows up the show, as it sidesteps or does away with a plot line that has been teased throughout the show. I loved how She-Hulk took control of the narrative, but I do think it is fair to say that the show does away with the structure it had been built on for most of the show.
Honestly, even though the show could be funnier, its biggest problem is the visual effects whenever Jennifer Walters turns into the titular green superhero. The character isn’t as finely detailed as Ruffalo’s Hulk design is yet, and She-Hulk can sometimes stand out in a way that can take you out of the show. I do not think it is show-ruining, but it is something you probably need to accept to have fun with the show.
A bubbly and delightful case-of-the-week comedy series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law changes things up for the MCU in a way that I thought was really refreshing. That said, I do have mixed thoughts on the way the show blows itself up towards the end, and I think it could be funnier, but I still really enjoyed it.
– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.