‘She-Hulk’ first impressions: Is the latest MCU series worth a watch?
The next big thing is here
Since the trailer for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law dropped on July 24, Marvel enthusiasts have been ablaze on the Internet discussing the big green heroine. From the quality of the CGI to the show’s quippy tone, fans were either excited or sceptical of the newest addition to the MCU ensemble—she does, after all, have some *big* shoes to fill.
Watch the trailer here:
Ahead, we share our first impressions of the show’s plot, visuals and key characters, and whether it’s worth a watch.
Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law follows Jennifer Walters—played by Emmy award-winning Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)—an attorney specialising in superhuman-oriented legal cases. As Jennifer navigates through singlehood, overbearing colleagues and the patriarchal system, she now has to do that as a green six-foot-seven-inch superpowered hulk.
Indeed, much of the plot explores her new journey as not just a huge emerald superhuman, but a female one. Unlike her male counterparts whose powers only seem to amplify their masculinity, being She-Hulk actually gets in the way of Jennifer’s life and ambitions she has for herself as an attorney. Seeing more of the perspective of a female superhero (WandaVision was a great start) and the specific struggles they go through was enlightening.
But don’t get it twisted: this is still a law show. And this is what gives She-Hulk an edge over other run-of-the-mill superhuman shows. From the get-go, the premise of the show is, in and of itself, an interesting one: superheroes being sued for their abuse of power or endangering civilians in a public battle are certainly things you don’t see in superhero narratives. For the longest time, it would seem that Marvel superheroes were able to incur hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions) in the destruction of public property or bypass border security with cosmic teleportations a la the Bifrost Bridge without much, if any, consequences.
In She-Hulk, though, the consequences come in the form of one Jennifer Walters who heads the newly founded division of eccentric super humans. Seeing the legality behind all the superhero action brings a refreshing and *almost* realistic aspect to the MCU—Sorcerer Supreme Wong may be responsible for defending the time-frame continuum of the universe but even he is still susceptible to the laws of America. If you’re a Marvel fan who also enjoyed snarky legal shows like Suits and Boston Legal, then you’ll definitely enjoy what She-Hulk brings to the courtroom.
Now, this is where things get kinda tricky. While Marvel has been known for its top-class CGI (at least in the past), the CGI in She-Hulk is inconsistent and not the usual quality one would expect for long-time viewers. Even from the trailer, fans quickly pointed out that She-Hulk just…didn’t look good, especially next to Bruce Banner AKA Smart Hulk. ( To be fair, however, Marvel has had 10 years to fully render the design of the Hulk while they are starting fresh with She-Hulk).
The problem bleeds into the rest of the show with Jennifer’s Hulk form tickling the uncanny valley just a little *too* much that you just don’t know what to make of her. In the comics, it’s clear that the Hulk form isn’t meant to be human, they’re ‘monsters’—a weapon of mass destruction. However, the TV adaptation makes her more of a humanoid green woman that goes more into Shrek’s Fiona territory. But if you can look past the inconsistent CGI (there are still some great visual effects and fight scenes) and separate the comic book to the TV show version, then it might not be such a dealbreaker for you. For the most part, Maslany’s performance makes it all the more forgivable, which leads us to our next point.
Tatiana Maslany is absolutely wonderful as Jennifer Walters. She brings out the character’s natural sass and quirkiness, but also her innate vulnerability behind her strong-willed disposition. Even her fourth-wall-breaking scenes are done with great comedic timing (no, it’s not a Deadpool thing, this is actually one of her signature traits in the comics).
Jennifer is also not afraid to call out misogynistic behaviour in the workplace and implicit gender bias as a female Hulk. These kinds of social commentary are great and definitely needed, but we do feel sometimes it can be a bit heavy-handed. Most of the men in the show are made to be specifically unlikeable, giving an overall ick vibe, which we don’t think is necessarily needed to make strong female characters shine.
Speaking of men, Bruce Banner has a significant role in the show as a mentor and confidant in Jennifer’s Hulk journey. Their relationship as cousins is also super endearing to watch. He’s back to his Smart Hulk form which we’ve seen in Avengers: Infinity War and End Game, so his disposition is on the calmer spiritual side as he offers sage advice and wisdom to Jennifer. If you are die-hard fans of The Incredible Hulk version of the Avenger, you might need some time to get used to this toned-down version as he’s just well, never angry anymore.
All in all, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is an enjoyable show that you can easily digest. The characters bounce off of each other with great chemistry, familiar characters (you will be surprised!) make appearances that will surely add more to the world-building of the MCU and seeing Jennifer in action in the courtroom—whether that’s trying to get a parole sentence for a long-time villain or order a cease and desist for stolen magic tools—is all good humorous fun.
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