SHE-HULK: ATTORNEY AT LAW (2022)
Aired On: Disney+
Release Date: 08/18/22
"Jennifer Walters navigates the complicated life of a single, 30-something attorney who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered Hulk."
After an incredibly controversial first trailer, with what looked like either unfinished, or just straight up bad CGI, She-Hulk: Attoney at Law has finally made its debut in the MCU and on Disney+. After a bumpy track record after the MCU has decided to branch into television, the new show takes a lighter tone similar to the previous movies that Hulk has appeared in. She-Hulk perfectly introduces the new character in a fun and instantly lovable way, successfully bringing a new character that’s easy to watch, even if the show itself has a bit of a messy structure, and some of the original bad CGI that we see still pokes through.
I want to clarify first of all, that the CGI between the original trailer and the CGI that we see in the show is tremendously better. It’s pretty clear now looking back that what we originally saw was clearly unfinished; or at least if it wasn’t, the internet’s reaction was a loud and clear indicator that it needed to be refined quite a bit. It’s pretty fitting, considering Marvel is known for their spotty visual effects. The characters of She-Hulk and the time she spends with her cousin, the Hulk, for the most part are pretty good. There’s a few scenes where they spend a lot of time conversing with each other, and we’re really able to focus on just the two characters. It’s during these moments when the visual effects are at their best, looking almost life-like. However, there’s also scenes where the editing only grants us brief and quick glimpses, such as during action scenes, or particularly during a montage in the middle of the episode. It’s clear here that whoever approved this thought that the quick movement of the characters or the brief visuals that we get would be enough of a buffer to allow some more flaws in their effects. It wasn’t the best, but it was by no means distracting, and nothing worse than what we’ve previously seen in any other Marvel project.
As an introduction to our character, She-Hulk is also successful, for the most part. Similar to the visual effects, the structure of the story is mostly acceptable, but there are a few moments that can be jarring and really throw you out of the story. The episode begins with a strong start. Jennifer, who specializes in super-hero law, is practicing her closing statement for a case that she’s in trial for. Suddenly, she breaks the fourth wall with what’s boiled down to basically a “yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I got in this situation” type of moment. It’s incredibly uncomfortable, and by no means properly sets up what the rest of the episode’s tone is going to be. There’s no other fourth wall breaks for a majority of the episode, until the end when we return to the moment that was originally paused at the top. She concludes with “so now you’re all caught up.” I don’t understand the reasoning behind presenting the story this way, especially when it doesn’t really need to. It feels like the writers couldn’t really figure out a way to put her and Bruce Banner together, who Jennifer has to clarify over voice over is her cousin, and they were on a road trip together. For such a successful majority of the episode, these first five minutes just feel like poor set up and sloppy writing.
Once you can get past that moment however, it’s tons of fun to watch where this adventure leads her. Bruce and Jennifer’s interactions are fun and incredibly familial, similar to any other cousins who grew up together and remained friends into adulthood. Jennifer herself is an interesting and fun character, and easily banters with Bruce that provides comfortability with a character we already know and love, without allowing him to steal the spotlight away from her. As an origin story that’s pretty much just packed into one episode, it feels very much like watching the first act of a movie. It’s easily digestible, fun to get to know and bond with the characters, and leaves you eager for more without being confused as to who’s who or what’s going on, unlike some other Marvel shows have tried and done unsuccessfully in the past.
Packed with action, and fun, She-Hulk is just about everything you would expect from a Marvel television show. It doesn’t really break from formula, but why fix what isn’t broken? That’s what really works about it, and after what can already feel like an overstuffed phase four with new characters such as Agatha Harkness, Shang Chi, Kate Bishop, Moon Knight, and Kamala Khan, it’s refreshing to find a character that feels like I instantly know what I need to know about her, but I’m still excited to see her grow and where her journey takes her. While it might get off to a bit of a sloppy start, don’t let that distract you from the fun that awaits you in the first episode.