She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Has Such A Great Hook
From the offset, I was onboard for She-Hulk. I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to comics, but a lawyer who deals with the legal ramifications of superpowered shenanigans is a great premise. The newest Marvel wave has somewhat muted Endgame’s epic scope and instead created a lived-in alternate history. From the hilarious Rogers: The Musical in Hawkeye to AvengerCon in Ms. Marvel, a lot of the MCU’s current charm is how it integrates the world-changing nature of superheroes into its storytelling.
She-Hulk Has Tons Of Easter Eggs And References
And She-Hulk nails the speed of the modern internet when it comes to notable events. Sure, its portrayal of social media needed tonal downplaying for a PG13 rating, but it gets how platforms operate and the type of criticism that spreads. I’ve seen similar things happen with real-world people—and announced Marvel properties. She-Hulk is also unflinching about specific societal issues. Exploring problems that, as a male reviewer, are not my place to weigh in on their accuracy, but I trust head writer Jessica Gao to know what she’s talking about. There’s no ignoring that aspect of the show’s plot, and it would be dishonest to the lived experiences of real people for the plot not to tackle it.
Though, She-Hulk—at other times—will use social media and modern culture to deliver some of its best jokes. Now, cards on the table: I didn’t find She-Hulk funny at first. I enjoyed the story and was engaged by it, but I didn’t laugh out loud. The jokes felt very bog-standard Marvel, mostly breaking the tension with tepid humor. But then episode three hit, and I cackled multiple times. As I suspected, the straight-woman approach is where the show is the funniest. She-Hulk is constantly trying to keep things normal and legal while comic book silliness is happening around her. Whoever brought Wong into this was a genius, and the two make an excellent comedic duo.
She-Hulk Eventually Solidifies Its Comedic Timing
It also helps that Tatiana Maslany is fantastic in this role. She’s got the charisma and range to portray all the facets of this character. You buy in on her being a flustered lawyer dealing with eccentric superheroes, sudden fame, and toxic coworkers/misogynistic harassment. I do wish they’d either heavily played up her fourth wall breaking—à la Deadpool—or removed it. As it stands, it just ruptures immersion randomly.
She-Hulk also doesn’t need that extra gimmick. The plots are Marvel’s breed of truncated reality, where everything happens faster and smoother than it should, but as I said earlier—the plot’s good as a plot. The pacing benefits from that stylistic approach, and the story’s easy to understand despite being based on legal matters. I rarely like courtroom/legal hearing scenes, but She-Hulk can do entertaining legal drama when needed.
A Plot Of Mostly Talking Still Stays Quite Engaging
I have some complaints, however. They’re mostly fringe stuff. The first is a reoccurring problem whenever Marvel does comedy—it sometimes punches down. She-Hulk has been pretty good about it, arguably the best we’ve seen at avoiding anything problematic, but there’s mild body-shaming in the ending hand-drawn credits. So, fair warning.
There’s also a visual issue. CGI can only go so far, but She-Hulk and “Smart-Hulk” both stray into the uncanny valley. Mark Ruffalo and Tatiana Maslany do great facial acting in human form, but it’s sometimes haunting seeing their countenances stretched over that shade of green. I’m sure it’s a budget problem, time problem, or whatever problem, but I can’t not comment on wanting to look away during CGI portions.
But it’s not off-putting enough to not recommend this show. Disney usually delivers, and She-Hulk is fun. The cameos are fun, the court scenes are fun, and the few fight scenes I’ve seen were fun. It improves its comedy over time and never drags from episode to episode. Not every Marvel show needs to have the multiverse-shaking implications of Loki or the dark, complex character exploration of Moon Knight. Sometimes you need a ground-level show like She-Hulk to enjoy the full scope of the MCU.
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