- Created by Jessica Gao
- Directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia
- August 18, 2022 to October 13, 2022
- Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk-Tatiana Maslany
- Bruce Banner/Smart Hulk-Mark Ruffalo
- Mary MacPherran/Titania-Jameela Jamil
- Nikki Ramos-Ginger Gonzaga
- Augustus “Pug” Pugliese-Josh Segarra
- Morris Walters-Mark Linn-Baker
- Elaine Walters-Tess Malis Kincaid
- Emil Blonsky/Abomination-Tim Roth
- Megan Thee Stallion-Megan Thee Stallion
- Wong-Benedict Wong
- Mallory Book-Renée Elise Goldsberry
- Todd Phelps/HulkKing-Jon Bass
- Donny Blaze-Rhys Coiro
- Luke Jacobson-Griffin Matthews
- Holden Holliway-Steve Coulter
- Matt Murdock/Daredevil-Charlie Cox
- Eugene Patilio/Leap-Frog-Brandon Stanley
- Dennis Bukowski-Drew Matthews
After an accident, lawyer Jennifer Walters gets infected with her cousin’s tainted blood and finds herself able to become a Hulk and practicing superhuman law.
Most everything I watch I watch hoping for it to be good. I don’t feel like investing my time to hate watch. Once in a while something comes along that I do feel a strong need to check out despite a lack of interest on my part because people have told me it is really bad or really good but that is not too often.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a show I went into hoping it would be quite good. I was familiar with She-Hulk mostly through the John Byrne series that began in 1989. For me that was a weird fourth wall breaking series that lovingly poked fun at the superhero genre in multiple ways. It embraced the medium.
That series even took some appreciative swipes at the character and creators. I hoped what would come from this series would be something like that. I wanted a loving poke at the live action superhero genre in general and perhaps I was looking for humor and silliness. And maybe an occasional superhero confrontation.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law disappointed in all that. There seems to be several axes to grind on the part of those behind this show starting with the pilot episode. As compared to my introduction that approached with appreciation and affection, this comes at things with a touch of to a serious helping of anger. That makes for a rough ride from the very start.
It frames itself at points as wanting to be Ally McBeal but with superpowers. Not my cup of tea but if they had done the Byrne style in this series it would have worked exceedingly well. But they came forward with a great deal of anger and even lashed out at potential viewers/fans which is a weird growing trend in film and television/streaming these days. To entertain they aimed for their own bubble of people rather than for a broader audience.
They start off in the first episode (after the obligatory origin narrative) by going through great lengths to show off how much better Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) is as compared to Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). How? Just because she is from the looks of it. They go forth undermining and at points making the Hulk (more of) a joke (than he was by Avengers: Endgame).
Bruce has gone through a great deal in the films not to mention anything that occurred beforehand to give him anger issues contributing to his Hulk difficulties. Through that all he has learned how to control his anger to have a stable life. Jennifer can do it right away because she has been catcalled. That appears to be greater than hounded by the government, marooned on an alien world where you are forced into gladiatorial combat, and losing your love. Perhaps it is because those behind this have lived sheltered lives and/or never ventured beyond their bubble in any way. Let me give an example why I think this.
Titania is introduced and described as a super powered influencer. Was that meant to be funny or do they think influencers are significant enough that having one with super powers will have some weight that is not entirely comedic or just plain ridiculous? I’m not sure. They certainly believe these people are something more than attention needy individuals using their cell phones to get likes.
I’m not a lawyer but I even draw issue with their portrayal of the law. I do understand this is a fictional universe with superpowered people and gods and demigods romping around, but the Abomination (Tim Roth) got a pass and paroled after he escaped from prison. It might’ve been against his will but I’m not sure how that escaping from prison could be ignored. Never mind that his inclusion in the MCU now makes events in The Incredible Hulk canonical. Not only did he escape from prison shortly before his parole hearing, but he was sent to prison because he went rogue while in the military and destroyed a significant chunk of a city. He was not a hero in the scenario. He was most assuredly the villain. That much was acknowledged yet he gets parole? How does that work?
The show also makes a very common mistake that is now embraced as good writing with the character of Jennifer Walters. Once people called it out for what it was but now it’s seen as quality. And I’m talking about making other characters weak to make one appear strong. Jennifer is certainly a likable individual, but she is only strong or better than others because those around her are inferior in most every way. At best she comes off as great or good because there is nobody in her tiny bubble that can compete or compare.
The male characters especially so. And some of them even have the added bonus of being sexist and misogynist yet have clearly never faced consequences in the #MeToo era which exists in the MCU. It gets mentioned a few times. How does that even work? Are they trying to say that #MeToo was a joke? That it was pointless? I’m not sure but if you’re going to include something like that as a mention it would stand a reason that it might mildly at the minimum play into events of this limited run series.
Dennis Bukowski (Drew Matthews) is unrepentantly sexist and a complete idiot who thought that Megan The Stallion was dating him even though she drove a Mazda Miata or some such crappy car and needed him to pay of all sorts of debts. As a quick joke that is funny, but it becomes a plot element and gets pounded into the ground to the point of being painful to watch.
In the series Jennifer Walters comes off as resentful not because she has superpowers against her will and they have irreparably altered her life but because superpowers have given her opportunities that being a normal human otherwise would not have. Essentially she’s a celebrity lawyer and being She-Hulk got her a job to head up a brand new superpowered legal division. And she treats it as a bad thing from the start.
The characters are generally shallow or vapid. I’m not talking shallow and vapid for a drama but shallow and vapid for a comedy. They have no substance in even a comedic sense. They complain about genuinely insignificant stuff as if it is a big deal. It is as if the creators had no real troubles in their lives and thus the genuinely petty is importantal. This could be another sign of the creators behind this have a very small bubble in which they travel and have never ventured beyond.
Furthering that the dialogue in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law feels like it is written by people that have never stepped outside of their very small circle. They know no one that thinks or acts differently than them. Their characters that view the world differently than they do are written based on their biases and not based on interaction with others.
They say write based on your experiences and that is true. That means you need to know how other people think based on your interactions with them. If you base it on what this person said about this person or base it on what this person said about what this person said about this person or so on you get an unrealistic version filtered through numerous biases. It does not become comedically bad but rather laughably bad.
The finale has been talked about a great deal. I heard people saying they strike out at the potential audience or even online trolls. All of those things are quite true. But what seems to get missed in all this is that the ending takes a swipe at the Marvel Formula and formulaic writing in general. They mock the predictable ending that often happens in Marvel. They point out how they all have these huge epic finales whether they are deserved or not in connection to the narrative.
The problem is this very element comes out of left field for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. The show did not build towards this. It just didn’t feel connected even though it was a smart ending. And given the general poor writing of the series I find it rather ironic.
And that axe to grind? It’s certainly against fans and men. These are people upset that the fans don’t automatically embrace whatever they toss out at them and they view their lack of success or general issues as caused by others rather than their lack of skill or producing something appealing. I’m not saying sexism doesn’t happen and there aren’t misogynists out there or that others might sabotage you. Sometimes the reason things don’t work out or go bad is because of you regardless of your sex. You need to take a look at the situation rather than react reflexively and emotionally unlike the people behind this show.
And who can forget the CGI? I know given what they started in the MCU you couldn’t do She-Hulk in body paint. I don’t think the audience would’ve gone for it these days. The character of She-Hulk works fine from a distance but up close it’s just the actresses face put on a CGI body. It’s my understanding that there is a body double at points so I’m guessing some kind of face swap technology was used in order to make the switch. It often works weird and flat. It looks like a bad photoshop job and it takes you out of things. Keep the close shots short but ultimately keep most of it from a distance.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is bad from start to finish. The dialogue is bad. The CGI is awful. The writing is amateur. I’m not sure who this is aimed at, but it’s certainly not aimed at people with taste. For the love of all that is good save yourself and don’t even think about watching. I regret all that time I cannot get back. I could have been reading some good stuff involving the character rather than watching this.