She-Hulk: Series Premiere Review – IGN

This is a spoiler-free review of Marvel’s She-Hulk: Attorney At Law premiere, which premieres on Disney+ on Aug. 18.

There are so many Marvel characters that fit right into the sitcom mold that it’s frankly pretty surprising that She-Hulk: Attorney At Law is the first time we’re seeing the format tackled by the media giant. Waiting worked out in their favor, though. Jennifer Walters’ plucky fourth wall breaks and extremely relatable fish-out-of-water antics as she navigates her newfound powers are a perfect fit for the shorter, funnier style of episode.

Not a huge surprise here, but Tatiana Maslany navigates both Jen and She-Hulk with ease. Given her history on Orphan Black, where she juggled a wide array of characters, we know that’s more due to her skill than it is the fact that She-Hulk isn’t really an alternate personality (unlike Bruce Banner, she doesn’t has to contend with another hand on the wheel in Hulk form) She-Hulk just comes with all the confidence you’d expect out of a six-foot-seven-inch gamma-powered superhero. (Don’t call her that, of course.)

As expected, the premiere gives us a crash course on how Jen became She-Hulk. But, more than anything, it’s all about establishing her relationship with her cousin, Bruce (Mark Ruffalo). The two share an exceptional chemistry that you’ve already seen highlighted pretty heavily in the trailers. Kat Coiro (director and executive producer) and Jessica Gao (head writer and executive producer) found balance between highlighting Bruce as the knowing mentor while keeping the first episode firmly anchored in Jen’s story.

The effects that fans immediately started dogging in that first trailer are much improved as well. While speaking to press earlier this summer, Gao called out that part of the criticism over She-Hulk’s appearance is due to people believing they can constantly comment on women’s looks, and that take isn’t totally unfounded. Hulk looks more natural because Banner is allowed to have scruff and imperfections on his face, pulling from the flat matte look he would have if men were expected to have perfect complexions at all times. Admittedly, She-Hulk may have looked a touch better if Maslany’s makeup was applied practically and then blended digitally after the fact, but that change wouldn’t have made much of a noticeable difference.

The 30-minute sitcom format gave some fans pause when it comes to its overall importance in the MCU, but those fears can be put to rest. You’re not getting any specifics in this review, but the premiere alone gives some big answers when it comes to Bruce, Smart Hulk, and the progression of the Hulk… gene(?) so far as it relates to the varying reactions between Bruce Banner and Jennifer Walters. As a sitcom, She-Hulk has to work double-time on the callbacks to give fans the feeling of connection to the MCU. But, given the show’s format, none of them feel shoehorned. A Tony Stark joke here, a Steve Rogers quip there, a random spaceship comes out of nowhere… It’s all a day in the life of your average everyday lawyer who just happens to be related to the Hulk living her life in the MCU.

Jen’s dry wit coupled with Bruce’s earnestness give some real opportunity for humor.


Most important to the format the series has chosen, though, is the fact that it’s freaking hilarious. The fourth wall breaks aren’t overused, and Jen’s dry wit coupled with Bruce’s earnestness give some real opportunity for humor that Gao and Coiro made sure to capitalize on. Watching smartypants Bruce Banner experience jealousy for the first time in his life while his cousin outpaces him in every way? Comedy gold.

And, perhaps unexpectedly, She-Hulk: Attorney At Law captures the female experience maybe even more than previous woman-fronted MCU entries. We’ve had some rockstar lady heroes come our way in the MCU, but this is the first series that feels unabashedly and contemporarily female (we see you Agent Carter, and we love and miss you). Don’t worry, dudes, you’ve got plenty to laugh along with here! But Jen’s struggles as a woman in the workplace and the world as a whole hit especially hard for those of us who have existed on the female-identifying portion of the gender spectrum. And by “hard” I mean handled in the most hilarious “it happened to me” ways possible.

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