This is a spoiler-free review of She-Hulk season 1, available to stream now on Disney+. Check out our spoiler-filled reviews of each episode below:
She-Hulk: Lawyer – Series Premiere Review
She-Hulk: Lawyer – Episode 2 Review
She-Hulk: Lawyer – Episode 3 Review
She-Hulk: Lawyer – Episode 4 Review
She-Hulk: Lawyer – Episode 5 Review
She-Hulk: Lawyer – Episode 6 Review
She-Hulk: Lawyer – Episode 7 Review
She-Hulk: Lawyer – Episode 8 Review
She-Hulk: Lawyer – Season Finale Review
There was a lot of intrigue when She-Hulk: Attorney At Law was announced. After all, Jennifer Walters is the leader of A-Force, the all-female Avengers team. Now, we may not be in A-Force territory yet (let’s do it, Kevin), but She-Hulk proved that with a sitcom format, some serious changes, and a host of cameos and breaks from the fourth wall, the world is Jen’s oyster.
The trio of Kat Coiro (Executive Producer/Director), Jessica Gao (Executive Producer/Head Writer), and Tatiana Maslany (She-Hulk/Jen Walters) isn’t the only reason She-Hulk: Attorney At Law is successful, but they deserve the lion’s share of the credit between them. Coiro and Gao knew exactly what they wanted to bring to the table with Jen, and there’s no better person on the planet to play her than Maslany (so take this as a shout-out to casting directors Sarah Finn and Jason B. Stamey, too). He immediately trusts her irreverent tone, and Jen easily wins our hearts with a chronic relationship and by instilling an unwavering desire to encourage her success.
A sitcom is the perfect vehicle for someone who just wants to be invisible and do their job by suddenly turning into a giant, green, indestructible bomb. By using humor, Gao and the creative team were able to highlight some of the more ridiculous parts of a woman’s everyday life while also showing the struggles of having superpowers on you in a way that we haven’t seen tackled in the MCU before.
The use of the sitcom format doesn’t fall apart until the very end, and the same can be said for fourth wall breaks. Until that last episode, Jen’s eye contact with the camera and her confidence in her humor served him well. However, a giant bombshell in the penultimate episode left the show unable to come to terms with her tone. Serious issues can be addressed through humor, as shown all the time in other seasons of 22-24 episodes. Unfortunately, She-Hulk: Attorney At Law seems to be running out of time. Any consideration for the abject humiliation Jen experiences is abandoned in favor of quick humor and an ending that she had too much to get to in the span of just 30 minutes.
The ending of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law may not be the best episode of the bunch, but it’s not enough to drag down the overall success of the show. Fans concerned that the series had no value to the overall MCU canon were proven wrong time and time again, not least with the major involvement of characters like Wong (Benedict Wong), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Daredevil (Charlie Cox) but with character introductions that have enormous implications for the future of the franchise.
The value of the show as something entirely new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe can’t be underestimated either. While the MCU is still largely genderless, this is the first time we’ve seen female sexuality front and center in one of its series. In a world where women are still told they’re “asking for it” in any context, Gao and company brought us a woman in her 30s looking for healthy sex and sent Daredevil down the proverbial path of shame. superhero outfit and all. Phase 1 could never.
That freshness isn’t unique to his brash approach to Jen’s sex life, either. She-Hulk: Attorney At Law brings toxic masculinity to task in a way that has never been seen in this franchise or much of mainstream superhero media in general. It’s easy to roll your eyes at that and say that there are plenty of other genders already changing on the toxic masculinity front, but that’s the point. The sheer number of young and old men religiously watching the MCU cannot be understated, and She-Hulk straightened up and yelled from the rooftops that “boys won’t be boys! The children will be held accountable for their actions!” That’s a huge deal for a franchise with as much mass appeal as the MCU, which previously chose to be what it perceived to be the most “widely accessible.” But being “widely accessible” has historically translated into “accessible to men.” I love a Captain America movie as much as anyone else, and all kinds of superheroes are for all kinds of people, but it’s exciting to see it reach a broader demographic.
Meanwhile, digital effects have been the elephant in the room ever since the first She-Hulk: Attorney At Law trailer dropped. There are unsubstantiated rumors about a massive per-episode budget for She-Hulk, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind for what I’m about to say. First of all, those numbers are not corroborated by any real source, so they will be treated as a rumor until proven otherwise. But, as someone who started her career as an Arrowverse critic, the effects just didn’t bother me that much. Were they spotless? No. Do I stand by what I said in my premiere review, that Jen looks a little weirder than the Hulk because she’s allowed to have blemishes and facial hair? Yes. It looks like a TV show with a massive CGI character. Blaming him for being something other than what he is seems a bit strange to me.
The Essential She-Hulk Comics To Read Before The MCU Series
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law was a huge success. He had a bit of a wobble on the dismount but stuck the landing anyway. We expect to see a lot more of Jennifer Walters in the MCU to come. Given her relationship with Matt Murdock, Daredevil: Born Again isn’t off the table, and we’ll continue to hold out hope for an A-Force movie until the theater is gone.
Amelia is the Entertainment Streaming Editor here at IGN. She is also a film and television critic and spends too much time talking about dinosaurs, superheroes and popular horror. You can usually find her with her dog, Rogers. There may be cheeseburgers involved. Follow her on social media @ThatWitchMia
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