Running time: 30-40 minutes
Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Jameela Jamil, Ginger Gonzanga, Mark Ruffalo, Tim Roth, Benedict Wong, and Charlie Cox.
If you're a comics fan, you'll know that She-Hulk's first two comic series were The Savage She-Hulk and The Sensational She-Hulk (with the latter being the more famous adjective used for her). Her series had a distinct flavour, with She-Hulk frequently breaking the fourth wall and addressing the audiences. So does She-Hulk: Attorney at Law have that same sort of flavour? It's not quite as savage, but it does score on the sensational front.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is the final superhero television series in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It focuses on the titular character, a lawyer who has all the power of Hulk but none of the psychological downsides. However, this means that she's a beacon for trouble in the MCU, forcing her to fend off bad guys while still trying to pursue a career as a lawyer.
She-Hulk seems perfectly well-balanced by the time she's fully introduced and her secret identity as Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) is no longer a secret after supervillain Titania attacks. She also begins the series on a good note by getting some (unneeded) help from Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). He thinks that She-Hulk will have the same problems he did, that of having a different "Hulk" personality emerge when he uses his powers, but discovers that to his surprise that She-Hulk has none. What could be so bad about that? Well, as She-Hulk reveals, she has no trouble controlling her rage — because as a woman, she faces countless injustices and microaggressions in life that has trained her to hold back the very same rage that Hulk used to have trouble controlling. After all, Bruce Banner is a white male, who hasn't quite faced the amount of injustice that She-Hulk has. And this sets the tone for the entire series.
And that's a theme that runs throughout the series — the injustices that She-Hulk has to face. Yes, as a lawyer, she literally has to face injustice (and fight it in court). But she also gets unfairly blamed for situations and gets the short end of the stick at times, and her experience as a woman (and now a supehero) has also left her more used to the blatant unfairness of the world. It almost makes you question — are her superpowers really the blessing that we all think they are, or is she right for not wanting them, since they sometimes make her life worse? This is where it sets itself apart from the other MCU shows.
Nevertheless, the series has its lighter moments and embraces just how normal the superhero life is in the MCU. It's a show that could only have come out in Phase Four (or later), and it plays upon all the continuity that's been laid down in earlier MCU films and shows.
However, the visual effects aren't quite what you expect. Perhaps most of the budget has gone to the title character, who, admittedly, doesn't always look stellar. Hulk does (but then, maybe it's because they've got more experience in bringing him to life?). A particularly egregious scene comes in the first episode, when a bag of snacks goes flying into the air in slow motion and it doesn't look like snacks at all. It gets better later though, when less ambitious shots are attempted.
The series also attempts (key word: attempts) to have She-Hulk break the fourth wall like she does in the comics, but it doesn't quite work in the first few episodes. It picks up later, when it is integrated much better and used for plot purposes. In any case, She-Hulk's character and storyline is enough to stand on its own — I, for one, am interested to see what path She-Hulk takes in the series and where we'll end up. Since She-Hulk was a temporary member of the Fantastic Four in the comics... but I get ahead of myself.
But the biggest question the series raises is — when will we get another solo Hulk film (or even series)? We find out how he recovered from his injury in Avengers: Endgame and some choice references are made to Avengers: Age of Ultron, but why give so much air time to Hulk when, you know, it's She-Hulk's series? Of course, there are distribution reasons for why Hulk doesn't have his own film — so maybe this is the best compromise we can get.
Ultimately, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a mixed bag, although it promises to get better. The series will hopefully shed some revealing insights on injustice in the MCU. Stay back for a post-credits scene in each episode because, you know, it's an MCU show.