By newbie, I mean to the genre of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, which has been described as a legal comedy. Not a newbie at writing, no. To preface this review, A) I’ve never watched any legal dramas or lawyer shows, ever (though I love comedy, which I know can be pretty general); and B) I haven’t read the Marvel comics. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched all (most?) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s shows and movies, and I’m generally a fan of their storytelling, but I have no experience with their source material. So what I’m trying to say is, I’m reviewing this series blind without knowing what’s what in the comics or having any experience with legal dramas (comedy or otherwise), and whatever I say comes from being a fan of the MCU!
Disclaimer: I don’t think the below contain spoilers at all because I double-checked the trailers and content Marvel has put out so far, but proceed with caution or go watch the trailers first.
Explaining She-Hulk: Attorney At Law
Sure, I could copy and paste the official synopsis here, but what fun is that? (I’m no Luis from Ant-Man, but I’ll give it my best shot.) From what I’ve seen so far coupled with the information I’ve gotten, She-Hulk: Attorney At Law is about Jennifer Walters, a lawyer in her thirties, navigating her professional career and personal life. Sounds like the rest of us, no? But then there’s also the fact that she’s a Hulk, and she’s an attorney that specialises in superhuman-oriented legal cases. Not just a regular lawyer now, eh? A few other things that spice it up further include:
- Jennifer did not sign up to be a superhero: she became a hulk purely by accident
- Now that she has power, she’s somewhat resistant to them and wants to go back to “normal”, so the show largely centres on how she deals with her newfound powers and identity
- Work-life balance + discovering what her job as a superhuman-oriented attorney entails
Based on the four episodes I’ve watched (almost half, there are nine episodes in total), the central theme of it seems to be self-discovery, self-acceptance, and self-empowerment, all with interwoven plot lines of the larger MCU.
No, you won’t be getting an episode-by-episode breakdown of the series. I just happen to think that the first episode is slightly different from the subsequent ones, so I’m dividing them this way. The pilot episode introduces us to Jennifer Walters, and we get to learn who she is, what she does, and how she becomes a Hulk. As you might have noticed in the trailer, Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) makes a comeback as Jennifer’s cousin, and this episode goes straight into it by exploring the family dynamics between the two of them. Basically, Bruce is excited that there’s a another Hulk, and he wants to share all his Hulk knowledge with her, telling her that it’s a “multi-year journey”. Jennifer doesn’t seem to go through the exact same thing as he does, and she seems to “hulk” better than he does when he tries to teach her things. Hilarity ensues as they both “hulk out” together, and Bruce and Jen present different arguments when it comes to having superpowers and what it means for them. There are also a couple of nice Avengers references, and it made my heart twinge and soar in equal measure, so keep your eyes/ears open for those!
These episodes are basically about the consequences and process of Jennifer having to deal with the fact that she’s She-Hulk now. There are a couple of new characters we’ll get to see, including:
- Nikki Ramos, Jennifer’s best friend and paralegal (Ginger Gonzaga)
- The superhuman influencer Titania, She-Hulk’s nemesis (Jameela Jamil)
- Augustus “Pug” Pugliese, Jennifer’s new friend and an attorney (Josh Segara)
- Todd, one of Jennifer’s bad dates and a new client (Jon Bass)
- Mallory Book, a fellow and steadfast attorney (Renée Elise Goldsberry)
- Emil Blonksy/The Abomination, the big baddie in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk (Tim Roth)
As of episode 4, not all of these characters have appeared or are significant enough, so there’s plenty to learn still. Benedict Wong’s Wong, the Sorcerer Supreme, also has a role, as you might have noticed from the trailer. There’s also another somewhat unexpected recurring character that isn’t mentioned above whose appearance I’ve come to enjoy. She hasn’t had much to do so far, but I’m waiting to see if her character will be more significant in the later episodes. Nikki is great as Jennifer’s best friend and rock as Jennifer navigates this major change, and Wong is absolutely delightful, being the spirituality and mystic arts counterpart to Jennifer’s logic and law.
Keeping it short so I don’t inadvertently give anything away, but so far I really like it. I think it’s a relatable, inspiring show about navigating change above all else, and taking control of your narrative again when things get out of hand. Notice I haven’t said much about the courtroom stuff: it’s there, but there’s more to it than courtroom drama. Also, every episode so far has a mid-credits scene, and those are legit my favourite bits because they’re hilarious. Make sure you don’t skip them! She-Hulk: Attorney At Law premieres today on Disney+ Hotstar.
A Couple More Things…
For those of you who want a rundown/some trivia of the character of She-Hulk based on the Marvel comics, here:
- Stan Lee and John Buscema created this character
- She was introduced on 10th February 1980 in The Savage She-Hulk comic series
- She became a member of the Avengers in 1982
- She was featured on the Fantastic Four series beginning in 1984
- Writer/artist John Byrne infused the character with her signature fourth-wall-breaking sense of humour (which we get to see on screen!) in his Sensational She-Hulk comic series that ran from 1989 to 1994
Okay, that’s all. Seriously. Bye.
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