"A NORMAL AMOUNT OF RAGE"
Written by Alex Gilston / August 19, 2022
As Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) starts to draw to a close She-Hulk: Attorney at Law introduces us to Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), an aspiring attorney, and cousin of the Hulk himself Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo).
She-Hulk starts us off with an expositionally heavy first episode, mainly to explain exactly why Jennifer Walters can, like her cousin, turn into a Hulk. Whilst on a road trip together Jennifer and Bruce get thrown off the road by an unknown spaceship, and when some of Bruce’s blood gets into a cut on Jennifer’s arm she instantly Hulks up. Most of the first episode is set at Bruce Banner’s namaste beach house in Mexico, built for him by his friend Tony Stark to help with his Hulking tendencies. Bruce is the mentor and Jennifer the mentee as he teaches her how to deal with being a Hulk. There’s a delicious irony in the fact that something which took Bruce over a decade to tame Jennifer can control within a matter of days. The setting and dynamic between the two leaves for some great character work. Getting to know what makes Jennifer tick and having some previous narrative gaps filled in by Bruce (Finally getting an answer as to why he was just Bruce Banner at the end of Shang-Chi).
She-Hulk establishes itself as a comedy fairly quickly. It all seems to land really well considering it’s a departure from most of the other Disney Plus Marvel shows. But between the familial quips and Jennifer theorising whether Steve Rogers was a virgin, whether She-Hulk is going to be funny isn’t something we’re going to have to worry about.
Tatiana Maslany is golden as Jennifer Walters. Even through the, still slightly, uncanny valley CGI her performance fits the bill. A lot of the new characters have been introduced in Phase 4 of the MCU and considering the quality of most of these additions it could have been a tall order, but she proves that Jennifer is on her way to potentially being a fan favourite. It’s great to see Mark Ruffalo back is the big green guy, getting to hear what he’s been up to since the events of Avengers: Endgame was rewarding as much as it was satisfying. But fans of the Hulk needn’t get overly excited as Ruffalo’s Special Guest Star credit suggests we won’t be seeing much more of him as the series goes on.
She-Hulk episode one ends on a slight cliffhanger that sets up the rest of the series, introducing Jameela Jamil as Titania. If episode one is anything to go by the rest of this series could be really great.