She-Hulk Smashes into the Small Screen


Image courtesy of Marvel Studios

Andre Chabra, Arts Editor

From August 18th to October 13th, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is the latest television show in Marvel’s ever-growing cinematic universe (MCU). Available only on Disney+, it is the first live-action adaptation of She-Hulk and serves as her origin story. 

She-Hulk was created by Jessica Gao and stars Tatianna Maslany (Orphan Black) as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk, along with Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) as Tatiana, and Tim Roth as Abomination. The cast includes Ginger Gonzaga, Josh Segarra, and Renée Elise Goldsberry, with special appearances by Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk and Charlie Cox as Daredevil.

The show follows Jennifer Walters as she becomes the She-Hulk by coming into contact with the Hulk’s blood. It centers around how Walters tries to manage her life as a lawyer with her life as a superhero. 

She frequently encounters problems that stem from her powers, but also finds that there are quite a few perks. On her hero’s journey throughout the show, she does all sorts of things, like helping to get Abomination, a classic enemy of the Hulk, released on parole, working with Wong the Sorcerer Supreme of the Dr. Strange films, and stopping a supervillain with the help of Daredevil. In addition to her newfound role as a superhero, the show explores her love life as she tries to get to know different guys, but, of course, something always happens that ruins it. Thankfully, she and Daredevil get along very well.

The show does an excellent job of balancing humor with serious topics. Walters frequently has to deal with misogyny as people throughout the show constantly belittle her and her powers just because she is a woman. She also has to deal with the fact that so many men treat her differently between her Hulk form and her normal human form. A lot of them can’t stand to see a woman that’s bigger and stronger than them, while others couldn’t care less about Walters as a human because to them, only She-Hulk is special. Tackling these issues head-on is something She-Hulk does very well, especially through the moments where Jennifer breaks the fourth wall to speak to the audience and point out how stupid some of these things are. Those fourth wall breaks are a reference to the comics where She-Hulk did the same thing, so that is a nice touch.

Unfortunately, those fourth wall breaks hurt the show significantly in its final episode. Without getting too much into spoilers, the general essence of what happens is that the final episode’s story is completely based on one massive fourth wall break to move the plot forward. Instead of having the characters actually act out a coherent plot, the writers had Walters break the 4th wall and literally rewrite the entire ending. So nothing in the ending happens because of the story, it just happens because Walters makes it happen. This plot is such lazy writing from the people who made She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Like other shows who have done similar things, it is completely unsatisfying because the story had actually built up a villain and then just threw everything out the window. Instead of coming up with a logical explanation grounded in the rules of the MCU, they just said no. It is so egregiously bad that half of the entire episode (which is only 34 minutes, including the very long end credits) is dedicated to this fourth wall break that doesn’t bother explaining why anything happens the way it does. Characters disappear from the story or are brought into it at the very last minute with no logical explanation. The team behind She-Hulk: Attorney at Law really made a massive letdown of a finale.

Despite these big issues with the last episode, everything else Marvel did with Walters in her first MCU appearance worked well. The show does leave fans wondering what She-Hulk does next, whether it be in the courtroom as Walters or on the streets as She-Hulk. There are plans to bring She-Hulk into the wider MCU through the movies, and fans are already speculating as to who she will team up with next.