She-Hulk: Attorney At Law may have struggled a bit in its meta finale, but the show still shines as a whole by bringing something fresh and exciting to the MCU.
This is a spoiler-free review of She-Hulk Season 1, available to stream now on Disney+. See our spoiler-filled reviews of each episode below:
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law - Series Premiere Review
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law - Episode 2 Review
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law - Episode 3 Review
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law - Episode 4 Review
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law - Episode 5 Review
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law - Episode 6 Review
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law - Episode 7 Review
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law - Episode 8 Review
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law - Season Finale Review
There was a lot of intrigue when She-Hulk: Attorney At Law got announced. After all, Jennifer Walters is the leader of the A-Force, the all-female Avengers team. Now, we may not be in A-Force territory yet (let’s get crackin, there, Kevin), but She-Hulk proved that with a sitcom format, some serious swings, and a whole lot of cameos and fourth wall breaks, the world is Jen’s oyster.
The trio of Kat Coiro (executive producer and director), Jessica Gao (executive producer and head writer), and Tatiana Maslany (She-Hulk/Jen Walters) isn’t the only reason She-Hulk: Attorney At Law succeeds, but they do 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 please also take this as a shout-out to casting directors Sarah Finn and Jason B. Stamey). It’s immediately confident in its irreverent tone, and Jen wins over our hearts with ease with chronic relatability and by instilling an unshakable desire to root for her success.
A sitcom is the perfect vehicle for someone who just wants to be invisible and do her job suddenly becoming a giant, green, indestructible bombshell. By using humor, Gao and the creative team were able to highlight some of the most ridiculous parts of everyday life as a woman while also showcasing the struggles of having superpowers thrust upon you in a way that we hadn’t seen the MCU tackle previously.
The use of the sitcom format doesn’t fall apart until the finale, and the same can be said for the fourth wall breaks. Up until that last episode, Jen’s eye contact with the camera and reliance on humor served her well. However, a giant bomb in the penultimate episode left the show unable to reconcile with its tone. Serious issues can be tackled via humor, as is shown all the time in other 22-24 episode seasons. Unfortunately, She-Hulk: Attorney At Law seems to just run out of time. Any reckoning with the abject humiliation Jen experiences is dropped in favor of quick-hits humor and a finale that had too much to get to in the span of just 30 minutes.
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law’s finale may not be the best episode of the bunch, but it’s not enough to drag down the overall success of the show. Fans worried that the series wouldn’t have any value to the overall MCU canon were proved wrong time and time again, not just with major involvement from characters like Wong (Benedict Wong), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Daredevil (Charlie Cox) but with character introductions that have huge implications on the future of the franchise.
It’s thrilling to see a wider demographic being reached out to. “
The show’s value as something completely fresh to the Marvel Cinematic Universe can’t be understated either. While the MCU remains largely sexless, 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 what-so-ever, Gao and company brought us a woman in her 30s looking for healthy sexual relationships and sent Daredevil on the proverbial walk of shame, superhero suit and all. Phase 1 could never.
That freshness isn’t exclusive to its unabashed approach to Jen’s sex life, either. She-Hulk: Attorney At Law takes toxic masculinity to task in a way that’s never been seen in this franchise or in much of mainstream superhero media as a whole. It’s easy to roll your eyes at that and say that there are plenty of other genres already taking swings on the toxic masculinity front, but that’s kind of the point. The sheer volume of men young and old who religiously watch the MCU can’t be downplayed, and She-Hulk squared its shoulders and screamed from the rooftops that “boys will not be boys! Boys will be held accountable for their actions!” That’s a big deal for a franchise with as much mass appeal as the MCU, which has previously chosen to be what they perceived to be the most “widely accessible.” But being “widely accessible” has historically translated to “accessible to men.” I love a Captain America flick as much as the next person, and all kinds of superheroes are for all kinds of people, but it’s thrilling to see a wider demographic being reached out to.
The digital effects, meanwhile, have been the elephant in the room since the first She-Hulk: Attorney At Law trailer dropped. There are wildly unsubstantiated rumors of a massive per-episode budget for She-Hulk, but there are a couple of things to take into account for what I’m about to say. First and foremost, those numbers aren’t corroborated by any real source, so they’ll be treated as a rumor until proven otherwise. But, as someone who started her career as a critic for the Arrowverse, the effects just didn’t bother me that much. Were they impeccable? No. Do I stand by what I said in my premiere review, that Jen looks a little bit weirder than Hulk because he is allowed to have imperfections and facial hair? Yeah. It looks like a television show with a massively computer-generated character in it. Faulting it for being anything other than what it is seems kinda weird to me.
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law was a massive success. It had a little bit of a bobble on the dismount, but it stuck the landing all the same. Here’s hoping we see way 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 cinema stops existing.
Amelia is the entertainment Streaming Editor here at IGN. She's also a film and television critic who spends too much time talking about dinosaurs, superheroes, and folk horror. You can usually find her with her dog, Rogers. There may be cheeseburgers involved. Follow her across social @ThatWitchMia
This story originally appeared on: IGN - Author:Amelia Emberwing