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She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

TELEVISION | Marvel’s superhero–legal comedy mashup suffers from flawed execution and poor writing

Marvel Studios

<em>She-Hulk: Attorney at Law</em>
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Rated TV-14
➤ Disney+
➤ Profanities and superhero action

Disney’s Marvel Studios continues to churn out superhero movies and TV shows at a breakneck pace, and though some of us are feeling fatigue at the thought of watching another installment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe(s), at least Marvel attempts to mix up the genres a bit.

They’ve dabbled in spy thrillers, space operas, kung-fu flicks, heist films, teen drama, romantic comedy, and whatever it is you would call WandaVision. Their latest series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, takes a crack at the legal comedy.

Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) is an up-and-coming ­lawyer who happens to have a very famous cousin named Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). On a family bonding excursion, Jennifer and Bruce get into an accident and their blood momentarily mingles, and thanks to their similar DNA, Jennifer gains the ability to transform into a Hulk. Not that she wants to be a Hulk. She wants to be a lawyer.

It turns out Jennifer is better at controlling her new powers than cousin Bruce ever was, but for better or worse, when you’re a Hulk, society treats you differently. The only lawyer job Jennifer can find is at a firm that wants her to lead its new superhuman law division. The catch is the firm doesn’t want Jennifer—it wants She-Hulk. Jennifer must figure out who she’s become while navigating a new job and fighting crime.

The concept has promise—a mashup of the Avengers and Ally McBeal—but the show suffers from flawed execution and poor writing. The CGI work is shockingly bad. After trailers for the series came out a few months ago, fans mocked the show’s cheap look, and Marvel didn’t make many improvements to the show before it debuted on Disney+. When Jennifer transforms into She-Hulk she looks fake, and when she walks around she looks like a character from a 10-year-old video game. Some of the visual effects artists complained they were overworked with deadlines that were too tight.

Besides the bad special effects, the writers make choices that smash the show’s entertainment value. She-Hulk indulges in a constant breaking of the fourth wall, a device that once was clever, but the more common it becomes the more annoying it becomes. Jennifer’s direct addresses to the camera aren’t even well done. Sometimes it takes half a second to realize she’s talking to the audience. The dialogue also tends to get preachy. In one particularly eye-roll inducing scene, Jennifer gives Bruce a lecture about how women are good at controlling their anger because if they don’t, they’ll “get called emotional, or difficult, or might just ­literally get murdered.” Her speech ends up sounding like someone ­copied and pasted a leftist Twitter rant into the script.

Ally McBeal helped pioneer cringe comedy, but She-Hulk: Attorney at Law just ends up being cringey.

Legal series on TV through the years

  • Perry Mason / 1957-1966
  • The Law and Mr. Jones / 1960–1962
  • The Defenders / 1961–1965
  • The Paper Chase / 1978-1986
  • L.A. Law / 1986-1994
  • Ally McBeal / 1997-2002
  • The Practice / 1997–2004
  • Suits / 2011–2019

Collin Garbarino

Collin is WORLD’s arts and culture editor. He is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Louisiana State University and resides with his wife and four children in Sugar Land, Texas.



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