She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022) s01e01 – A Normal Amount of Rage

It’s too bad the special effects weren’t affordable in 2013 because “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” seems like it could’ve changed the outcome of the early Marvel Studios TV offerings if they’d been able to make it happen. The show’s fun, easy, and accessible, with lead Tatiana Maslany providing just the right combination of snark and exasperation as she finds herself stuck in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The show adopts the comic’s fourth wall breaking, which—it immediately shows—should’ve long been a standard in superhero movies and TV. The episode starts with Maslany doing boring lawyer stuff with her able assistant Ginger Gonzaga and the shitty white male second chair, Drew Matthews. Gonzaga comments about She-Hulk, leading to Maslany breaking the wall and giving us the flashback origin.

Maslany is Mark Ruffalo’s cousin, which will explain why they share the strange genetic mutation (get it, mutation, get it) to allow them to turn gramma radiation overdoses into golly green giants and not disintegrate into flesh soup. It’s important because, after an unexpected alien spaceship crashes into them while they’re on a bonding car trip, Maslany gets exposed to Ruffalo’s blood and immediately hulks out.

The comic origin involves mobsters. The show’s origin has Ruffalo trying to mansplain Hulking to Maslany in a tropical paradise and getting shown up, scene after scene, to comic effect. Sometimes with action-comedy, special effects set pieces.

The special effects on Ruffalo Hulk are really impressive. Unfortunately, the special effects on Maslany She-Hulk aren’t. She-Hulk isn’t running any scenes yet, but hopefully, they get better. I’m assuming they won’t. At least, not for a few years until Disney+ updates them on the sly.

There’s a lot of humor, including making Brodie Bruce jokes about a particularly well-butted superhero friend of Ruffalo. Ruffalo’s quite good this time out; he’s doing an Uncle Hulk thing, the latest Dad Avenger, but they give him post-Avengers: Endgame material. Timeline-wise, he’s finally getting his hand healed after his Snap.

Good direction from Kat Coiro. Maslany’s a delightful lead. “She-Hulk” sure seems like it ought to be swell, though this episode doesn’t give away anything about the subsequent series. It’s very much an origin story pilot episode.

But, again, sure seems like they’ve got this one figured out.

One Comment

  1. Vernon W

    Hmmm.. while the trappings are perfect, overall the show seemed like a bit of an info dump at times. I guess this is what we’ll expect of some of these types of meta human stories with a lot of years behind them as characters. While waiting to get to the actual plot, the establishing episode kind of reads like a Cliffs Notes of comic characters histories. Onward to the real show!

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