She-Hulk Attorney At Law

Is She-Hulk Attorney At Law a fresh addition to the Marvel MCU, or Mary Sue on gamma-radiated steroids?
42/10065801
Starring
Tatiana Maslany, Mark Ruffalo, Tim Roth, Benedict Wong, Ginger Gonzaga
Duration
9 episodes (30 min each)
Rating
TV-14
Genre
Comedy, Superhero
Release date
August 18, 2022
Where to watch
Disney+
Overall Score
Rating Overview
Plot/Story
Performance
Visuals/Cinematography
Direction
Non-Wokeness
Rating Summary
With no story to speak of, an out-of-touch and shallow point of view, and mediocre CGI, She-Hulk is a waste of resources. There are no standout performances, good or bad, but with such bland and useless dialogue that's not really a surprise. If you're looking for an engaging and exciting Marvel series with interesting characters, turn on Netflix and watch the first two seasons of Daredevil and The Punisher, and the first seasons of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.
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I don’t like to throw around the word “hero” but, since I’m reviewing a comic book adaptation, it seems appropriate. The next time that you see me on a plane, you need to offer me your first-class seat because I am an absolute hero for sitting through this garbage so that you don’t have to. Not only can I save you the time of watching this wreck but I can save you the time of reading the rest of this review. Don’t watch She-Hulk Attorney At Law. It possesses no redeeming qualities sufficient enough to overcome its inherent problems.

Ok, if you’re still reading, then I assume that you like punishment, or are looking for just enough info to piss off your blue-haired Pelosi-loving sister-in-law at the Thanksgiving table. Either way, buckle up.

She-Hulk

She-Hulk Attorney At Law is a contrived and uninspired mess from the moment of its first fade-in, which happens to be on an unnatural exposition dump, all the way to its intentionally self-aware snooze of a conclusion. That’s right, the show makes a point of letting the viewer know that it doesn’t want an exciting ending. So, instead of the traditionally meaningless MCU 3rd act CGI battle, we get even more meaningless nothing.

slide 1
1 Vacation
2 Shop
3 Amazon

That’s not hyperbole. We get absolutely nothing. By the time that Jen gets back from her trip out of the show’s reality and into the “real world,” (sounds fun, right. It’s not.) the action is over, the police have arrested the bad guys and we’re off to a family meal.

At this point, I’d normally give a plot summary of the show. However, since the show has no plot, it’s impossible. Jen gets turned into a hulk, spends a few moments wrapping up some silly lawsuits, has sex with some strangers, and comes to terms with her transformation. That took 9 thirty-minute episodes and, again, is not a plot. It’s just stuff that happened.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not under the delusion that every piece of film/TV has to be a plot-driven masterpiece. In fact, some of the best and most engaging films and programs are character pieces. Think Seinfeld; that’s a show that is literally about nothing and, therefore, is completely dependent on interesting characters to move the story along. With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the characters.

she-hulk attorney at law whatever he can do she can do better...for reasonsJen Walters (a.k.a. She-Hulk) starts the series as a thirty-something deputy district attorney for the city of Los Angeles. We quickly learn that she is a whiny complainer and a professional victim who has the audacity to compare being cat-called to the decade-long nightmare (including his self-exile and eventual enslavement) that her cousin Bruce (aka The Hulk) has gone through since his transformation.

She belittles Bruce at every opportunity because she is a strong modern woman (re: snarky b!t@h). Of course, maybe she should belittle Bruce because for no given reason she’s immediately better at everything Hulk within 24 hours of her transformation.

She’s a master of her body and controlling her strength. She can hold her own in a fistfight with Bruce, who is at least twice her size. Most impressively, she can transform back and forth from Jen to She-Hulk at will, all while retaining her own personality.

Again, there is no given reason for this. She’s not a yoga master. She’s not into martial arts. There’s no mention of her extreme self-control or mind-body connection. In fact, she makes fun of Bruce when he tries to teach her about mind-body connections.

The only thing resembling a reason for her superiority is her narcissistic assertion that she’s better than him. She’s such a Mary Sue in this program that, at one point, while in her human form, she gets sucker punched in the face by a super-powered “villain” hard enough to fly fifteen feet back in the air and, not only does she not have a scratch on her, but she’s able to shake it off and get back up on her feet without help. I’m old enough to remember all the way back to 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, when Bruce jumped out of a plane and straight up died from the landing, only to transform into the Hulk afterward.

The next worthless character in a show of worthless characters is Titania. Titania is the closest thing that the series has to a main antagonist. She’s a social media influencer with super-strength, a fragile ego, and she’s greedy. That’s the end of her character depth.

We are first introduced to Titania when she breaks through a courtroom wall in a rage over having to go to traffic court. During her 3 second rampage, she straight up tries to murder a jury before Jen Hulks out and easily (what a surprise) stops her.

One could be excused if they assumed that this rampaging monster would spend the rest of the series incarcerated and on trial for the destruction of public property and….attempted murder. I mean this is supposed to be a legal comedy, so why not spend some meaningful time in the courtroom with characters and motivations established early on? The answer is “because.”

After this introduction, Titania doesn’t go to super-power prison (that’s a thing in the show). Instead, she’s out and about and her next attack on Jen is to trademark the name She-Hulk, brand crappy beauty products with it, and sue Jen for trademark infringement. That way, in another exciting installment of the show the two super-powered warriors can let their respective lawyers battle it out for a few minutes in a courtroom. Because if there’s one thing that fans of superhero shows can’t get enough of, it’s tertiary characters spending a couple of minutes problem-solving a trademark lawsuit.

Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky

Some of you might remember Emil Blonsky as the single-minded special-forces commander who fights against Bruce (Ed Norton) in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, eventually becoming The Abomination, a foe of near equal ferocity and strength to The Hulk. Well, buckle up boys and girls because the Abomination is back…and now he’s a neutered cartoon character of a man. That’s right, you’ll get to see a bored-looking Tim Roth doing his impersonation of a pothead hippy whose dream it is to run a commune and help d-list super-powered people discover themselves.

The character that probably had most of you on the edge of your seat in anticipation was Daredevil and, boy-howdy, does he deliver. He’s there alright. He fights a bit until She-Hulk jumps in and saves the day. He bangs Jen a bit until he doesn’t. Then he bangs her some more, but only after an awkward conversation with Jen’s dad.

I cannot stress enough how little actually happens in this show.

There are, of course, other characters in the show, but they generally fall into one of three categories: 1.) strong independent women who get it all right and get $h!t done 2.) goofball cartoon character men who are either narcissistic caricatures of male-chauvinists, complete buffoons, or users. 3.) right-wing goofball cartoon character men who are narcissistic caricatures of male chauvinists, complete buffoons, and users.

Oh, yeah and Wong, of Dr. Strange fame, is there…because of reasons. Actually, in one of the many insufferable fourth-wall breaks, the show acknowledges that Wong is there because viewers love Wong and it should help the show’s popularity.

Self-awareness is a common theme throughout the series. Much like her comic book incarnation, Jen breaks the fourth wall throughout the series. Unlike the comic books, it doesn’t work and is largely used as a cover for shoddy writing, especially as the series reaches its conclusion. There are several times, Jen’s character looks into the camera and acknowledges that the series or a particular episode doesn’t feel like it’s headed in the right direction.

Well, I’ve got news for you; acknowledging that your writing and ideas are weak doesn’t excuse the weakness. The real problem with the show isn’t that it wants to subvert expectations and diverge from the traditional MCU hero’s journey with big set pieces and bigger explosions. The problem is that, in one of the aforementioned moments of self-awareness, it labels itself as a legal comedy but it spends very little meaningful time discussing the law and offers even less comedy.

This may be the most glaring example of how unaware of itself the show actually is but I promise you that it isn’t the only one, not even close. In the opening scene, Bruce Banner exposits that, after a decade of living a waking nightmare, he’s been able to create a McGuffin…er that is…hulk-inhibitor that allows him to transform into and live as a human.

Of course, it is irreparably broken a few seconds later in order to create the conditions for Jen’s transformation. A few beats after that, Jen is screeching at Hulk to make one for her instead of trying to help her to better understand and control her transformation (even though the previous scene and her transformation are proof that the inhibitor is only a bandaid solution).

He says that he can’t, that it’s taken him all of these years to develop it, that the broken one was only a prototype that was calibrated specifically to him. Basically, he makes it known that the inhibitor is a non-starter and that she needs to deal with what has happened to her. Then a few episodes later, we find out that the super-powered penal system can hand out transformation inhibitors like candy at Halloween. There’s no explanation given. The show needed inhibitors to go away, so they went away until it needed inhibitors again, so the show had inhibitors again.

In the series’s finale, Jen’s breaking of the fourth wall goes so far as to have her break through the Disney+ menu screen and break into the real world via a making-of documentary. There she finds out that all MCU programs and films are developed via a soulless AI that follows a tested and proven algorithm in order to produce consumer-friendly content. It’s a common enough complaint in the real-real world, but just like everything else in this show, it falls flat.

This breaking of the fourth wall is too much and isn’t earned within the context of the rest of the show. It’s clear that the writers couldn’t figure out how to end a series that had no plot, so they skipped past the ending and went straight to the mid-credit scene to set up the next MCU product.

WOKE ELEMENTS

The show is built on the foundation that to be a strong independent woman, you must also be a b!t@h and that men are either buffoons, misogynists, or both. Here’s a perfect example. There is an awards ceremony given for the female lawyer of the year. It’s in an upscale venue. It’s beautifully decorated and a very classy event. When asked by the host (a man), “what’s it like being a female lawyer,” one of the show’s main supporting characters, who is also one of the award recipients, reply’s “twice the work, half the recognition, and you’re constantly being asked what it’s like being a female lawyer.” Keep in mind that every time we’ve seen this woman working, we’ve seen a man working too. So, not doing twice the work. In fact, the show never indicates that she or any of the multitude of women in the law firm are doing anything more than any of her male counterparts. For goodness sake, she just won an award that is specifically to acknowledge her excellence in her field at an award ceremony that is specifically to recognize women in her field, and she has the gall to say that she gets half the recognition.

In, maybe the show’s best example of its tone-deafness, the first episode shows Bruce calmly and patiently trying to talk with Jen about her transformation, and she has the balls to say that she understands being angry “infinitely better” than he does because she’s been mansplained to and cat-called (also there’s no way that she’s ever been cat-called). The man was on the run from the U.S. government for the better part of a decade. He had to give up his life’s work, the love of his life, and his identity. He’s had to deal with the guilt of billions in property damage and the displacement of people from their homes. He’s seen his friends die and fought in battles with universe-altering consequences, and almost certainly suffers from PTSD; but sure, some Neanderthal whistled at you, so you know better. You wouldn’t want to be sexualized or anything…unless it serves you.

Yeah, that’s right, at one point, in an effort to hook up with strangers Jen tries a dating app. When it doesn’t work, she tries again as her much better-looking alter-ego, cause girl power is all about embracing and exploiting your own sexuality, but you better not sexualize her…unless you’re hot.

Modern woke sex politics is a major player in the show. Jen hops into bed with people she barely knows, and says that making love is “eww” and it should be called “sleeping with” someone instead. The show acknowledges how miserable most people are after sleeping with someone new (aka a stranger) after the first few days, but isn’t self-aware enough to maybe investigate if that means that you shouldn’t do it.

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James Carrick

James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.

6 comments

  • stanedgie

    May 16, 2023 at 12:12 pm

    definitely one of the worst shows EVER to have (dis)graced our TV’s. This was really the start of (full on) Woke Disney, though many will say it already started in EndGame with the “Girl Super hero’s” bit at the end, but for me, this was when the woke nonsense really hit top gear! I half hope there is not a second season as it does not deserve it, but also, that there is so that it can also be ripped apart like the 1st season was.

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  • ray

    June 1, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    Wow. You mean to tell me that a movie called She Hulk Attorney at Law is Woke?

    From the title I’d have thought it’d be based from start to finish. Will wonders never cease.

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    • Ktuff_morning

      April 11, 2024 at 4:33 pm

      I think the fact you were clearly sarcastic and you still got eight thumbs down from a mostly right wing readership makes me automatically assume right wingers are morons. I always suspected as much and here’s yet another data point. smh

      When viewed critically you can tell this show really did make an effort to tone down the PC. There were several strong white males for example Daredevil who got her hot and left her wanting more, never a nebbish all the way through. She totally shared the screen with him. She was even flustered by him. How’s that for relinquishing female godlike power and showing appreciation to men? To WHITE men FFS! Do you not give the creators of the show any credit at all? When she was attacked in the alleyway she hilariously panics and then says “Oh wait” and she turned into She-Hulk lol. She didn’t beat the guys with resentful viciousness like a PC-signaling show might have. The show is sweet, light-touched, and funny. Can’t you see they aimed at comedy more than virtue-signalling? This website should be honest. Give it another look and give credit where’s it’s due.

      I hereby disallow any negative woken reviews on this page. Erecto Expecto Patronum

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  • ChoketheWoke

    July 1, 2023 at 10:51 pm

    The female writer behind this green vomit was hired because of her sex. Women didn’t create the comic industry, or even contribute to it meaningfully, when all of these characters and stories were originated. It’s Woke as hell when ‘inclusion’ means the exclusion of the groups responsible for doing all the original work.

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  • Ktuff_morning

    April 9, 2024 at 1:14 pm

    I thought the series was fantastic. It was light, funny and interesting. It had a cool comic book feel to it. The ending of the series was unusual I appreciate that. The actress was great. I had no problem with the CGI forehead not a big deal.

    The woke elements didn’t feel particularly poisonous to me; in fact it felt like they kind of toned down the political correctness overall. Woke is political correctness run amok, but I don’t think this series ever went amok. The bad boyfriends she went through for example were hilarious stereotypes and quite un-PC played mostly as comedy. The counseling part was pretty PC but again it was played for comedy more than messaging.

    Is it possible to make any version of She-Hulk that you WOULDN’T find woke?

    Verdict: merely PC, not quite woke.

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  • Trans Rights

    April 30, 2024 at 3:07 pm

    w

    Reply

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