This review includes She-Hulk spoilers.
Our She-Hulk: Attorney at Law reviews will be written in a different format from that used for Marvel Cinematic Universe shows with longer episodes: more of a breakdown that we hope will still satisfy regular readers but also help those less familiar with the MCU keep up.
Let's jump to episode one, A Normal Amount of Rage, with that in mind.
The Case: What Happened?
Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) is in a great mood as she prepares for her crucial closing arguments in an upcoming case. Jen (Ginger Gonzaga) is in a good mood, while fellow lawyer Dennis is advising her that he, a man, would be better.
It's true that I've seen the first four episodes of this series and there are still more heavy-handed Men to come up. Some of the show's women are mostly smart, strong, and girlbossing it! Which is of course something I support, but it also demonstrates how far behind the MCU in terms of female superhero representation.
Nikki tells Jen that no matter what, she always has hulking out in her back pocket, and Jen breaks the fourth wall to take us back to the day she received a Hulk injection from her cousin, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) the majority of the premiere then focuses on Jen first learning to deal with her powers and Bruce testing her limits.
Jen and Bruce are fairly close, with a more brother-sister bond that makes for some fun banter between them. A Sakaaran Class-A Courier Craft attempts to intercept them, and Bruces blood ends up dripping into Jens arm wound. Bada-bing, bada-boom, weve got ourselves a She-Hulk! Jen is not like Bruce, but she is capable of controlling her Hulk situation much more effectively.
Jen is determined to return to her job as a lawyer, but it's not long before she's hulking out in court against a rampaging Titania (Jameela Jamil).
The Evidence: MCU Easter Eggs
In the first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, there are a lot of MCU connections, but most of them are weaved in by Bruce, who fills in some Phase 3 gaps for us. He teaches us that during the Blip, he and Tony used to drink at a hideout in Mexico.
Bruce narrates his origin story as Edward Norton and several scenes in The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, mentioning how he was historically able to transition from Banner to the Hulk and back again this time, although we get no closer to knowing what the stomping ground desires from him this time. Ah, and we find out that Steve Rogers did not die a virgin.
Jen has a See You Later, Litigator mug sitting on her desk, which I suppose is reminiscent of bleedin Steven Grant and his chirpy laters gators. It's also worth noting that Oscar Isaac Isaac ate Cheetos with chopsticks when Jen spoke about the wonders of the technique with Bruce.
The Verdict: Any Good?
A Normal Amount of Rage is a good introduction to Jennifer Walters' character, and Maslany is, as always, adept at bringing the person she inhabits to life. (Im Orphan Black fans) and so far the supporting cast is solid, especially Gonzaga as Nikki.
Its interesting to see Marvel Studios take a different approach to all of their MCU Disney+ shows, and with She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, they seem to have tried their hand at producing an enjoyable and inoffensive sitcom. Episode one is different from the others, and only continues the series' origins.
The next three episodes for me are just too fluffy, too nitpicky, and too light on anything essential to really sink my teeth into. The later procedural stuff is also quite interminable, with a succession of expected MCU cameos and very minor new characters heavily distracting from and undermining Jens' story. Perhaps She-Hulk: Attorney at Law will improve dramatically after episode four.
The end credits shine bright again, as is a custom with these Marvel MCU shows, with the art giving us some good-humoured context for Jens' new role as She-Hulk. After this first episode, the well-documented argument about the show's CGI quality will not be fully dismissed. However, I regret to inform you that in some later episodes I watched it was definitely leaning more toward Polar Express.
What I find frustrating is how detailed the CGI on Smart Hulk is in comparison to the rest of Avengers: Endgame (who knows?) but it kind of smacks of well, Hulks are more important and, returning to my earlier concern about some of the heavy-handedness in the writing here, I think giving the VFX designers the time they needed to fully realize She-Hulk as Hulk would have been a pretty powerful statement on its own.
Captain America fucks.