The Disney+ series framed around Jen Walters has wrapped up, and we have some thoughts about its nine-episode run.
I have voiced my fatigue with the Marvel Cinematic Universe before, particularly when it comes to the series that debuted on Disney+. While I can appreciate what they intend to achieve, most seem to become a little too predictable and safe to feel unique or interesting, and for me that was what became of Ms. Marvel as the series progressed. So, going into She-Hulk: Attorney at Law I was concerned, but fortunately, it looks like Marvel and Disney has decided to go a different direction here and serve up a more comical, less serious, and noticeably more unique take on the superhero origin formula.
And this is a huge thing for me in particular, as it means I want to watch this series week after week. It doesn't feel like a necessity to stay on top of the behemoth that is the ever-expanding MCU, rather it has been a highlight on my Thursdays. A lot of that comes down to the way that the series is constructed. Spanning nine episodes, there is plenty of time for plot and character development - if anything a little too much at times, as the series could perhaps have been eight tighter episodes - and within those episodes we essentially get nine mini-stories that revolve around protagonist Jen Walters, aka the She-Hulk, who is effortlessly and brilliantly portrayed by Tatiana Maslany. The really exciting part though is how most episodes don't feel like a superhero show, and are rather short anecdotes about Jen's daily life and court cases, and this works because it often seems like She-Hulk is a supporting character and the real star is Jen Walters.
But as this is a Marvel production, there is still plenty of superhero action, and we do get to see She-Hulk doing her thing, which for anyone wondering is basically the same as Smart-Hulk (i.e. the Bruce Banner from Avengers: Endgame onwards), so... calculated destruction. The CGI in scenes with She-Hulk is sometimes a little choppy but doesn't detract from the viewing experience, which did seem to be a concern when looking back at the show's original trailer. She mostly looks great, even if there are some moments when movement and actions seem unnatural and odd.
Back to the story though because this is where She-Hulk excels the most. Due to the true episodic design, there's never a real clear bad guy that you can feel Jen barrelling towards. Rather each episode has its own demons, and that could be the public opinion (as was the situation in the Abomination case, where Tim Roth reprised his role, and did so excellently), Jen getting to grips with being the She-Hulk, or even Jameela Jamil's Titania, who could be best described as a typical stuck up mean girl. It all works very well, because it all feels like it matters at the time, and again, that can be largely attributed to the directorial direction, and the cast and the way they bounce off each other and bring each character to life so well.
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I will say however that sometimes the supporting cast of cameos can overshadow Jen. Benedict Wong's Wong is once again brilliant, as is Roth's Emil Blonsky/Abomination, and while both are welcome additions, it's when Charlie Cox's Daredevil returns that you start to see Jen as less of a driving force in scenes, as your focus automatically shifts to the more exciting reprisal of this beloved character. And this then doubles-down come the final episode when cameos and the narrative completely go off the rails, and to an extent loses itself entirely - it's not exactly a fulfilling finale.
But back to the tone of the show and how it doesn't feel like a routine MCU production. It's mostly light, fun, entertaining and enjoyable, and I can't help but be impressed with what the showrunners and creative team behind it have done, even if the ending went a tad too far in my opinion. It's given me faith in what these MCU series can be again, and I'd like to see a style similar to this explored in the future when it comes to further Disney+ series.