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The Hollywood Insider She-Hulk Review

Photo: ‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’ 

Marvel Studios just released their newest project, ‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.’ The first episode premiered on Disney Plus on August 18th, and the show will consist of nine episodes total, dropping a new one every Thursday for the next couple of months. Tatiana Maslany tackles the titular role of Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk, and cousin of Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). Walter gets both blessed and cursed with his incredible ability after a sudden accident. What could be so complicated about that? Jennifer has to learn how to handle this new territory of being a hulk while also focusing on her career as a lawyer. 

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Episode One, entitled: ‘A Normal Amount of Rage,’ introduces us to our leading heroine, as well as the style, tone, and expected journey of the show. This is a blend of the superhero genre, a courtroom piece, comedy, and more. Following the success of ‘Ms. Marvel,’ ‘She-Hulk’ further demonstrates the possibilities of a female-led superhero show and brings the MCU into a different light, exploring the ever-compelling idea of what the difference is between a superhero, and a person with superpowers. You can’t tell everything from the first episode, but the show definitely has a promising start. 

Full Rendezvous At World Premiere of ‘She Hulk: Attorney at Law’ with Reactions from Stars

The Style of ‘She-Hulk’ 

Though the CGI for the show has been under heavy criticism, and the show itself was judged early on for its campy nature, the style of ‘She-Hulk’ brings a level of freshness to Marvel. The company has earned their place in the blockbuster world over and over again, but as more time passes, more complaints about the recycled Marvel “formula” have surfaced. It’s no secret that the majority of pieces follow a typical outline for superhero films, and as we’ve entered Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, audiences have been led to the conclusion that these recent works are mediocre. ‘She-Hulk’ breathes new air into the studio by introducing a lighthearted tone and utilizing a new, exciting lead character. Jennifer Walters is relatable, and clearly didn’t ask for the cards she was dealt. The filming style has her speak directly to the audience, breaking the fourth wall, as was popularized by another relatable comedy, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’sFleabag.’ Other works, such as Netflix’ recent adaptation of ‘Persuasion,’ have failed with that gimmick, but I personally believe ‘She-Hulk’ succeeds with it because it is not a crutch for the leading lady to lean on, and is only put to use a small amount of time throughout the episode. 

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For those who have judged the show for being too campy…it is. But is that such a bad thing? Everyone’s been begging Marvel to switch things up and take risks, and now they have. It’s different and it’s fun. I have my own critiques for the opening episode, but there’s still so much more story left to tell, it’s hard to place early judgment. The premiering episode does a wonderful job of making us love Jennifer and understanding her relationship with her career and with Bruce, as their cousin, dynamic is arguably the emotional connection of the episode. Stylistically, the show is memorable, standing out from the line-up of other Disney Plus/Marvel shows, and I am hooked on the premise. 

Full Commentary on the Making of ‘She Hulk: Attorney at Law’ | Tatiana Maslany, Jameela Jamil

M-C-U? More Like M-She-U

If I could assign a song to this show, it would be ‘The Man’ by Taylor Swift: a typical feminist song that highlights the struggles of being a woman in the world. Our main character is grappling with her condition as She-Hulk and how it’ll affect her career. Over recent years, multiple conversations surrounding what being a career woman means, and how that identity is both praised and frowned upon, have been widely debated. I appreciate having a protagonist be invested and passionate about her work while not being stigmatized as a workaholic or a woman who needs to “loosen up.” Jennifer frequently comments on the difficulty of being a woman in the world, and the anger she feels directly corresponds to her situation as She-Hulk (because we know anger is a trigger for hulk transformation). 

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The show taps into a feminist mindset and is certainly one for the girls. By being a show for the girls, there is a concern that it’s going to become too heavily focused on “girl power,” or too “woke,” and it’s true that the girlboss-ification of media is always under scrutiny and can play into problematic elements of its own, but hey! Let’s enjoy it! As of now, I don’t see any big problems surfacing. What certain writers, especially in the action genre, don’t understand is that having a strong female character doesn’t have to be an overcomplicated recipe. You just have to write a character that is whole and truthful, and has a personality of her own. Jennifer Walters has all of those elements. She’s literally a strong female character with her hulk abilities, but she’s also just as strong in character terms for her personality. Her strength compared to Bruce Banner in the first episode is going to spark some debates, but she makes for a powerful and colorful addition to the superhero line-up.

Full Rendezvous at Comic Con of ‘She Hulk Attorney at Law’ with Reactions from Stars

It’s Not That Easy Being Green

‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’ has so much in store, with Jameela Jamil (best known for her role on ‘The Good Place’) taking on the role of the villain, Titania. Many cameos are slated, though this show doesn’t need cameos to be worth the watch. I am invested in Jennifer’s journey as a character and how she will adapt to life as She-Hulk. Tatiana Maslany’s performance is stellar, and not all superhero stories have to be about men in capes or iron suits (although I loved every Tony Stark reference the show made). The last five minutes of this episode left me thrilled and wanting more! That’s really all you can ask for an opening episode.

Just because this show is targeted towards a female audience doesn’t mean there can’t be a little something in it for everyone. The show feels very much like opening a comic book, and I, for one, am very eager to see where it goes. As far as Marvel TV series go, this one holds its own and welcomes a new tone for the MCU. 

Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Jameela Jamil, Mark Ruffalo, Ginger Gonzaga, Tim Roth, Benedict Wong, Charlie Cox, Josh Segarra, Griffin Matthews

Crew:

Director: Kat Coiro | Cinematography: Florian Ballhaus | Music by: Amie Doherty

Writers: Jessica Gao, John Buscema (She-Hulk created by), Jack Kirby (Hulk created by), Stan Lee (based on the Marvel comics)

Producers: Victoria Alonso, Jennifer Booth, Kat Coiro, Louis D’Esposito, Kevin Feige, Jessica Gao, Wendy Jacobson, Brad Winderbaum

By Rachel Beltowski

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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Author

  • Rachel Beltowski is a screenwriter and film critic, with a passion for character-driven stories and thought-provoking themes. From adventure to horror, Rachel enjoys stories which take the audience on an emotional rollercoaster and allow for personal expression that would otherwise go silent. Rachel was drawn to The Hollywood Insider’s dedication to individual perspectives and positive world impacts. The Hollywood Insider has provided a foundation for Rachel to share her insights and leap into the center of the entertainment industry. Rachel hopes to bring a fresh voice into the world of film and television, and share her love of stories with others.

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