Tatiana Maslany makes her MCU debut as Jennifer Walters in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, becoming the newest super-strength superhero to rock the Hulk moniker. The story follows Walters, an attorney who specializes in superhuman-oriented legal cases, all while juggling the complicated life of being a single lady in her thirties who can hulk out. The show sees the return of some iconic MCU characters including Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Emil Blonsky/the Abomination (Tim Roth), and fan-favourite sorcerer Wong (Benedict Wong).
I’ve got a lot to say about this new Marvel production, but if you can’t wait to get the full low-down, I’ll summarize: it’s worth watching.
Now, lets get into the details shall we.
The trailer does not do the show justice
Let me just get something off my chest: the trailer doesn’t hype-up She-Hulk as it should.
Looking past all the CGI mishaps in its original release, the trailer gave too many different vibes and emotions. You couldn’t decide if the show was trying to be woke, cool, funny, mindboggling, captivating or what. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but the confusion was not something I could just sweep under the rug. Besides, it was a show going to introduce a new HULK after all! People were more excited by the Daredevil introduction’s and all, and I felt that to be sad for a production aiming to make new introductions to the MCU.
Thankfully, this is not the case with the actual show.
The production itself is defined and focused, and its delivery is crisp. I’m all for empowering, women-centric productions with core topics that really relate to women and the challenges they face across the board. However, I felt the trailer made it feel all a bit too preachy with no real context. The show, on the other hand, is balanced and poignant around those topics, delivering core messaging organically throughout. There was even one scene that made me tear up, because I could feel the pain being communicated in that scene (thanks to Tatiana of course!).
Do yourself a favour and ignore the trailer if you find it giving you mixed messages, and just watch the show.
Hulk of a Talent: Tatiana Maslany is She-Hulk
Tatiana Maslany has, and will always be, a powerhouse talent. If her work on Orphan Black can even give you a semblance of her acting range and pedigree, you know that she will bring her A-game to this show.
And she does.
For me, the story of Jennifer Walters and She-Hulk is one around identity. We saw Tony Stark suffer this when he took up the mantle of Iron Man, Steve Rogers and Captain America, and many of other characters; those who wanted the best of both worlds but struggled to find a balance between what they believe and what the world believed for them. Walters must balance who she is and what her She-Hulk form is to those around her, and how they perceive her as a person. Add on the fact that she is a woman who has her own day-to-day struggles, and you have a character that must stand-up and challenge more than the status quo.
Tatiana Maslany embodies who Jennifer Walters is. She delivers a character you want to root for, love, and admire. For me, it reminded me of people I am close to, who work hard and always think good of other people. Maslany’s acting talent is visible even in her CGI She-Hulk form, balancing and delivering the humor and sass this show establishes from episode 1. Marvel did right by casting Maslany.
With that said, there were times I did feel the CGI didn’t support Maslany during her performance, and that I don’t think is a problem limited to this production, but maybe a larger discussion point around the development of Disney+ MCU shows. Perhaps the streaming shows are not getting the kind of budget their feature film counterparts may have access to, and that is definitely impacting the quality.
She-Hulk is one to watch
I am disgusted by the amount of people out there who are complaining about introducing so many female superheroes. I think they need to get a grip.
Marvel has so many vintage and modern characters in its repository, they can be make films and television productions for decades to come. Introducing more modern characters like Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel and the world of Wakanda is purely strategic, to introduce diversity into an otherwise not-so-diverse space.
Characters like She-Hulk are critical for the development of the MCU. The character has been a part of major teams, including the Avengers and Fantastic Four, and has had so many story arcs and role changes. She was even part of the A-Force, an all-female superhero team. Fact is, this may be a character that is going to stick around for a long-time and is one to pay attention to.
Also, this show introduces strong female villains as well, which is a major welcome. Jameela Jamil’s Titania is going to be an interesting introduction as well, given her origin story and how it creates easter eggs for the larger MCU and future productions.
With Daredevil also making an appearance in the show (its in the trailer!), there is a clear connection between the street-level superheroes and those that challenge foes on a galactic level. This opens up so many localized storylines, which is quite exciting.
The evolving Disney formula
While I am going to write a separate piece on Disney’s current level of output, Disney has clearly created a new formula for how the MCU storyline is unraveled. Instead of one massive film after another, these smaller Disney+ shows provide a great opportunity to quickly and simply provide a characters backstory and some level of development before they are introduced to larger, more ensemble films.
This is very smart.
With smaller budgets, Disney can develop a boat load of new characters that can become the foundation for many future films, providing an opportunity to create more exhilarating cinematic experiences like Endgame. It also doesn’t hurt that it helps support their streaming platform and the revenue it can gain from it.
I liked what She-Hulk: Attorney at Law did for Jennifer Walters and her She-Hulk introduction. While I won’t give anything away, the way her backstory is handled (though I have some reservations of her actual backstory, and you’ll understand why) and her subsequent development is chartered throughout the series is well thought-out. Just finish watching the first episode, and you’ll understand what I mean.
This is yet another exciting addition to the MCU, and I am looking forward to seeing Tatiana Maslany carry She-Hulk forward as the MCU evolves.