The best thing you can say about She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is that given where the series started with the first episode, it’s all uphill from here.
Episode 1 may go down as one of the worst introductions of a beloved character we have seen in television history. In the world of pro wrestling, there’s a phrase called “getting your s*** in,” which is used to describe someone who is more concerned with putting themselves over at the expense of the story the match is trying to tell.
Disney’s decision to put frontload intersectional feminism over basic storytelling is the cinematic equivalent of “getting your s*** in.” Fewer people watched the first episode of She-Hulk on Disney Plus than the latest episode of Monday Night Raw, a wrestling program that hasn’t been culturally relevant in over 20 years.
There wasn’t a lot of hype going into episode 2, entitled “Superhuman Law.” However, this was a near complete 180 from the dumpster fire that was episode 1. If this was the first episode of this series, 80% of the negative reaction surrounding it would have disappeared.
Why wasn’t that the case, then?
Jennifer Walters is now famous as the world sees her as a brand new superhero with powers similar to an Avenger. Jennifer wants to distance herself from fame – and the name of She-Hulk specifically – when she loses her job as a lawyer due to the liability of swaying judges with her heroism.
Down on her luck, she returns home to her parents and close relatives. At this moment, we get the first human reaction that Jennifer has displayed in the course of the show – a scene where she has a brief heart-to-heart with her father, who lets her know that despite things being down, to not give up. Jennifer has a genuine reaction to the advice that her father gives her, something that she outright rejected from Bruce Banner the week before.
This is the first scene that gives the impression that Jennifer likes anyone that is related to her. The difference in tone between the first two episodes is jarring.
Things turn around for Jennifer as she gets a new opportunity that comes with a full office, a mini bar, and her own paralegal. There’s just one little catch – Jennifer has to become the face of her firm’s superhero division, which deals with legal matters of people with superhuman abilities. Jennifer doesn’t want to be bogged down with the label of a superhero, but given she has no other options, she decides to embrace the title of She-Hulk.
The elephant in the room is the CGI of the show, which is still rough looking. You can tell that the visual effects were cleaned up just a bit in the first episode, but those effects do not hold up as the series goes deeper. In her She-Hulk form, a lot of the animation looks like it still needs to be rendered, which you can only assume has something to do with the visual effects team being rushed to finish the project before it was ready.
This is not your typical MCU budget, given that it’s a TV show, and those planning on watching the series will just have to accept some that certain scenes are going to look better than others. The first conflict of the series appears when Jennifer’s first case is the potential appeal for the Tim Roth character the Abomination, from the 2008 The Incredible Hulk film.
In this episode, it’s implied that Bruce and Jennifer have a much closer relationship than in episode one, as she refuses to take the case knowing that the Abomination tried to kill Bruce, and almost destroyed Harlem in the process.
However, the Russian-born Blonsky claims that he has become a new man since the first Hulk movie, and wants a second chance at life. Jennifer appears to believe that the Abomination is telling the truth, and with Bruce’s blessing takes the case. That is, until the end of the episode which shows that the Abomination may have escaped prison in order to attend an underground fight ring that Doctor Strange’s Wong is a part of.
Episode 2 is pretty short with just over 20 minutes of actual run time, not including the intros and credits. The overall vibe of the episode far surpasses the mess that you were forced to suffer with the previous episode. Head writer Jessica Gao’s attempt at putting together an origin story completely dropped the ball on the character out of the gate. The fact that Disney made audiences sit with that bad taste in their mouth for seven days may be a mistake that they may never recover from.
Episode 2 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is solid, despite the fact that we’re still in the introduction phase of this character. But the question here becomes, “has too much damage been done in the eyes of the viewer by the first episode to make them want to give episode 2 a chance?”
- Much improved tone
- Jennifer Walters is slowly becoming tolerable
- The series is beginning to take shape
- Wokeness dialed down to a 3
- She Hulk CGI still looks unfinished
- Not much story progression