I noticed that Moon Knight is no longer in the Marvel Studios ident, but Jen does have a “See You Later, Litigator” mug sat on the shelf in her office, which of course reminds me of bleedin’ Steven Grant and his chirpy “laters gators”. Not for nothing, that famous image of Oscar Isaac eating Cheetos with chopsticks also sprung to mind when Jen was praising the virtues of the technique with Bruce. Feel free to Google “Oscar Isaac Cheetos” if you have no idea what I’m talking about!
The Verdict: Any Good?
“A Normal Amount of Rage” is a competent introduction to the character of Jennifer Walters and Maslany is, as always, effortlessly good at bringing the person she inhabits to life. Orphan Black fans will be happy to see the actress in another challenging leading role (I’m Orphan Black fans) and so far the supporting cast seem great, especially Gonzaga as Nikki.
It’s interesting to see Marvel Studios take a different approach to all their MCU Disney+ shows, and with She-Hulk: Attorney at Law they seem to have tried their hand at producing an amiable and inoffensive sitcom. Episode one is different to the rest, and sticks to Jen’s origin story before the series becomes its true procedural self.
The issue for me is that the next three episodes are just too fluffy, too hackneyed, too light on anything vital to really sink my teeth into. They are at their best underwhelming, and at their worst utterly cringe. This series is aiming for funny, but I haven’t laughed at any of the jokes, so I can’t personally say it succeeds at being a comedy. The later procedural stuff is also kinda interminable, with a succession of expected MCU cameos and very slight new characters heavily distracting from and undermining Jen’s story. Then there’s the fourth wall-breaking, which happens so infrequently that it comes off as jarring instead of endearing. But hey, perhaps viewers who love network-style sitcoms and procedural shows will get more of a kick out of the whole thing, and perhaps She-Hulk: Attorney at Law will markedly improve after episode four. Here’s hoping!
As is becoming a tradition with these Marvel MCU shows, the end credits shine brightly yet again, with the art giving us some good-humored context for Jen’s new life as She-Hulk. They end everything on an upbeat note, but the well-documented chatter about the show’s CGI quality won’t be fully put to rest after this first episode. It’s mostly fine, I would say, but there are a couple of moments where it does look a bit dodgy. The overworked VFX artists on She-Hulk: Attorney at Law likely did their best, and She-Hulk’s CGI rarely strays into Polar Express territory, though I regret to inform you that in some of the later episodes I watched it was definitely leaning more that way.
What I do find annoying is how detailed the CGI on Smart Hulk looks in comparison. There are probably legitimate reasons for this being the case (the VFX team may have already had access to some established layers from Avengers: Endgame, who knows?) but it kinda smacks of “well, Hulk’s more important” and, going back to my earlier gripe with some of the heavy-handedness in the writing here, I think giving the VFX creators the time they needed to fully realize She-Hulk visually opposite Hulk would be have been a pretty powerful statement on its own.