Phase Four has been Marvel Studios’ busiest few years to date, with more hours of content produced than the previous three phases combined, with superhero fatigue starting to creep in for some. Much of that has to do with Marvel Studios’ television projects on Disney Plus, which seem to be in a similar place as the movies were in Phase One over a decade ago.
While The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was supposed to kick things off on Disney Plus initially, due to the pandemic, we got WandaVision instead. Marvel Studios delivered a refreshing, new narrative with WandaVision as the series emulated sitcoms with a superhero twist.
While the reception to Marvel Studios’ Phase Four has been the most divisive for Kevin Feige and co. so far, one thing is clear; Marvel Studios is still looking to push the superhero genre even further. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is yet another example of this new direction, and exceeds for what it’s trying to be, a legal comedy.
Marvel Studios stamping their superhero projects with an outsider genre is nothing new and She-Hulk gives audiences the familiar elements they would expect from the MCU while bringing something new to the table.
She-Hulk is yet another Disney Plus series that introduces a new character to the rapidly growing MCU with Tatiana Maslany as Los Angeles-based lawyer, Jennifer Walters, who happens to be the cousin of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk. Maslany’s Walters is another wonderful addition to the MCU and fits right in.
Maslany is both charming and relatable in the role, a trait many MCU characters embody. No matter how mediocre a Marvel Studios story might be, they always deliver when it comes to character, and the MCU’s She-Hulk is no expectation. Maslany has plenty of fun supporting characters to work alongside, too, such as Ginger Gonzaga, who plays Jennifer’s best friend Nikki Ramos, but she still carries the series on her broad green shoulders.
Right from the start, She-Hulk brings in an element that we’ve only seen for an episode of WandaVision, which sees Walters breaking the fourth wall, an element many commonly associate with Deadpool. However, the series was heavily inspired by John Byrne’s She-Hulk run and uses the wall breaking to great effect.
In fact, the show’s self-awareness is what makes it so entertaining. It’s not uncommon for a Marvel Studios project to poke fun at itself with the bizarre comic book concepts introduced, and some might find comedic moments of She-Hulk repetitive to what we’ve seen in the past; the show goes one step further in a way only longtime MCU followers will appreciate.
In addition to Maslany and Gonzaga, the series also brings back a few familiar faces, with the first being Ruffalo’s Hulk. We last saw the character during the mid-credits scene for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which raised some questions after seeing Banner back in his human form. MCU diehards will be pleased to know we get some answers and are given new questions with Ruffalo’s Hulk, who is one of the few remaining original Avengers still around in the MCU.
While we haven’t had a Hulk solo project since 2008 since Universal still holds onto the rights, it’s great to get more insight into what Ruffalo’s day-to-day life is like through She-Hulk. But the slice of life for a superhero is something that is mostly explored through Walters. This is one of the shining parts of the newly launched MCU show verse that does something films can’t capture. But unlike the other MCU shows, She-Hulk doesn’t waste too much time on the origin and dives straight into Walters trying to find a new identity with her superpowers.
Another character fans will be excited to see is Tim Roth’s Abomination, who made a brief return in Shang-Chi. Marvel Studios famously had a villain problem for years before eventually nailing that down in Phase Three, but Roth’s relentless Emil Blonsky was always a stand-out all the way back in Phase One.
Fans will be quick to notice that Blonsky has evolved during his imprisonment and become more comedic, much like the Hulk has in the MCU. There might be more than what the series is letting on with Blonsky, and his inclusion fits the lighter tone She-Hulk is shooting for, which is something fans should probably prepare themselves for once Chalie Cox’s yellow-suited Daredevil starts flipping onto the screen as well.
Another connection to the greater MCU is the inclusion of Benedict Wong as Wong, the current Sorcerer Supreme from the Doctor Strange side of the franchise. Wong is as delightful as ever, and we get to see him in a very different situation than what we are used to, which creates some fun comedic moments.
A common complaint with the MCU in the past is how similar projects can be, both visually and tone-wise. Marvel Studios is clearly trying to silence those qualms with the Phase Four projects they have put out so far, but there will always be segments that stand out.
For She-Hulk, the CGI was a major concern for fans leading up to the series, but the VFX looks perfectly fine in the finished product. It’s also unprecedented for a series to have a completely CGI character in a leading role, so a little grace might be warranted.
However, She-Hulk isn’t as cinematic as its Disney Plus predecessors, and it visually looks like a TV show, to the point where some sets don’t look up to par with the MCU’s big screen visual language. WandaVision obviously adopted TV visuals as well, but there was still a cinematic scope to that show and the others as well.
She-Hulk‘s visual look and structure feel closer to a Marvel project like ABC’s Agents of SHIELD than Moon Knight. Instead of telling an extended movie through a different medium, She-Hulk truly feels like Marvel Studios’ first TV show, which works in its favor and is a nice change of pace.
But this all goes back to what audiences need to do heading into She-Hulk, which is accept it for what it is and have a great time. She-Hulk might be the most entertaining Marvel Studios series to date that will definitely hold your attention, and there are a few reasons for this. From Maslany’s performance to the fun MCU connections that make Marvel Studios’ projects required viewing. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is yet another big swing from Marvel Studios in The Multiverse Saga, but it pays off as another superhero project that disguises itself with another genre to keep the most successful franchise of all-time rolling.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law premieres on August 18th, with episodes debuting every Thursday on Disney Plus. Stay tuned for all the latest news on Marvel Studios’ ongoing Multiverse Saga, and subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.