Anyone familiar with writer Dan Slott’s acclaimed run She Hulk Comic series were already familiar with Marvel’s live action She-Hulk: Lawyer The series had a lot of potential, but to everyone else, the introduction of Bruce Banner’s superhero cousin probably seemed like an odd — and perhaps unnecessary — addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And yet, it doesn’t take long for the new Disney+ series to make it clear that actress Tatiana Maslany’s green-skinned alter ego, Jennifer Walters, is a character the MCU desperately needs.
Created by Rick and Morty and Silicon Valley Author Jessica Gao, She-Hulk: Lawyer casts Maslany as Walters, an aspiring lawyer whose professional aspirations seem to derail when an accidental blood transfusion with her cousin Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) gives her powers similar to Hulk’s. However, unlike Banner, she can control both her transformations and her psyche as She-Hulk. As she tries to get her life back on track, she’s soon faced with outsized problems she didn’t ask for — including a new job at a law firm that specializes in superpowered cases.
Gao acts alongside Kat Coiro (Girl5Eva) directed most of the nine episodes of the first season. The two form an impressive creative duo, like She Hulk flows at a fun but never frantic pace through the first four busy episodes. The series packs a lot into each chapter of Jennifer’s story, with plenty of references to the larger MCU, cameos from established characters in Marvel’s live-action universe, fourth-wall-breaking sidenotes, and story arcs that explore the implications of her newfound fame (and form), her love life and career, and broader issues like gender roles and prejudice.
It’s a lot – but She Hulk juggles all this with ease, but also with a lot of humor and heart.
Although there is clearly a lot of creative talent behind the camera, She Hulk also has one of Hollywood’s most formidable, criminally underrated actresses at the helm of the series, making everything it’s trying to deliver that much more manageable. Emmy Winner orphan black Star Maslany is perfectly cast as Walters, whose professional ambitions – like so many other women – have often forced her to show public face and be the person of others want to be her. Soon, Walters struggles to reconcile the attention her She-Hulk commands with the sense of personal accomplishment she was chasing before accidentally inheriting superpowers.
Maslany has a gift for shifting between different characters and personalities with ease, which was evident during her acclaimed run, playing multiple roles over five seasons orphan black. in the She Hulk, her pivots are more subtle when it comes to the different ways Walters interacts with her family, friends, co-workers, and clients, and also more pronounced when her character morphs — both literally and personally — into She-Hulk. The series would have been in trouble if it couldn’t maintain a connection between Walters’ natural state and her hulking, green-skinned persona, but Maslany’s performance is the glue that holds every version of the character together.
Her performance also keeps the screen time that her digitally created counterpart in the series fills more grounded.
Although there was a lot of criticism She Hulk Early on for the digital effects used to blend Maslany’s face and performance with She-Hulk’s larger-than-life form, the first four episodes of the series rarely falter Uncanny Valley with her character (or any of the other CG characters appearing in the show). Whether this is the result of some after-the-fact visual effects tweaking or a result of seeing the character in context (as opposed to clips from the trailer) is hard to tell at this point, but Maslany’s performance fills every part of the She-Hulk character and prevents their presence from being too distracting in scenes with non-oversized characters.
With its mix of confident humor, balanced storytelling and a brilliant performance by its leading lady She-Hulk: Lawyer manages to avoid almost all the pitfalls that the series could have fallen into on its way to the screen. Maslany, the series’ creative team, and the supporting cast preserve the human heart of She Hulk to be recreated in a universe full of fantastical, superhuman elements, delivering a series that differs within the MCU and a character that is absolutely delightful to watch.
New episodes of She-Hulk: Lawyer Premieres weekly on the Disney+ streaming service.
Jennifer Walters enters the MCU in this first look for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
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