Marvel is exhausting. In fact, liking Marvel stuff is almost exactly like being a parent for one specific reason: Sometimes you’re so worn out that you have big nostalgic feelings for a time when things were much simpler. Remember 2012? Remember how much you could drink before you had kids? There were only six members of The Avengers back then!
If you are missing the good old days when the bulk of the Marvel experience was mostly about easy jokes and relatable, and flawed folks, then She-Hulk will make you want to party like it’s 2008. Well. Maybe not exactly. But, the strength of this show is in its accessibility to two specific demographics: Adults and people who are kinda meh on Marvel.
If this sounds like a backhanded compliment, it shouldn’t be. That said, it feels unlikely that She-Hulk will become the favorite Marvel show of comic book fans who love analyzing every single Easter egg and detail in all the shows and movies. Yes, She-Hulk has more overt connections to The Avengers than say, Moon Knight, but if you’re a little fuzzy on what’s been going on with everybody from Hawkeye to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, this show is easy to like. And, that’s partly because Tatiana Maslany is great in the show, and also because structurally, this feels more like a sitcom and less like a stressful miniseries. Ms. Marvel may have given us the best family-friendly Marvel, but She-Hulk is more for the grown-ups.
As Jennifer Walters, Maslany often turns to the camera, Fleabag-style, to fill us in on what’s going on. This fourth-wall breakage isn’t exactly explicable the way it is in a faux-reality show like What We Do in the Shadows, but the impact is just as charming. She-Hulk isn’t super interested in creating the most realistic version of this story, but instead, the most relatable and fun one.
At the same time, the series actually does have something to say. Without spoiling anything, the way in which Jennifer controls her Hulk powers is very different than the way Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) controls his. Although the concept of “hulking out” has often been equated with men abdicating responsibility for terrible behavior, She-Hulk pushes back on that notion. Getting mad and becoming a Hulk doesn’t mean you have to lose your identity. It also might not mean you have to lose your job.
In a world where adults struggle to have it all — good mental health, free time, family time, work/life balance, whatever — the ethos of She-Hulk provides a kind of fantasy mirror. Jennifer wants to have it all too. Like many of us, she wants to maintain a nuanced, and multifaceted personality. And yet, society wants to call her “She-Hulk,” and at every turn, oversimplify her experiences as a person, and yes, as a superhero.
The way Jennifer does (and doesn’t) get what she wants is cathartic, and often very funny. This is the kind of show you watch when you don’t actually feel like getting into something new. She-Hulk isn’t asking for much of your time, just about 30 minutes and an episode, and there will be nine episodes in total. It’s an easy show to like, and a smart bet for a joint, late-night viewing with your partner. A lot of shows claim to have something for everyone, but She-Hulk is one of the rare mainstream shows that actually delivers on that promise.
How to watch She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law airs new episodes on Disney+ on Thursdays, starting August 18, 2022. The show will run for nine weeks, with a finale on October 13, 2022.