By Matthew Moorcroft
- Directed by Kat Coiro
- Starring Tatiana Maslany, Ginger Gonzaga, Benedict Wong, Tim Roth
So they go straight for the jugular huh? She-Hulk: Attorney at Law literally opens this recent episode with a not so subtle jab at the sexist backlash the show received as soon it was announced, and the rest of the episode continues that same level of “we literally don’t care, fuck what you think” attitude for the rest of it’s runtime. What the show has lacked in high stakes it has mostly replaced with light, funny vibes and this episode is almost entirely that, and while this might be a detriment later on as the show tries to introduce an ongoing plotline here it works in it’s more episodic, weekly format.
On the one hand, we have the continuation of last week with the actual trial of Emil Blonsky. Tim Roth continues to be great here, even if he’s mostly contained to one location for a large chunk of the runtime, and his seemingly new reformed self is a riot. There is some doubts as to whether or not his transformation is legit – I tend to believe that he’s mostly lying through his teeth through sheer charisma – but there is comedic value and potential lying in the idea that Blonksy is indeed reformed. His brief Abomination appearance is pretty fun too, particularly the bit with him slowly picking up the shoes which is genuinely great visual humor.
But Benedict Wong, unsurprisingly, steals the show here. Wong has become something of a fan favourite over the years and it’s not hard to see why. Benedict portrays him with a genuine sense of righteousness and sincerity but also oozes charisma. His love for the character has been visible in every appearance and here he’s able to flex his well known comedy chops here and he’s just great. His comedic timing is excellent, and he plays off of Maslany amazingly well. Maslany herself is very good here, albeit mostly taking a backseat to the craziness of the Marvel universe as she sees it first hand. If she seems out of her depth and winging it almost, that’s cause she is and the show makes it clear that this is her first real rodeo dealing with this sort of thing.
But for my money the better half of this episode had to do with Josh Segarra, whose storyline, while definitely heavily leaning into near-parody territory, made a strong case for this show being a multi-season affair. From it’s clever implementation of Marvel lore (Light Elves!), it’s continuing commentary of how women are treated in the workplace, and it’s bizarre, surreal humor that is more like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation style sitcom then an MCU affair is honestly a dream. The Sensational She-Hulk comics in the 80s and early 90s are pretty much sitcoms in comic form and to transfer that over to today feels right. And the final resolution is exceptionally funny, with a great mid-credit punchline that’s one of the MCU’s most wildly unexpected moments. I’ll admit it – it definitely got a laugh out of me.
In fact, the only thing about She-Hulk that might an issue going forward are it’s action scenes. I initially dismissed the somewhat weak action of the pilot as a side effect of last minute juggling, but the fight scene in this, while definitely better, was still not great and might show a lack of experience with action scenes on the part of the filmmakers involved. This isn’t shocking – Kat Coiro’s experience has mostly been with comedy shows like Always Sunny, so while I think there is room for improvement (it’s already better then before) it’s certainly a weak spot in the show that needs addressing.
Other then that, She-Hulk continues to be a blast of a time. It’s not Marvel’s most ambitious series, but it’s far from their worst – in fact, it’s one of their more confident in terms it’s commitment to tone, ideas, and general vibes. Hopefully it doubles down on that commitment in future episodes, and we could have a complete winner on our hands.