Marvel women are truly having a cultural moment, and Jennifer Walters is the perfect new addition to this franchise. The premiere episode, ‘A Normal Amount of Rage’ brilliantly sets up these characters and stories, and proves why we all need a hulk of a lawyer in the MCU. This is clearly a show for the ladies, and there will never be too much of that in a franchise that has almost exclusively been dominated by white men.
It has to be said from the beginning that Tatiana Maslany has always been a force of nature. Based on her performance in Orphan Black, playing pretty much every main character. She proves that she’s perfect in this chaotic role that allows her to play to her strengths. Jennifer Walters is instantly loveable, in all of her complexity, humor, and morality, and Maslany understands the assignment in a spectacular way. The nuances Maslany brings to the role elevates the character and her story.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is also a perfect project for the MCU to meditate on the concept of female rage. Is it any wonder that a woman simply existing would make the perfect iteration of a hulk? Contrasted with Bruce Banner, Walters is especially acquainted with the feeling of being in the world with a constant undercurrent of rage. It’s sobering, painful, and yet incredibly validating to see this experience reflected in this superhero. This grounds the story, and makes Walters all the more relatable.
The Bruce Banner and Jennifer Walters dynamic is perhaps a surprisingly strong one. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to have a favorite cousin who is also a dear friend will see that relationship reflected here. Truth be told, Maslany is more than capable of carrying this entire show on her own. Ruffalo is never allowed to overshadow Maslany, and it serves the story well. Instead, he’s there to be a kind, humorous mentor who only advances Walters as a character. It’s also great to see a DBT stan like Banner, and to be honest we could all use at least a little encouragement to be slightly more mindful.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law also demonstrates that it is capable of standing alone as a legal comedy, while also being fully integrated into the larger MCU. This has been a difficult balance for Marvel to strike in a seemingly endless line of new content. Indeed, some of Marvel’s strongest entries have been ones that have the weakest ties to the larger Universe. The tone set within the premiere episode seems to indicate that fans can expect that best of both worlds, and explore beloved MCU characters and themes without being constrained.
Grief has been a major theme in the post-Avengers: Endgame MCU. This has effectively allowed the characters to process the trauma and loss they’ve endured, even if the stakes have been literally astronomical. The way that the latest Marvel entry handles grief is incredibly poignant. Through Bruce and Jennifer, it’s clear that Tony Stark’s and Steve Rogers’ legacies live on. The subtle nods to two Avengers who started it all makes it clear that while their time in the MCU may be done, the characters who remain have forever been influenced by their examples.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law may be setting itself up to be one of the most endearing Marvel series fans have been given to date. It also has the distinction of having one of the most important post-credit scenes within the MCU to date. We all needed to know the fate of Captain America’s ass. It’s what the fans always deserved. Between the humor, social commentary, and a lot of charisma, Marvel has already proven that it has a winner on its hands.
New Episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law air Thursdays on Disney+.