She-Hulk: Attorney at Law smashes onto the Disney+ scene with the inaugural episode! Coming off the heels of one of my favorite MCU shows from a visual standpoint, Ms. Marvel, I’m ready to see how Marvel handles their courtroom procedural with She-Hulk at the center. Plus, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I wasn’t excited for some cameo appearances. Who else do we know that’s a lawyer…?
Recap of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law S1E1: “A Normal Amount of Rage”
We open up right away with some closing arguments by Jennifer Walters (Jen), Attorney at Law. Well, she’s running through the closing arguments for a case that’s about to wrap up. And while she’s speaking with her paralegal friend, she casually drops the phrase ‘hulking out’. The 4th Wall gets broken and Jen tells us that yes, she is a Hulk, and proceeds to tell us the story.
She was driving with Bruce a few months ago when a random spaceship appears in the middle of the road. This sends the vehicle careening off the cliff, sending chopsticks and Cheetos flying everywhere. In all of the destruction, both Jen and Bruce get cut badly, leading to some of Bruce’s blood getting mixed in with Jen’s. As you can expect, she turns into a Hulk and bounds off into the woods.
Jen comes to and finds her way to a seedy roadside bar. Some wonderfully helpful ladies help get her cleaned up a bit and she waits for Bruce. Unfortunately, there is a trio of men who won’t leave her alone as she waits for her ride, and Jen turns into She-Hulk when they won’t back off. Bruce intervenes, tackling her to the ground.
As a sidenote, I’m going to refer to Bruce as Hulk and Jen as She-Hulk from now on, just to keep the Hulks straight.
Jen wakes up again, this time in Bruce’s Mexican secret lab slash beach hideaway. Bruce explains to Jen that she is, indeed, a Hulk now and that there’s no going back for her. This secret lab was given to him by Tony (?) and he was going to help her learn to control her inner Hulk. He whips out a gigantic binder to begin the many-years’ process of getting She-Hulk ready for society.
It quickly becomes apparent, however, that Jen is her own special breed of Hulk. Unlike Bruce, she doesn’t have a Hulk living inside her; she IS a Hulk and Jen at the same time. Therefore, she has more control over the transformations, including the ability to come and go as She-Hulk as she pleases. Not too shabby!
Cue a bunch of fun training montages where Bruce continues his research to see what Jen is capable of as She-Hulk. After doing some casual meditations, reinforcing furniture, and learning about new best friends (spandex), we learn that She-Hulk’s strength is quite comparable to Hulk’s. In some cases, it seems like she’s even stronger.
Brief trigger warning for a scene of intense drinking at Bruce’s Beachside Bar, where the two Hulks down countless bottles since their bodies can handle it.
However, Jen has her life plan and she doesn’t want to let this new She-Hulk thing get in the way of it. She wants to go back to her life as a lawyer, despite Bruce’s insistence that she is now a superhero. After all, there are only two Hulks and shouldn’t they use their abilities to protect the planet? Jen goes to leave, and Bruce doesn’t want to let her.
So, they fight. HULK BATTLE!
This intense back-and-forth showcases that Jen can go toe-to-toe with Bruce in every way. It all ends with them crashing through the roof of Bruce’s bar, and Bruce realizes that there’s no convincing her. Have we seen the last of Bruce Banner? Time will tell.
Jen heads back to her life and we cut back forward to where the scene began. She heads to the courtroom and is ready to give her closing arguments when someone bursts through the wall. It’s Titania! Jen is reluctant at first but thanks to some prodding from her friend, she shows off her She-Hulk form for the first time and takes care of the intrusion.
NOW she’s ready for those closing arguments.
Thoughts on She-Hulk: Attorney at Law S1E1: “A Normal Amount of Rage”
Well that’s certainly more Bruce Banner than I expected to see! Although we’re shifting focus now to She-Hulk by getting the origin story out of the way, so we might only see a glimpse or two of Bruce in future episodes as he fades into a mentorship role. Was this the passing of the proverbial tiki torch?
It’s also interesting that recently we’ve only seen Bruce in a controlled-Hulk form. Whether it’s Smart Hulk or not, Bruce seems to be so much more calm than the ‘Always Angry’ Hulk that we used to know. So, if we do see more Bruce, will he always be in this form? At least we know that he doesn’t need those glasses; that’s just Smart Hulk branding.
It was also nice that the writers decided to fast-track that origin story for She-Hulk. After all, we as an audience are already familiar with Hulks losing control and then waking up to find out the destruction they caused. We’ve heard that story and honestly didn’t need to hear it again. The MCU has done a really good job lately of working in the origin stories so that they don’t take up too much screentime. It’s enough to introduce the character to a new audience while still leaving plenty of room to play with.
The obligatory fight scene between the two Hulks was awesome, with the right amount of comedy blended in like a sweet margarita. When you have two insanely strong characters like this who are larger than life, it really opens up the creativity for the writers to use the entire environment as set-pieces. Throw those surfboards like they’re wafer cookies and bend back palm trees like they’re pipe cleaners. Everything is fair game! I especially liked the She-Hulk clap that seemed to totally incapacitate Bruce. Foreshadowing to audio-weaponry that puts Hulks out of commission?
Lastly, it’s important to touch on Titania’s appearance in the greater scene of comic book lore. With the seemingly endless bounty of content in MCU Phase 4, we can see a couple ties to future properties that are on the horizon. In the comics, Titania worked for none other than Doctor Doom during Secret Wars. Secret Wars, of course, also featuring some X-Men. Through all the multiverse stuff lately, especially in the Doctor Strange Multiverse of Madness flick, will we begin to see more X-Men universe integration in the MCU? Or will Disney keep them separate?
The rest of the show is slated to be more of a courtroom-style show, which I’m totally here for. The way Jen has broken the 4th Wall a couple times, as well as her ‘I mean business’ personality, has me hooked. I can’t wait to see how the people react to her being She-Hulk, and how it integrates in a judiciary setting.
Oh, and be sure to stay for a mid-credits scene if you want some sultry conversation about Steve Rogers.