‘She-Hulk’ Season 1 Episode 1 review: Funny and action-packed, MCU’s first sitcom is here

‘WandaVision’ may have tried to pay homage to classic sitcoms, but it is ‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’ that has turned out to the first legitimate sitcom set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Starring Tatiana Maslany, the series follows a wise-cracking, fourth-wall-breaking heroine, the titular She-Hulk. Real name Jennifer Walters, the cousin of Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo returns), she has worked hard for her career, but her life is thrown into disarray when her blood gets in contact with Bruce Banner’s (Mark Ruffalo reprising the role) in the immediate aftermath of an accident. And, lo and behold, she is a superhero.

But her trouble is, Jennifer is perfectly happy with being an attorney and does not really approve of her newfound powers. The 30-minute length might appear short, but the writers, led by Jessica Gao, stuff enough plot to satisfy every Marvel fan. Not only the episode serves as a zippy yet well-told origin story of a superhero (sorry, Jennifer), but also a few major reveals about what is happening in the rest of the MCU and how Bruce Banner managed to merge his personality with the Hulk to become Smart Hulk.

Titled  ‘A Normal Amount of Rage’, the episode begins as Jen is deep in her preparation for an upcoming case. When her preparation is over, she turns to the camera and describe to the audience how she became a Hulk. There is a nice sequence wherein she gets trained by her cousin, who is dismayed to learn that her transformation into a rage monster is much more subtle and not as violent. She is better than Smart Hulk in pretty much everything, except perhaps raw strength.

Tatiana brings a lot of warmth and twinkling humour to the role. I was dubious about the casting, but it has turned out to be nearly perfect. Both as Jennifer and as She-Hulk, Tatiana has a significant charisma and dramatic presence, reinforced by her incredibly expressive eyes, that the character needed.

Also Read: ‘She-Hulk’ first critical reactions: MCU’s newest TV series is ‘hilarious, chaotic’ and ‘very funny’

The CGI, although certainly much improved, still puts She-Hulk, the character, firmly in the uncanny valley. It is truly disconcerting at times. Its quality does vary from scene to scene. But even at its best, it is barely passable compared to what we have seen in MCU in the last few years. The look is particularly bad when juxtaposed before Smart Hulk, whose rougher, stubbled face, brings a lot more character and detail.

That minor annoyance aside, ‘A Normal Amount of Rage’ is extremely gratifying to watch. It may be short, but it uses those 30 minutes very well and packs in laughs, winking humour, action, and drama to make it more than worth your time.

‘She-Hulk’ is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar in India.