‘She-Hulk: Attorney At Law’ Episode Nine Review: “Whose Show Is This?”
*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode nine of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law*
They did it. They literally broke the fourth wall and addressed every single problem the MCU has: an overworked VFX crew now using cheap visual tricks to skimp on its budget, the overreliance on a formulaic villain who possesses the same powers as the superhero, a climax that frequently jumps the shark and doesn’t make much sense, one set up after the other, and an overall product that feels written by an algorithm instead of real people, while internet users consistently debate which is the best (and worst) MCU product yet.
I don’t know if this is genius or plain creative bankruptcy, but I can say that She-Hulk: Attorney at Law ends on the highest of notes. Unfortunately, the ending comes to a rather disappointing end; where it is [predictably] revealed that Todd (Jon Bass) is the Intellegencia’s HulkKing and stole Jennifer Walter’s (Tatiana Maslany) blood to transform himself into a Hulk, with the real Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) showing up mid-battle to deliver the Abomination (Tim Roth) another can of whoop-ass. At the same time, Titania (Jameela Jamil) also appears, and Walters decides it’s enough. Enough of the formulaic, over-convoluted CGI-driven endings the MCU has brought for the past fourteen years. It’s time to reinvent the wheel.
And by reinventing the wheel, She-Hulk pops out of her Disney+ icon and goes straight to Marvel Studios to meet the big boss himself: K.E.V.I.N. I will say this: it would’ve been funnier if it was Kevin Feige playing himself. I hope we’ll see Feige doing a self-referential version of himself in the MCU someday (possibly in Deadpool 3 or in another season of She-Hulk? Only time will tell.) because having an algorithm feels like a missed opportunity to have a genuinely meta-fictional ending for the show.
Still, it was funny, especially with how Maslany chews up the screen through well-written meta-humor from Jessica Gao (who also appears in the episode in the writer’s room for the finale). Gao’s love for John Byrne’s Sensational She-Hulk run looks pretty apparent here, addressing the many inconsistencies that a) plagued the show from being genuinely remarkable and b) hindered the finale to the point where it became another bog-standard Marvel product. Yes, I’ll admit I have a soft spot for seeing writers poke fun at themselves for being a part of the Marvel machine (run by an actual machine here, mind you) and having to follow K.E.V.I.N’s structure for the next big installment in the franchise, but only if it’s smartly written. Thank God it is.
But this finale has opened the doors by hopefully rectifying some of Marvel’s more significant issues regarding the third act. Of course, there have been some fascinating stuff lately, and I hope Marvel Studios continues to break the mold and actively find new ways to enthrall audiences. But for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to grow beyond Endgame, it must first move past the Marvel Formula and consistently find new ways to reinvent itself aesthetically and thematically.
With She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, most of it was immensely forgettable. Save for a few enjoyable episodes and good bouts of meta-humor; there wasn’t much to clamor for throughout the core of the series. However, the finale saw the character at her best, veering off from traditional Marvel action for a meta-surprising climax. Because of this incredible exchange between Walters and K.E.V.I.N., She-Hulk’s finale was a memorable time, but most of the show wasn’t.
The introduction of Hulk’s son, Skaar, at the end of the episode felt tacked on and unearned, especially with the character magically reappearing at the end with no explanation. Of course, Ruffalo wouldn’t be a significant player in the show since it would always be about She-Hulk. However, it would’ve been better had the series introduced Skaar in a way that didn’t feel like fan service or a quick setup for the following Marvel product. Because, then, it seems to defeat the purpose of having K.E.V.I.N. break the Marvel formula.
But I may be getting ahead of myself here. While there were many things I ultimately liked about She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, the show will go down as one of Marvel’s most minor impressive productions. It did end on a high note, but it wasn’t enough for me to fully enjoy the show. I applaud Marvel for wanting to break the mold, even if it didn’t entirely work out. But I am looking forward to seeing more of Jennifer Walters (and Matt Murdock, my king!) in the MCU for what will hopefully be a [very] long time.
Episode rating: ✯✯✯✯
Series rating: ✯✯
All She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episodes are now available to stream on Disney+.