She-Hulk: Attorney at Law debuted on Disney+ this week, and trusted reviews are less than incredible. As one reviewer from Slashfilm said:
In “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” the hero shrugs off the haters with confidence, but unfortunately, it’s harder to shrug off the series’ own patronizing attempts to tackle its subject matter. With distracting CGI, hit-or-miss humor, and a flippant approach to complex topics, what could have been a groundbreaking series for the MCU is instead shaping up to be one of the weakest entries into the Marvel TV canon yet.
But it’s not all bad, because when Rick and Morty writer Jessica Gao’s scripting for She-Hulk hits, it gets laughs.
When writer-creator Jessica Gao’s humor shines through, as it does in refreshingly mundane mid-credits scenes that are often laugh-out-loud funny, the show feels like a frank and enjoyable respite from the more self-serious end of the Marvel spectrum. The series, which hews much closer to a legal sitcom than an action-adventure saga, possesses a streak of irreverent humor in the vein of “Ally McBeal,” and the jokes that land are excellent.
Yet too much of “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” falls flat, or worse, employs cringing, dated girl-power one-liners that seem more at home on tacky fridge magnets or in “Sex and the City” scripts than in a show this side of the 2020s. The series centers many of its punchlines around gender dynamics, yet it’s almost broadly farcical, full of leering bargoers, dismissive male coworkers, and a whole slew of garden variety sexist jerks.
Some are claiming the show is being “review bombed,” but Rotten Tomatoes says it is 90% fresh with professional reviewers, and 76% fresh with the audience. Below are few more reviews from some of our friends on YouTube:
So how did Rick and Morty writer Jessica Gao end up as the head writer on She-Hulk: Attorney at Law in the first place? It started when she pitched for the Black Widow movie and her treatment included Jennifer Walters, as Gao told Variety:
“She was my favorite character from the comics, and I just wanted to see her in the MCU. At one point, I think it was [Marvel executive] Brad Winderbaum who said, ‘It kind of feels like you’re pitching us She-Hulk movie with Black Widow in it.’”
“All the kind of key foundational elements were there: Emil Blonsky/Abomination was always in the pitch. Bruce was always in the pitch. I didn’t know if I could use them. I didn’t know what their relationship was to Abomination anymore. But I thought, you know what? This is what I want — so I’ll just pitch it. Thankfully, they liked all of it.”
Besides Blonsky and Bruce, the show also features Wong and Daredevil. Gao spoke on if there were characters they weren’t allowed to use.
“Oh, yeah, there were plenty, plenty, plenty. In the writers’ room, we would mine the movies and the comics for characters that we wanted to use, especially characters where we thought we could find very funny, character-specific reasons that they would be embroiled in some sort of legal issue. Certain characters really lend themselves to stuff like that. There’d be times where we’d really fall in love with our own genius, and then a certain point down the road, we’d have to ask my precious Kevin whether or not we could actually use these characters. Half the time, we couldn’t. I think the biggest bummer that we did experience was not being allowed to use any Spider-Man adjacent characters, because we had a lot of Spider-Man fans in the room.”
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is now available on Disney+.