She-Hulk: Attorney at Law — It’s a hoot

TV review: Tatiana Maslany is a delight as Jennifer Walters, a striving lawyer who wakes one morning to discover she’s now a 6ft 7in green menace

Marvel’s green revolution has been a while in the making. A 2008 reboot of The Incredible Hulk ripped its pants courtesy of a grumpy central performance by Edward Norton (who then declined to help promote the film and was ditched by Marvel). Ever since, the Hulk has been a sideshow in the Marvel universe — often as romping, stomping comic relief.

There’s lots of comedy, too, in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (Disney+, streaming from Thursday). But the latest Marvel show also has oodles of chutzpah and is distinguished by an endearing performance from Tatiana Maslany. She is a delight as Jennifer Walters, a striving lawyer who wakes one morning to discover she has transformed into a 6ft 7in green menace.

The frothy She-Hulk doesn’t sweat the details about Jennifer becoming an overnight superhero — they’re something to do with her blood becoming tainted, like that of her shape-shifting cousin, Bruce Banner — and isn’t all that concerned with extending the Marvel brand. It is instead a funny and audacious series that has some pointed comments about the position of women in the workplace but is, above all, a hoot.

We’re barely five minutes in and already Maslany has hulk-smashed the fourth wall. “You’re not going to be able to focus on that fun lawyer stuff until I show you all about that,” she says to the camera. “Let me get you up to speed.”


“That” is her origin story — though this is dealt with relatively briskly (at least compared with the recent Moon Knight, which had fans howling with frustration over its reluctance to spotlight the main character). Tim Roth, meanwhile, returns as Marvel baddy Emil Blonsky/Abomination (the Hulk’s sworn enemy in the Age of Norton).

Roth’s 2008 Blonsky was the archetypical Brit-villain, with the actor riffing on the 1990s indie-cinema nihilism that was his trademark. The present-day Blonsky couldn’t be more different. He is a dude who wants to chill, marry his seven pen pals and secure an early release from prison. Also back is Benedict Wong as Sorcerer Supreme from Dr Strange. He returns for a pasted-on storyline about a huckster magician using his powers for the wrong purpose.

Much like that magician’s stage act, She-Hulk’s plot and tone are all over the place — writer Jessica Gao has a background in wacky cartoons such as Rick and Morty — and the show is often happy merely to skate by on Maslany’s charm. One of the early episodes is even finally revealed to be an elaborate visual skit about the rapper (and Electric Picnic headliner) Megan Thee Stallion. (At least it wasn’t Picture This.)

But somehow it works — due largely to Maslany’s portrayal of a working woman trying to negotiate a world of megavillains and misogynistic jerks. The question She-Hulk invites us to contemplate is which is the greater evil.