She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Episode 1, “A Normal Amount of Rage” Spoilers Ahead
Marvel’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Episode 1, “A Normal Amount of Rage,” starts with a whole lot of fun and amusing familial banter between Tatiana Maslany’s Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk and Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Smart Hulk. Like most Pilot episodes, the series is still finding its footing, but it especially works for a story where our titular character is trying to figure out her newfound abilities.
The audience is on a journey with Jen Walters, and with the Fleabag style of commentary kicking us into motion, the series’ means of not taking itself too seriously works to its benefit. If we’re placing cards on the table, it’s necessary to note how messy Phase 4 is, and no matter how great Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight have been, it doesn’t change the fact that the bigger picture doesn’t make a lot of sense. She-Hulk fits in this timeline, but simultaneously, it feels like a series that’s allowing itself a bit of grace to tell a story on its own. It’s far too early to predict where the series will go after this first episode, but if the events here indicate where Jen stands in the MCU, then at the very least, we’ll have something fun.
For starters, Jen stands out tremendously as our titular soon-to-be heroine. She has a career she loves, a family she cares for (though we haven’t seen them yet), and seemingly some semblance of normalcy in her life that counters her cousin Bruce’s life. The comparisons that Bruce himself draws never feel unnecessary, but rather the friendly manner in which they occur gives viewers another dynamic to care for. After losing Tony, Natasha, and Steve, who does Bruce really have but the family we never knew about? That alone is fascinating, as is Jen’s ability to hold her own and stand steadfast to her career-driven desires.
Jen’s easy to care for, reminding viewers with a single line why on earth women are always so rightfully angry. The first time she transforms happens after a crash, but the second time is worth discussing as it occurs when she’s verbally harassed by men who won’t take a hint. We’ve all been there. We all fear and abhor those moments, resorting to carrying our keys between our fingers and ensuring that we’re talking to someone on the phone just in case. We know the rage that consistently resides within us because we have to try harder to be seen and heard where we’d like it most, but we’ll never be left alone when our bodies are concerned.
Female superheroes get far more criticism in the same way that female characters do. Complexities are questioned, fundamental honest truths are dismissed, and overtly unique traits meant to stand out are deemed unnecessary. There’s no winning when all people want to do is dismiss something just because it doesn’t suit the traditional plan. We watched the same thing happen with Ms. Marvel. Still, while Jen has a lot to learn, she’s getting through one step at a time.
The first episode, “A Normal Amount of Rage,” is, in every way, a lot of fun. We are told that this will be a fun lawyer show from the beginning, which essentially both defeats the purpose and nudges us towards thinking about the big bad that’s yet to come, but it still gets the job done. The CGI, which initially had people questioning She-Hulk’s transformation from the trailer, looks much better in the series—so much so that I almost forgot this was originally a hesitation many of us had. The series could take questionable turns and go places that might not be as enjoyable, but for the time being, we’re happy to sit back and enjoy the story it wants to tell.
Now streaming on Disney Plus: What are your thoughts on She-Hulk’s “A Normal Amount of Rage?” Let us know in the comments below.
Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) or, as people often call her, "Goose," is a Christ fan above all and a romance enthusiast who's taken her Master's degree in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture.
She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks' Society Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters. She's a member of The Cherry Picks and can also be found writing features for Looper.