Yes, by the way, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk is wearing a Native clothing company’s t-shirts
Ok, I just watched the first four episodes of She-Hulk courtesy of Marvel/Disney and truth told, I’m not really sure what I think about it as I am sitting here writing my review.
But before I get too far into the gist of the entirety of this write-up, I do have to say how excited I was to see a Thunderbird and a Bear on the Hulk’s t-shirts in the first episode and after a bit of research and sending a brief message to Mark Ruffalo himself, and I discovered that yes indeed, the t-shirts he wears in the first episode are from the Native-owned company Ginew.
I did a write-up about the company Ginew, a company owned by Erik Brodt (Ojibwe) and Amanda Bruegl (Oneida and Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican), a married couple in Portland, Oregon, who are physicians by trade and clothing designers of Native Americana, and whose clothing line has been featured in Vogue, GQ and others, and now Smart Hulk, played by Ruffalo, wears the yoga-friendly t-shirts during his meditative sessions with She-Hulk.
I assume the size he wears is XXXXXL. However, I am not too sure about the availability of that size.
Check out the story I previously wrote about them in Indian Country Today. As some of you may or may not know, it was my prior journalism gig as associate editor.
All said, let’s get into the review of She-Hulk, shall we?
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law review
6.8 / 10
In Marvel Studios’ “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” Emmy® Award-winning actress Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) stars as Jennifer Walters—an attorney specializing in superhuman-oriented legal cases. She leads the complicated life of a single, 30-something who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk.
My quick comment
“Not Marvel’s strongest series though there are some standout moments between Mark Ruffalo and Tatiana Maslany. Overall, the show comes across almost as trying to enjoy a birthday party in a business office.”
Well, the series is a little bit better than I first suspected it would be, and admittedly mostly due to the CGI issues I thought I would experience.
I have to be a bit frank in that I seem to notice it more than I have previously in a Marvel series or film. The She-Hulk, in her larger green form, sometimes just looks a little bit off.
Marvel Studios production brief and a bit of She-Hulk history
Admittedly as a teenager in the 80s (I’m 55), I never read the She-Hulk comics as I was much more immersed in the X-Men, Daredevil and Spider-Man. I am far from an expert on the history of She-Hulk, so I will defer to Marvel’s production notes supplied to me by the Marvel Studios PR team.
Here are four relevant paragraphs:
In Marvel Studios’ “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” Emmy® Award-winning actress Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) stars as Jennifer Walters—an attorney specializing in superhuman-oriented legal cases. She leads the complicated life of a single, 30- something who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk. “What I love most about Jen aka She-Hulk is the fact that she’s a contradiction,” says Maslany. “She’s so completely fixated on work, and yet she has this huge heart. She loves being She-Hulk, but at the same time resents it. There’s a lot of fun tension to play with in those contradictions.”
Director Kat Coiro, who helmed six episodes of the series, has long been drawn to the emerald-hued hero. “I was a huge fan of She-Hulk as a child,” says Coiro. “I lived near a comic-book store, and she was a really badass female superhero who had her own book,” says Coiro, who recently discovered her husband had an entire collection of the comics. “We went to his mom’s basement, and I got to go back through the comics and remember what was so exciting about She-Hulk. She’s irreverent, big, strong and bold.”
Created by Stan Lee and John Buscema, the character was introduced on Feb. 10, 1980, in “The Savage She-Hulk” comic series. She-Hulk went on to become a member of the Avengers in 1982 and was featured in the “Fantastic Four” series beginning in 1984. Writer/artist John Byrne infused the character with her signature fourth-wall-breaking sense of humor in his “Sensational She-Hulk” comic series that ran from 1989- 1994, and the character has made regular appearances in various forms ever since.
“What I loved about the She-Hulk character in the comics was that she was driven to become a lawyer by a passion to dispense justice and create a more equitable society, something we incorporated into the character in the show,” says co-executive producer Wendy Jacobson. “I was also intrigued by the character’s ability to change back and forth from Jennifer Walters to She-Hulk, as well as the struggles that a modern woman goes through on a day-to-day basis—trying to advance in her career while making time for friends, family and dating. A lot of the humor comes from these really grounded and relatable scenarios—like an obligatory family dinner.”
Ok, so what’s all of this mean to me? What’s all this mean to a viewer of the series?
It means Maslany starts honoring the work of Marvel comic creator John Byrne right away by breaking the fourth wall and starts talking to the audience.
Something about it just wasn’t working for me. I am not saying Maslany is doing a bad job, nor am I saying She-Hulk shouldn’t be breaking the fourth wall. It caught me off guard because it is stepping outside the winning formula I generally see.
But then again, look at the fourth wall-shattering nature of Deadpool, which works exquisitely, and perhaps therein lies the answer. My assessment? Maslany is playing this much too coy, maybe even too soft. She is a freaking attorney, a tough woman who gets into a career where she will be battling the toughest of the tough, so this mousey coyness just doesn’t work for me.
When Deadpool breaks the fourth wall, if anyone in the audience weren’t appreciative, they’d find a hand grenade in their popcorn while Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, snort-laughed. Maslany is coming across as if she is saying, “Sorry to bother you fine people with my bemusings, but a funny thing happened on my way to the office as She-Hulk.”
There is one moment where Maslany owns her space, and it is this energy I would like for her to maintain. In the first episode’s end-credits scene, she makes a joke about Captain America, it is hilarious, and I hope to see more of this version of Jennifer Walters.
The funniest moment in the first few episodes is between Wong and the tipsy airhead Madisynn. They watch a movie and she keeps calls Wong “Wongers,” and I have to admit, it is the most hilarious part of the series thus far.
A birthday party at the office
At this point, I am not yet blown away by the series, but as it has happened so many times before, Marvel usually has something up its sleeve to throw at me before this part of its world shifts and makes way for new chapters.
As the She-Hulk is actually an attorney, I feel as if there are times I am heading to work with her, and I am not super excited about it as I find myself thinking how much superhero excitement there can be in a law office.
Thus far, the series is coming across almost as though I am trying to enjoy a birthday party in a business office.
I have my fingers crossed.
Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, exclusively on Disney+ starting August 18th.
Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, is the founder and editor of Native Viewpoint. With over 16 years of experience as a Native journalist and former member of the White House Press Pool. Follow Vincent on Twitter at @VinceSchilling or on any other of his social media accounts by clicking on any of the icons below.
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