Hulk has long been pushed aside in the MCU as the green Avenger hasn't starred in a solo outing since 2008's The Incredible Hulk - in which he was played by Edward Norton. Marc Ruffalo has taken over as Bruce Banner for eight live-action appearances, but he has yet to take the solo spotlight again. To some degree, that all changes this year with She-Hulk.
The nine-episode Disney+ legal comedy will star Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters, the cousin of Bruce Banner who gets her own gamma green transformation after a blood transfusion. Marvel Studios has introduced plenty of CGI characters over the years, but this will be the first time a motion-capture character will take the leading role on Disney+.
With VFX hold-ups plaguing Hollywood productions and causing delays due to the COVID-19-induced backlog, Marvel Studios couldn't have picked a much worse time for this step. As reports indicate the backlog is only just beginning to ease, the first full look at She-Hulk just debuted, and not everybody is happy.
She-Hulk CGI Creates Viral Controversy
Popular social media star Supes shared his praise for most elements of the series, but noted that "the CGI doesn't look great:"
"‘She-Hulk Attorney At Law’ looks like A LOT of fun! Tatiana Maslany looks perfect for the role. Abomination. Professor Hulk. The CGI doesn’t look great, but I still think this show is going to be an absolute blast!"
TikTok creator Andrews Visual compared the effects to "a video game cutscene placed into live-action:"
"Marvel is a multi-billion dollar franchise, I don’t care that She-Hulk is a TV show, it has to look better than that, it looked like a video game cutscene placed into live-action. So many Netflix/Amazon shows WAY better CGI and VFX. I don’t see an excuse. Hope it improves tbh."
Writer Christopher Marc commented on the "unfinished and rubbery" CGI, shutting down any budgetary excuses with the comparison to the Star Wars Disney+ series:
"She-Hulk as a show looks amazingly fun but the actual CGI looks really unfinished and rubbery. I'm aware it is TV but the STAR WARS stuff manages, and they have the budgets to adjust."
Twitter user @cgichipmunk drew particular attention to how Hulk's VFX appears to be far more complete than that of She-Hulk:
"Why does Hulk’s CGI in this trailer look perfectly fine but She-Hulk looks very bad?? i’m absolutely aware that unfinished VFX are in trailers often but man… all her shots looks bad."
@ashCr__ defended the VFX artists behind She-Hulk, calling the complaints "ridiculous nitpicking" since this is just a trailer and the first one at that:
"Where is the respect for VFX artists? The vast majority of people don't have the slightest idea as to how difficult of a job it is. Complaints about the CGI in a trailer are the most ridiculous nitpicking I've seen from Marvel fans. #SheHulk."
The Direct's Russ Milheim once again celebrated the fun potential of She-Hulk, but pointed out the team still have "plenty of work to do on her VFX:"
"Really hoping She-Hulk sticks the landing. Could be a truly fun and unique ride. They still have plenty of work to do on her VFX though."
Matt Roembke - also of The Direct - responded with a more positive outlook on the VFX, sharing his belief that "if this is as bad as it gets we are going to be fine:"
"For stage one, I can get behind the VFX. If this is as bad as it gets we are going to be fine."
Can She-Hulk Fix Its CGI Issues Before Release?
There's no denying some of She-Hulk's CGI doesn't look quite up to scratch in the debut trailer. Marc Ruffalo's Smart Hulk appears suitably polished in most scenes, while Tatiana Maslany's She-Hulk noticeably sticks out as being somewhat unfinished in the majority of her clips.
Marvel Studios - much like most of the movie industry - has been suffering great difficulty as of late due to VFX delays. With only a select few VFX production houses being trusted by major Hollywood studios, the industry has suffered a major backlog of shots to be completed due to COVID-19, spawning delays for many blockbusters.
She-Hulk is a nine-episode series starring a fully CGI-created hero, making the project an enormous undertaking from a post-production perspective. Although there are still three months to go before the legal comedy premieres on Disney+, so there's plenty of time for these shots to be polished before release.
Some have been quick to justify the quality through the caveat that She-Hulk is a streaming series and not a big-screen flick. The Mandalorian should serve as evidence alone that Disney is more than prepared to shell out movie-level budgets for Disney+, although there's no denying this may be Marvel Studios' most ambitious project to date in terms of CGI.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a perfect example of a CGI character who looked abysmal upon the first peak, but the studio was able to fix things up in time for release. There's no doubt that whenever the next look at She-Hulk arrives, things ought to be looking much more polished.
Disney revealed the debut trailer during its 2022 Upfront event which highlighted its upcoming television undertakings. The House of Mouse naturally needed to premiere something new from the MCU - arguably its biggest brand - and She-Hulk was the obvious candidate, perhaps forcing a trailer release earlier than once planned.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law will premiere on Disney+ on August 17.