Following Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is the next live-action Disney+ series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marketing has been ramping up for the Tatiana Maslany-led series in the past weeks, mainly due to its imminent August release. However, one of the ongoing conversations about the show online is its heavily criticized CGI.
During the premiere of She-Hulk’s trailer, fans openly criticized the show's CGI, with some pointing out that it's "unfinished" and "it doesn't look great." Several VFX artists explained She-Hulk's CGI problem, saying that it being compressed on YouTube is the culprit while stressing the difficulty involved in creating a fully CGI character by calling it "one of the hardest things ever."
The controversy didn't stop there as Jameela Jamil, who plays Titania in the series, also responded to the criticisms toward the design of her character. Now, the show's director has addressed the backlash in a new interview.
She-Hulk Director Responds to CGI Backlash
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law director Kat Coiro sat down with SFX Magazine, via Gamesradar, to talk about the backlash that the show is experiencing due to its CGI.
Coiro first explained that the team spent months on the titular hero's design before going into production, which then led to it being refined during post-production:
“It really is taking the design and asking, ’Are we getting those facial expressions and those nuances of reaction? That is where all the time comes into play, just really honing in.”
While admitting that she's aware of the backlash, Coiro pointed out that they expected it, saying that the reactions have to do "with the fact that she is so different than anything we've seen," such as Thanos or Hulk:
“I think a lot of the reactions have to do with the fact that she is so different than anything we’ve seen. When you think of Thanos or Hulk, they have a grisliness and a harshness and a bulkiness to them that is just so different. And when you just see a little pop of her, it’s almost shocking because we haven’t seen it before.”
The Marry Me director also revealed that she worked closely with Marvel Studios President of Physical, Post Production, VFX, and Animation Victoria Alonso through post-production to improve She-Hulk's look:
"She has such an incredible eye, and to me a lot of that eye comes from this very emotional gut reaction that she has, which is backed by decades of technical expertise."
Coiro continued by revealing what she learned while working with Alonso, saying that the executive's "real emotional reaction" to the VFX taught her so much about the overall process:
“What I think is so cool is she keeps this real emotional reaction to the VFX. Watching her work has taught me so much about why something works and why it doesn’t; why does it go into uncanny valley? And it always comes back to the actor’s performance and capturing that.”
Marvel's CGI Problem and Fans' Harsh Reactions
While there are many possible reasons behind She-Hulk's lackluster CGI, Kat Coiro's latest comments give a sense of clarity to avoid confusion. The director's remark about the team focusing on the titular character's facial expressions is actually in line with the previous comment of Corridor Crew's VFX artists where they mentioned that the MCU hero doesn't sit in the "uncanny valley:"
"He doesn't sit in the uncanny valley for us. One, because he doesn't look that much like a human. His face is square! He's just hulked out Chad up in here. And two, we're just so used to it at this point that it doesn't trigger our senses in the same way that She-Hulk is doing."
During Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the advancements in CGI and mo-cap technology benefited Josh Brolin's Thanos, with it featuring life-like facial expressions and improved details. However, with She-Hulk being different, Marvel Studios needed to adjust how the character would be displayed on-screen.
Still, there is no excuse for lackluster CGI, but there's a strong chance that it will be improved during its Disney+ release. The fact that Coiro mentioned that she is closely working with Marvel Studios President of Physical, Post Production, VFX, and Animation Victoria Alonso is a promising sign, considering the lead executive's background and experience in handling CG work.
In addition, the show's budget could also serve as a deciding factor behind the diminished CGI costs. She-Hulk is the first MCU series to feature a lead character who is entirely CGI and its VFX-heavy nature could've made it hard for the team to balance the required amount needed for the show's CG aspect. As a result, it led to a disappointing finish on the visual side of things.
Hopefully, Marvel Studios' Hall H panel will properly address She-Hulk's CGI debacle by showcasing a final trailer with improved VFX work.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is set to premiere on Disney+ on Wednesday, August 17.