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The Punisher - Review

3 stars

Frank Castle is The Punisher!

Well… almost.

Marvel has been on a roll, the MCU is as strong as it has ever been, behind the most critically acclaimed film to date, Thor: Ragnarok, the studio has been on the up and up as far as their film and television credits go. Well, despite Iron Fist (ouch).

As far as introductions go, Jon Bernthal’s interpretation of Frank Castle, the cold-blooded, ex-mercenary with a pension for a bit of the old ultra-violence, was astounding. From the incredibly ruthless prison fight scene, to his dawning of the old white skull across the chest, the second season of Daredevil delivered on the character ten-fold. Such a fiery introduction, with addition to terrific casting in Bernthal, and a kick-ass marketing plan from the folks at Marvel (let’s be honest, who didn’t LOVE the trailer, set to the accompaniment of Metallica’s: One?).  The Punisher was set to be the next, new, hot property that fans could get behind.

As much as I hate to write these words, the show did not live up to the expectations set so firmly in place by the introduction.

Put into place by creator/producer Steve Lightfoot (Hannibal, Narcos), The Punisher takes so much of what makes Frank Castle the man to beat, so much of what makes him the Grade A bad-ass, and fills in the cracks with sub-par writing, unbearably slow pacing, and characters and character choices that take away from grittiness of the character and his story.

Set a few months after the events of Daredevil season 2, Frank Castle is dead. Wait, what? Yes, The Punisher, Frank Castle is dead in the public’s eye. Having grown a full beard, and some wavy locks, Castle is indeed alive and well, only hoping to live out the rest of his days in a quiet, recluse-like setting. While waiting in the darkness, Castle sets out to launch a full-scale investigation into the murder of his family.

I know what you’re saying, well hold on, why is Frank Castle only just now looking into his family’s murder? Why were we introduced to a character, allowing him to develop so much, while our hearts got used to the idea of loving him, only to have his story into investigating the very moment that drives every critical decision made by this character come after the fact than an entirely different plot with the same character was played out, on a different show, prior to this, after his character is already dead?

You got me.

This is where the entire idea and plot of this premiere season just falls to the wayside. The fact is, it shouldn’t matter. Frank Castle is dead, The Punisher is dead, so everything that “Frank” does during the season isn’t reflective on, or associated with the character at all. Well, not until low and behold, for the sake of the plot, he is figured to be alive by the very government he is seeking revenge against.

Look, The Punisher could have been GROUNDBREAKING. Coulda, shoulda, woulda, I’m crying over spilled milk. However, I can’t blame anything I dislike about the show on the cast, led by Jon Bernthal, accompanied with Agent Madani (Amber Rose Revah), Micro (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), Billy Russo (Ben Barnes), and Sarah Leiberman (Jaime Ray Newman). Every short-coming of this season is based solely on the facts of his introduction in Daredevil completely undermining the entire plot, and poor writing.

Micro (Frank’s partner in crime) being unable to withstand the sight of blood, really?

All-in-all, The Punisher does do a ridiculously great job of developing, and allowing the psyche of not only Frank, but Micro, and Billy Russo, to encapsulate every scene. Every scene feels so in-tune with, and is a masterful representation of the effects of PTSD on the everyday lives of those either directly, or indirectly involved with a traumatic event. The show is unrelentingly brutal on its depressive aesthetic, but what more would you expect from such content?



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The Punisher - Review

Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 53 mins/episode, 14 episodes
Creators: Steve Lightfoot
Cast: Jon Bernthal, Amber Rose Revah, Ebon Moss-Bachrach
Genre: Action | Adventure
Distributor: Netflix
Official Site: www.facebook.com/MarvelsPunisherNetflix/https://www.facebook.com/MarvelsPunisherNetflix/
Release Date: 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available.

Synopsis: After the murder of his family, Marine veteran Frank Castle became a vigilante known as "The Punisher" with only one goal in mind, to avenge them.


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