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Instead of Watching Iron Fist I Watched The Punisher Again

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Instead of watching Iron Fist season 2 I The Punisher again and I like it more this time.

Marvel’s The Punisher Review

Marvel’s Netflix lineup was breath of fresh air. Instead of the safe, PG version of the Marvel universe that movies use; the Netflix universe, is grounded, brutal, and far more real. It had successes in its first three outings with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. The Defenders and Iron FIst were less successful. But, the height of the Netflix’s shows happened in Daredevil season 2. The Punisher was a force of nature and an excellent contrast to Daredevil. But can Frank Castle carry a season on his own?

I think it does. The Punisher is by no means perfect, but it almost everything about the Punisher is imperfect. It’s raw, uncut, and gritty. The show delivers this. On paper, this season really shouldn’t work, especially how he was originally used in Daredevil. There his motives were simple, and he was merely a man haunting the criminals of Hell’s Kitchen. He was the game changer, the complication to the story. Now it’s his story being told.

He goes through a progression as the series unwinds. He begins it as a broken man. He’s completely lost and without purpose now that his kill list is done. But, you get to see him slowly remember what it was like to be humans he starts connecting with people. But, the pain of losing his family never leaves him. The story is grounded, brutal, and at times hard to watch, so basically exactly what it should be.

Frank Castle

Jon Bernthal is the absolute perfect choice for the Punisher. He’s a stone-cold killer, but there’s a good person under the tough armor. Bernthal essentially spends the entire season growling every line of dialogue. His words sound like they’re mixed with gravel. He also has this ability to roar when he’s on a rampage that makes the Punisher seem more beast than man. Bernthal imbues the character with a sense of a man who will do anything to get the job done, but he still has a code he lives by. I enjoy every second he’s on screen, and he has chemistry with just about every actor he works with whom he works.

Karen

Karen returns and she’s really the only crossover from the other shows. I never liked her in Daredevil until she interacted with Frank. Her appearance is pretty limited, but the two actors have exceptional chemistry. Her scenes are good, even though there aren’t many of them.

Micro

I originally found Micro annoying, but I think that’s kind of the point of his character. The actor works well with Bernthal, and the Punisher and Micro make an unlikely duo. I also like that these characters make the paranoia feel real and nearly impossible to escape. He can’t necessarily be trusted, and he’s prone to making emotional decisions. But, for the most part, he works.

Madani

Amber Rose Revah plays Homeland Security (it was mostly my fault but I just assumed she was FBI and didn’t until around episode 3 that she wasn’t) Agent Dinah Madani. Madani is a tough, focused agent that wants to get to the bottom of what she believes is a cover-up of illegal actions. It’s a pretty common archetype, but Revah makes the role her own. Madani wants to get to the bottom of what happens, but she’s willing to listen to reason. She’s smart, flexible, and is willing to do what needs to be done. For the most part, I liked her character, but a lot of the unnecessary scenes were Madani scenes.

Russo

Bill Russo is a military contractor who served in Frank’s unit and he was Frank’s best friend. He plays a bigger role than expected, and saying anything about him gets me into spoiler territory. The actor does do well to make Russo hide his murders.

The Villain

Most of the Marvel shows feature a main, comic book type villain. Daredevil had the Kingpin, and then the Punisher. Jessica Jones had Kilgrave. Luke Cage had Cottonmouth. Iron Fist had it’s writers and directors. But, the Punisher is different. There really is no one, clear villain. The government is a villain to some extent. They’re covering up illegal Afghanistan and they killed Frank’s family. There’s another villain that appears later. The show shows exactly how he came to be, and even though he’s horrible; it’s heartbreaking to watch.

There is another villain though. Even though there isn’t a supernatural element to the show, the characters are fighting ghosts and inner demons. There are things that people carry with them that they aren’t capable of letting go and it haunts them.

It also comments on the plight of veterans and the struggles they deal with when they come home. There’s a tragic scene where a veteran digs a foxhole in his backyard because he’s more comfortable there than in his bed. There are frequent scenes with a support group where they discuss what it’s like dealing with what they’ve seen. And, flashbacks show how sometimes Frank’s difficulties with adjusting to civilian life.

Negatives

The biggest knock on the show is the pacing. But, this is a problem with every Marvel Netflix show. They are 13 episodes long, but each show feels about 3 episode too long (Iron Fist was 13 episodes too long). I actually feel that this could have been about 6 amazing episodes, but I could see it stretched to 10. Thirteen is just too long.

It was kind of a slow burn. There’s very little Punisher-type-action in a show called, well The Punisher.

Madani’s partner was kind of annoying but mostly harmless.

The show’s not the best to thing to watch while eating. I made that mistake.

The Punisher isn’t the best Netflix show but it is fun to watch and I recommend it.

Spoilers

A Random Things I wanted to Talk about but would be spoilers.

A Random Things I wanted to Talk about but would be spoilers.

How did Micro’s wife not recognize The Punisher? He was the subject of a manhunt and a very public trial. Also, how did her creeper radar not go off when he was hanging around?

There was no Claire (Rosario Dawson) in this. I thought for sure she would show up. I believe this is the first time she hasn’t.

There wasn’t really any mention of anything else. It was kind of strange since there was a recent super team up awhile back.

The Punisher vs. Luke Cage would be awesome to see. Guy who’s really good with guns versus guy who can’t be hurt by guns.

The fight scenes with Rollins and subsequently Russo were so brutal. They really made use of that whole not having to hold back things.

I didn’t the army kid becoming a bomber coming. I thought he might kill himself or his father accidentally but he went from troubled to “let’s blow up some buildings real quick” which I guess was kind of the point.

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