The Marvel series on Netflix started out good with the first season of Daredevil and the first season of Jessica Jones. Luke Cage’s first season was good, but not as good and The Iron Fist was a disappointment. You can read about The Iron Fist here and about the meh season of The Defenders here. Daredevil season 2 was ok, but not as good as the first one, except for one thing: one man I must say: John Bernthal’s Punisher. He made that season awesome and stole the thunder. I was happy he was getting his own series.
After faking his death on the second season of Daredevil, Frank Castle is no more. Now he calls himself Pete Castiglione and works construction while keeping to himself. After a coworker gets into trouble, he sets things straight by killing off some mobsters. This puts him on the radar with someone named “Micro”who wants Frank’s help. Frank goes to Karen Page for advise and help and she finds out who “Micro” actually is.
While this plot unfolds, we meet Special Agent Madani. After serving in Afghanistan, she came back home to work fort he Department of Homeland Security. She wants to know what happened to her partner there and triest o get an investigation started, but she gets blackballed by her boss.
These storylines are intertwined and it fleshes out the backstory of Frank Castle even more. It also gives us a setting where we can see the human Frank Castle. Someone who has friends, brothers in arms and who had a family. The storyline is Frank and Micro trying to unravel a conspiracy on government level, while Madani tries to do this as well. Two sides of the law working on a common goal.
What I liked about The Punisher
The story is a psychological horror story about what war does to humans, plus it’s a whodunnit/conspiracy story. And I love a good mystery! John Bernthal is once again perfect fort his rol, his gait and non verbal communications are spot on. Plus he gives the character some much needed gravitas and makes him less one dimensional unlike his comic book counterpart. Karen Page is a great recurring character, connecting it tot he larger world and I really like her character. I loved seeing some of Frank old buddies.
Without spoiling something I should have recognised one of their names earlier, because that person is a Marvel villain.
The things I didn’t like as much
The character of Micro took time for me to stick and become likeable. Although I love a slow burn, they sometimes took their sweet time to get somewhere or to tell the story needed. The Lewis character sidestory could have been better and I was hoping for it to be a bigger part than it in the end actually was. And the big bad was ok, but it was another government type white dude who likes to monologue.
It’s not a perfect series, but I enjoyed it. Mainly because John Bernthal embodies Frank Castle and gives him some humanlike qualities, instead of only being the Punisher and killing everyone. It’s hard to like a sociopath vigilante. There is also a dichotomy between how they use him in the second season of Daredevil and in his own series. In Daredevil we mainly get to see the killing, explosive side of Frank Castle, whereas in this series we get to see the other sides. I liked it, but I can understand that it would be a turnoff for some.
All with all it’s a deserving addition to the Marvel series, I hope that certain Villain comes back for season 2. And maybe some more speed and action. Watch it and take your time, knowing that it’s a slow start.