'The Punisher' Season 1 Review
A Gritty Series that Humanizes The Punisher and Makes Him One of the Most Likable Anti-Heroes
After The Punisher was introduced in Daredevil season 2, people definitely wanted to see more of him. He proved to be a very interesting, compelling character who had a conflicted sense of morality. He experienced a traumatic event which made his actions somewhat justified, but not completely. I really wanted to see what would happen to him in the future. Thankfully, the first season of The Punisher offers a thrilling and gritty mission for the main anti-hero.
After Frank Castle's (Jon Bernthal) family is killed, Castle goes after every person who was involved in the murder of his family and gets revenge. Through this, he develops a nickname known as The Punisher. Once he finally believes that he has taken out everyone involved, he discovers that there is an even larger entity involved with the death of his family. He comes out of retirement in order to fully complete his mission. With the help of some old and new friends, Castle goes after the people involved in order to make sure that they are fully punished.
Jon Bernthal is fantastic as Castle. He does a great job at portraying a character who is so traumatized by the past, but is still trying to find a way to move forward with his life. People just keep coming after him, and he just wants to be left alone. He also still shows that there is some good left in him. He is a very flawed individual, but he still has good intentions. All of the action scenes that he is in have such a hardcore realness that help show how violent and brutal he truly is.
The supporting cast around him are all great. Ebon Moss-Bachrach plays David Lieberman who is basically the tech guy who helps Castle during his missions. He and Castle have similar goals, but differ in the methods that they want to use to achieve their goals. Moss-Bachrach and Bernthal have great chemistry and play well off one another. The elements involving Lieberman's family are great and provide context for why Lieberman needs Castle's help.
Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani is also great. She plays a Homeland Security agent who is investigating Castle's case. She goes through a lot during this show and she is very convincing in showing how it affects her throughout. I think her story line ties in really well to the main one of the show.
The Punisher also gives us a villain who we love to hate. Ben Barnes as Billy Russo is definitely a despicable character. He is just so smug in how he portrays himself and it gets under your skin. He has a history with Castle that just makes his character even more horrid. A lot of the stuff he does in this show just makes you want to reach into the screen and beat him with a pipe.
This show is paced really well. It starts off pretty slow, but once it starts picking up, it shows that the slow pacing really paid off. Castle doesn't actually start kicking ass and taking names until a couple episodes into the show, but once he does, it is great. I think the episodes are put together really well and there was never a time that made me bored. However, there is one storyline that I think takes a lot of attention away from the main, more interesting story.
The show deals a lot with war veterans and the PTSD that they experience once they return from duty. It does a lot of great things with this idea. I think they truly do respect veterans and the sacrifices that they make once they go into the force. It shows PTSD in an honest light and does not try to glorify it or hold anything back.
However, there is a storyline involving an ex-soldier with PTSD that I think takes too much time of the show. It's not that the scenes involving with this story were bad, it's just that I wanted to get back to the main plot with Castle. It's still a compelling story, but I think the show should've spent a little less time with it.
The show does take place in the same setting as the other Netflix Marvel shows, but the other shows aren't really referenced that much which I liked. The show should definitely focus more on Castle's individual arc, considering he is more of an outcast. The only person from other shows who shows up is Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll). I think her character was used well and she never felt forced into the plot.
The action in this show is done really well. It is very brutal and hardcore, but for a purpose. Some of the ways characters are hurt made me squirm in my seat. It really does not hold anything back. It is very gory, but I never felt like it was too excessive. The gore was used to make me either feel uncomfortable or very satisfied depending on how it was used. There are a lot of badass moments from Castle that were rewarding to see. The gunplay and hand to hand combat are very well choreographed in this show.
Overall, The Punisher is a great addition to the Netflix Marvel universe. It offers its own distinct experience while still being in the same tone as the other shows. I don't think that it is my favorite out of the other shows, but I honestly think The Punisher might be my favorite hero out of the other Defenders. He is a great character. I definitely recommend binging this one, however, maybe don't watch this if you are sensitive to blood.