Rating 4.5/5 I asked my nephew what he thought about Marvel The Punisher. He said it was good but could have used a little more violence. I start my review of Marvel Netflix Punisher on those words. Marvel Netflix Punisher was really good, damn near great, but it could have used just a tad more violence. That is really a nitpick but one that pretty much sums up the show. Marvel’s the Punisher feels like a character study about a man driven to the most extreme means by the most extreme circumstances. It’s a story that asks you to sympathize with a man who murders people openly and has no remorse for those murders. The Punisher is an eye-for-an-eye story about Frank Castle, a man whose wife and children were murdered during a mafia gang-war in Central Park. Frank survives that starts a war on crime. That story explanation right there is what the Netflix show was missing. Let me expand.
Marvel Netflix Punisher in Daredevil
Daredevil season 2 introduced The Punisher in the main plot that became a subplot. In Daredevil season 2 we got the story of Marvels The Punisher murdering the men directly responsible for the death of his family. Marvels Netflix Punisher is about Frank finding out there was more to their murder and going after the rest of the people responsible. This leads to a large conspiracy about a CIA operative going outside the scope of his job to perform black-ops jobs on the side that leads to a member of law enforcement almost catching him. The CIA operative uses Frank and his team to kidnap and kills the cop but because he was a known cop and not an enemy combatant other members of law enforcement are suspicious and looking for answers. This is what Marvels the Punisher got right and wrong in a lesser way. The story is small, it’s perfect for a character like The Punisher and it sets up future storylines and villains for Frank to handle. I’m going, to be honest, this is the kind of story the Defenders should have been. Small with personal stake rather than world-ending.
On The Other Hand
On the other hand, now that all the people who are responsible for his family’s deaths have been punisher where does Marvel’s the Punisher go from here. In the comic Frank just hates criminals. In stories where super-heroes have to work with current or ex-villains, if the Punisher comes along somebody has to stop him from murdering the villains. These a big cross-over where Captain America recruits Frank and they had a couple of villains helping them out. But Frank kills them and Captain America beats the living shit out of him. That’s the Punisher. That’s who you expect to act. However, Marvels Netflix Punisher decides to keep Frank’s war very personal war. Once done, Frank is given the opportunity to live a quiet life. If they ended Marvel’s the Punisher right there you’d have a complete and extremely well-done revenge action story. But it’s not going to be done. This show kicks ass and there’s no way comic or MCU or even action fans are not signing the praises of this one. Look, I said the story left nowhere for Punisher could go full metal Punisher, that didn’t take away from the show at all.
Marvel Netflix Punisher Family
Let’s talk about the side players. Microchip, played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach, is a character from a comic that met one of those “we’re pulling shit out of our asses” endings. He was the Punisher’s back-up using computers in pretty much the same as in Marvel’s The Punisher did on the show. In the comics, he had no real backstory. In Marvels Netflix Punisher, he’s the inciting incident, the backstory and given a family whose sub-plot does relate to the story being told. I like Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page. In Marvel’s Netflix shows she an actual character with depth and actually serves the story. I don’t care how my fellow comic geeks feel about it, in the comics she was just the damsel in distress who was treated horribly by Frank Miller who turned her into a drug addict porn star who sold Matt’s secret identity for a fix. (No, seriously, that’s what happened.) I prefer Karen Page the actual human being and not the sexy lamp. Finally, there’s Ben Barns as Billy Russo, a man with the same training as Frank Castle who was Frank Castle’s best friend who was responsible for the death of his family too. He’s going to be the Punisher Arch-Enemy Jigsaw and this was his original story in every good way you can think. By the end of the series, Billy earned his future status. Standout performance goes to Amber Rose Revah who played Homeland Security agents driven to find out who murdered the law enforcement officer who was working with her to find the illegal black-ops team. A lot about her character defied expectations, though there were some parts that feel a little too “Written by men” but the actress uses every piece of the script to make Amber Rose a character you want to see more of.
Marvel Netflix Punisher’s Violence
I started with my nephew’s opinion that Marvels Netflix Punisher needed more violence because he’s not exactly a comic geek so he’d represent what someone from the general audience thinks. I don’t happen to agree with that opinion, in that if we had 13 episodes with The Punisher just shooting people it would get old and boring fast. However, this is the Punisher so violence is implied by the nature of the character. There was plenty of action, and enough violence to serve the story. There was no Hallway fight to already it steps outside the box of Netflix Marvel shows. If you come to this looking for Die Hard or even Commando, this is not that kind of show. If you’re looking for a show balance with action, mystery, and violence wrapped in a well-done story, Marvels Netflix Punisher is the show for you.
Marvel Netflix Punisher – The Verdict
Marvels Netflix Punisher is excellent, that’s all there is to it. Is it Netflix’s best Marvel show? No. Daredevil Season One holds that spot. But this was a strong contender as it was a really good story, strong acting and the 13 episodes went by at a really nice pace. The co-stars were strong and the villains were pretty good too. All these things come together to create a riveting series that accomplished the one thing even the comics couldn’t do, humanize an anti-villain whose really not much more than a 1980’s action stereotype. Good job Marvel.