Marvel’s The Punisher is finally here, and after binge-watching all 13 episodes and using up 13 hours of my weekend, we have finally finished the series and thankfully so. That was a wild ride, but a fun one. Frank Castle is a complicated man who suffers from intense PTSD, grief, loss, and loneliness. There are some things he cannot forget, and neither can we after watching this first season.
Marvel’s The Punisher is not a political statement so much so that it is focused on the topic of the military, the government, corruption, and grief. If you read the comics, you would know he is a man of violence and always has been. He kills first and asks questions later; he is a gritty anti-hero. I will not be focusing on the political news aspect of the show. I will be talking about how great the show, in my eyes, is.
The Many Many Highs
The show consisted of many high moments — between the characters, the action, the gore, and the subjects of PTSD and anxiety. The show made something of itself and Marvel. Coming after shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and The Defenders… Marvel’s The Punisher makes them seem like a mediocre show. This show brought the hype to the table and satisfied every single promise they made.
Frank Castle > Marvel’s The Punisher
Frank Castle is the man. That’s right, I will say it. Castle is hands down the best aspect of this show, and that has to do with Jon Bernthal wholeheartedly. Bernthal’s performance, most of all, is one of the greatest renditions of Marvel’s The Punisher I have seen yet.
From portraying the grief, loss, and anxiety of Castle to kicking people’s ass without question in mind is what perfected the character effortlessly. I caught myself rooting for Castle more often than not in many of the situations; rooting for him to kill whoever for whoever because that’s who he is.
This show brought the Marine Corps., Miltary, and Government to an entirely different light. We see every aspect of Veterans, PTSD, and the panic/anxiety that they entail and go through every day. In Franks view, it hurts even more because we see flashbacks and we feel the anxiety that he felt.
The show uses cinematography and directing to make us feel what Frank and these other characters such as Lewis too are feeling. It goes to extreme levels, but in the best way possible, to show these unfortunate events that have happened and are currently happening.
Micro > David Lieberman
Micro, after Frank’s Jon, was hands down the best of this season. Lieberman is overweight in the comics and stylistically different, but Micro blew it out of the water regardless.
From the moment he stepped into the series, I was taken aback by how smart and daring he was. Like Frank he has a family still alive, a wife, and two children. He is living similarly to Frank in hiding because he wants his family to be safe — and, they are for the most part until the end of the series.
Lieberman is one cool dude who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the ones he loves safe. Without a doubt, one of the best characters of the season. If I got a Castle and Lieberman series like Two and a Half Men or something I would be so pleased. I would watch it every day. The chemistry they have is outstanding. Played by the ever so great, Ebon Moss-Bachrach.
PTSD > Grief, Loss, Isolation, and Veterans
This show focuses on severe PTSD from the Military; severe grief and loss, and how Veterans are treated even after they served a country they nearly died for, and some did die for it. What is essential to take away from this show is this aspect right here.
The directing in this show puts you in the first person often, and it brings the next level of emotion in the series. The camera is often you looking/being in the situation of these characters. Listening to who they are and what they did for our country — looking into the government and how sleazy they are.
I am not a Veteran, and I do not know what severe PTSD is like, but understanding and getting into the emotions of these characters is the first step for me. I was taken aback by how intense the emotional value was and praise it. Hands down, the best aspect of the series.
Billy Russo (AKA> Jigsaw )
Billy goddamn Russo. Outstanding performance without a doubt. Billy is the villain for all intents and purposes of this series. He has a sexual relationship with Madani for a while, which is super weird — but, he also kills Stein which is when we get just how crooked he is.
He seems to be lighthearted at the beginning of the series, and we don’t know exactly what he is capable of. Russo is someone who deserves all that he got. Becoming Jigsaw will only add fuel to the fire of Marvel’s The Punisher.
I hate Russo, for many reasons, but because he played his role so good. I hated him because that is what the show wanted me to do — he is the villain, after all, right?
Dinah Madani > “the Lady of the Hour(s)”
The newly created character for the series is Dinah Madani who is on Frank’s side… after the evidence points away from him. She is on the opposing side when she is trying to find justice for her friend. Then again, Frank and his team in the Miltary were puppets to the government that told them exactly what to do. Often saying:
“I point, you shoot.”
Madani is always trying to get justice; she doesn’t go by the book — hell, often she goes off the book. Madani has a hardcore “do the right thing” family, and that is where she gets it from. She is a force to be reckoned with like Misty Knight, and I cannot wait to see what is in store for her character.
Madani is the only one that is not a comic book originated character, so we do not know what could happen to her. She could end up being in the “trust” which is a secret Marvel group. That is where I thought Stein resolved, but his demise came quickly. So, while we do not know where she is headed — we know there are some good things in store for her character.
The Length: 13 Episodes, 55-57 Minutes Each
The length was perfect for me. I know some say 13 episodes are too long and were too long for Marvel’s The Punisher; but, I think it was just enough. Some plots could have been avoided… however, at the end of the day, I was happy they were there.
The beginning few episodes seemed irrelevant to the entire season at hand and forgettable in some ways. That does not mean they were not of importance. We get into why Punisher got back into the game — why he was ready for the kill and why he needed to do this for his family and closure.
There were a lot of reasons why we needed those slow few episodes, without them… I don’t think we would have felt as close to Frank Castle as we did watching all 13.
Again, the episodes are about exactly an hour long — so you are sitting there watching a ton of information throughout those 13 hours. A lot comes at you, but it’s not bad information. It all means something.
The Few Lows
As with every Marvel series — there is going to be some lows of the series. Granted, there aren’t many in this, but the two that caught my attention were: Page and Gore. I will explain why the on latter, but Page is self-explanatory — I’ll explain it anyway from my perspective why I thought she was useless to the series overall.
She was there as a pawn for Lewis, for one, that is why she existed in the show. Without Lewis’ plot, she did not have a reason to be there. Karen and Punisher having any sort of relationship is… weird, to say the least.
She was just in love with Matt Murdock and then had Foggy drolling over her. Now, she wants Castle? I’m confused, as I’m sure others are too. She’s the Claire Temple of the MCU. Page did not have a sole purpose in this series. Unless you count to start drama and to make Frank risk his life for her.
Karen is someone who enjoys being saved but creates the drama onto herself beforehand. The entire time she was on screen was an eye-roll. Again, some do like her character, and that is perfectly fine.
This was intense at times. The second to last episode, (E12, “Home“) where Russo and Rawlins tormenting Castle was brilliant but intense. Again, the cinematography and directing worked perfectly here.
While this isn’t a low that is turn-off-able from the entire show, it is something to consider if you are squeamish. It does show very close gore, punishing, squeezing out eyes from their socket, etc. If you do not like that and can’t watch horror movies because of it — you can skip the gore parts. The show is great despite that.
Marvel’s The Punisher is all about the gore, so it is something that is in almost every episode.
Marvel’s The Punisher: A Review
While the show does go slow at times, it is all needed. The action isn’t always there, especially in the first few episodes. The pace is slow, but trust me by the last five episodes you are on the edge of your seat. This is almost a 10/10 show; literally, nearly there, it is my number one favorite Netflix Marvel produced show.
Watch it now; you won’t regret it! Also, check out our Thor: Ragnarok review we did too; happy Marvel month!