As much as I absolutely adored the first season of Daredevil, I have to admit that, as time has gone on, the Netflix Marvel series have been a mixed bag at best, some have been passable but a lot have been just bad. Just because you get one really right doesn’t mean lightning can strike again twice. Or six more times at present. That is up until Jon Bernthal’s take on Marvel’s iconic psychopath, The Punisher. So let’s see what the first season holds and why this is the role Barnthal was absolutely born to play.
Everyone thinks that The Punisher is dead, but Frank Castle lives, under a different identity, trying to get on with his life. But he’s a deeply damaged man and when a hacker starts to mess with him, he has to give up his new life and go underground to finally learn the truth about the death of his family.
I’ll be really up front and say that I wasn’t all that wild about Punisher when he appeared in Daredevil, mostly because it was too much courtroom drama and too little Frank Castle punishing people. No, it wasn’t his series, he was a side character on someone else’s show, but it just didn’t grab me the way I had hoped. And because of that, I was more than a little nervous when it came to his own series, but I had no need to be. Bernthal knocked it so far out of the park, you can’t see it from here.
Netflix lets the show be as bloody as it needs to be, and for a character like Punisher, this has to be a strong R-rated series with tons of blood and violence. You simply cannot cut back on the brutality for a character like this. You can’t make The Punisher PG-13. Luckily, Netflix knows this which is why all of their shows are left to go where they need to go to achieve greatness.
The one problem that my wife pointed out, and this is a problem with a lot of modern shows, is the hero makes a ton of really obvious mistakes and gets the crap beat out of them right up until the last battle. It’s supposed to be dramatic but I find it stupid. It’s like modern writers have forgotten how to write. But since this is a problem with most television, I’m not blaming Punisher, but an entire generation of crappy TV writers.
The other problem I had was the inclusion of Karen Page. Yes, they have a history together from season 2 of Daredevil, but I can’t stand her. It really feels if either Woll or Rosario Dawson get shoved into every single one of these series whether they belong or not. And Page did not belong here in my opinion.
Still, I love this show. It gave me all of the same feelings I got from the first season of Daredevil. It was all of the things that I wish the more recent Netflix Marvel series could have been. It gives me a little hope that maybe someone might have learned their lesson and future seasons of Luke Cage and Daredevil might actually be good again. At least I can keep my fingers crossed.