After almost killing its comic franchise, Netflix saves their Marvel licence with a new anti-hero.
Solomon Smith, Editor-in-Chief
The Punisher is a return to the excelent writing and great casting fans of the Netflix Marvel universe have come to expect and almost makes up for the unforgivable Iron Fist.
Before The Iron Fist, Netflix was on a roll with its comic book anti-heroes: Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. The streaming sight stumble with the terrible casting, writing and acting of Iron Fist, but with the recent release of the Punisher, Netflix has ripped off the skin on the ant-hero, and viewers will likely want more.
First introduced as a mysterious villain in the third season of Dare Devil, the Punisher has brought life back to the Netflix Marvel franchise, and best of all, hope to its viewers.
The series picks up six months after Frank Castle, the eponymous title character, has killed what he believes is the last man on the list of those responsible for the deaths of his family. Castle, a former U.S. Marine Corps Scout Sniper, trained in hand-to-hand combat and guerilla warfare is good at killing and takes to it.
The first few episodes establish the emptiness of a purposeful man. From this, viewers get to watch the dark evolution of an iconic anti-hero. The pacing of the series as a whole is quick. The writing moves it along at just the right speed, giving character development enough space for the people to matter while still allowing for the regularly schedule gun fight.
Violence is not only a theme on the show, it is also a character. It is used as a storytelling device and has a reoccurring role in almost every episode. There is no fear of blood splatters or gunshot wounds and the stark way that it is shown heightens the tension. The Punisher is a dark ultra-violent world with characters who die in bloody ways that matter to the plot.
The show does have some problems, however. There is a subplot involving a young veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The way it is represented on the show is uneven, and eventually devolves into a ham-fisted message about PTSD.
It takes this sensitive subject and shoehorns it in, making the young soldier a cliché and entirely misses its own point. That stumble aside, the Punisher moves forward with weight and is entertaining when it avoids being anything other than what it is.
Viewers will be glad they stayed up all night to watch it.