The Punisher: Season 1

It’s kind of amazing how far Marvel has penetrated Netflix. What with two seasons of various superheroes premiering every year. Will Disney remove all of those to it’s upcoming streaming service? A question for another day.

Today, we get the reason why Daredevil Season 2 was worth watching at all: The Punisher. His entry was celebrated, and his exit was way too soon. When I heard he was getting a season all his own, I couldn’t have been more excited.

What you love about The Punisher is all here: Jon Bernthal is the perfect choice. His bird-like intensity and Wolverine-esque roars are perfectly suited to this rage-filled character. And oh boy does he do a lot of killing. What I like about these Marvel TV shows is that they pull very few punches. You’d expect no less from a superhero who actually kills people on purpose. While the main story arc is Castle finding his families killers yet again (seriously, how many people were involved?) we at least get a great reason for his rampage.

But what you hate about the other Marvel series’ is also here. I.E. Karen Page. Good god this woman is a bigger psychopath than Frank Castle. She clearly gets off on violent men. Why do they insist on her presence throughout? Thank the Lord they cut out Foggy.

I understand that the producers want to make shows with multiple character arcs and stories. But that’s not what we want when it comes to superheroes. We want their stories and only their stories. I don’t want one story to be interrupted by another halfway through the season. I do not care about these FBI agents. They are not good actors, they are not good characters. They are very bad at their jobs.

The only story worth the effort is The Punisher’s new buddy, David Lieberman.  But only because his character is the impetus for the entire plot. He’s a good foil for Castle, a man who has also lost everything, isn’t great at killing people, but using his specific skills to fight back.

Otherwise, as with all of the Marvel TV shows, The Punisher is way too long. Cut three episodes out and you have a tighter, more fun series elevated by a fantastic performance from Bernthal. It’s not going to win anyone new over, but anyone who loves some violent TV, it’s a fun watch.

2 1/2 out of 4 stars.

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