The Punisher Review
By: Justin Hopkins
When The Punisher was first announced for his own solo show. Had little hope of it being any good. Sure Jon Bernthal did a tremendous job as Frank Castle in Daredevil, but was support to Matt Murdoch. With how he is, didn’t think The Punisher could be a main character, and be done with justice. Should really not doubt the Marvel machine right, as once again delivered. Going right into the dark, grungy world that is Frank Castle and stayed true to character. Displaying his ultra violent, tougher then nails, unlikable side, and his broken guilt ridden, anti hero form. While the support went through the emotional rides.
The story was raw and unforgiving. Not pulling any punches from start to finish. From Frank trying to move on after he thought he was successful and getting pulled back in when it turns out the death of his family was a far bigger conspiracy then he could ever imagine. Detective Madani desperate investigation into finding her answers. Heartbreaking journey Micro goes through to reunite with his family and them trying to adjust to his fake death and the solders in group and the painful reality of PTSD. They never pull back on the emotions no matter how bad the situation had gotten for the character in question, and always solicited a strong emotional response in watching it happen. Slowly building to an explosive conclusion.
Jon Bernthal did a tremendous job with an extremely tough character to bring to life. Had to show so much pain and guilt. Was a good man still who was still there to do right by those who needed help and never hurt an innocent person, but also closed off and cold. Would stop at nothing to exact kill those who took his family’s lives, no matter what happens to himself in the process, or at what cost. Walking the precarious line between likeable Anti-Hero and full blown villain.
Bringing Karen, played by the excellent Deborah Ann Woll, was a great way to keep him connected to the rest of the shows, but give him an emotional tie. Someone who torn up by grief over what may happen and wanting to see better for him, while he won’t show it. She represents someone he cares for in return. Which may become relevant in his return to Daredevil if Bullseye is set to premier.
The emotional turmoil showed by Micro and his family was spectacular by everyone involved. Ripley Sobo, Kobi Frumer, and Jamie Ray Newman felt like a really family breaking apart from the loss of their Father and Husband, while his sorrow leapt off the screen. Keeping you in suspense and hoping for the happy reunion this poor family deserved. Hats off to all four of them for their performance.
Lastly, have to give a round of applause to the stunt and fight choreographers. The Punisher is brutal and smash mouth, and they lived up to snuff. Especially, the fight in the first episode where he fight off the three would be murderers with the sledgehammer. Memorable fight that set the tone for things to come.
The Punisher is right up there with Jessica Jones and Daredevil in quality and execution. Staying true to his nature and great addition to the Netflix library. Hoping to see Jon Bernthal return to the character sooner rather then later and fingers crossed to see Ben Barnes rise to Jigsaw in what I’m sure will be an even more action packed Season 2.