Marvel’s ‘The Punisher’ is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is the sixth Marvel show produced and distributed by Netflix. The show’s titular character is The Punisher, aka Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) who was originally introduced into the Marvel Netflix Universe in the second season of ‘Daredevil’, due to the outburst of love for the character in that show, he was given his own spinoff show. Netflix has allowed us to watch and review the first six episodes of the show which we really appreciate and I must say that you’ll have to keep this weekend free because you will want to stream this straight away.
Before going in depth, to summarise my thoughts on the first six episodes, Marvel’s ‘The Punisher’ manages to subvert expectations and become a character piece about Frank Castle, as well as the people around him. Although the pacing can be quite slow at the beginning, it redeems itself by perfectly tackling the consequences of war mentally and physically on a person, with excellent writing, directing and acting, especially from Jon Bernthal who brings his all and embodies the role of Frank Castle.
As for the other cast members, Micro (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) is the main supporting character of the cast and is introduced as a mystery character in the second episode. So far, he and Frank have a great dynamic where they are pretty much just forced to work together under these circumstances, so as a result, they do have conflicting ideologies which come to a head a lot in these episodes. Speaking of the Lieberman family, his wife, Sarah Lieberman (Jaime Ray Newman) is surprisingly in the show more than you would think, this is because Micro has faked his death which creates an interesting perspective on how families are affected by relatives becoming casualties of war, this perspective is great, mainly due to Jamie’s incredible performance and can’t wait to see where both Sarah and Micro’s stories go and if their paths eventually converge.
Curtis Hoyle (Jason R. Moore) is the only person from Frank’s wartime past that knows that he is The Punisher, however his main role is that he manages an intervention circle for veterans which helps to provide some social commentary on PTSD and how it affects these veterans, although he doesn’t have much of a character yet, it has been set up for him to have some more development in the next episodes.
Dinah Madani (Amber Rose Revah) works for the FBI who is investigating a case linked to Frank Castle, she is very reminiscent of Carrie Mathison from ‘Homeland’ where no one believes her case but stands up and goes out of her way to prove them wrong. She is definitely a highlight in this show, especially when it is implied that some agents don’t believe her due to her gender, which is good to see that shows like The Punisher are helping kill the stereotype of women not being strong. Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) hasn’t had much to do in the show currently but you can tell that she is still reeling from what happened in The Defenders and it will be interesting to see how that culminates for her character in the back half of this season.
The first episode of ‘The Punisher’ feels very disconnected from the episodes after and although this isn’t particularly a problem, the first episode is riddled with editing and pacing problems and isn’t the best start for the season as it barely dips its toes into the actual story, that being said, it is a very enjoyable mini story and it does help settle new viewers into who Frank Castle is, and with an epic action sequence at the end.
There’s not much more I can say about the show without spoiling it, but overall Marvel’s The Punisher is a spectacular watch with some minor problems at the beginning but the show is near perfect by its sixth episode, well developed and acted characters, an intriguing story with amazing directing and writing make this show an must watch straight away. It is easily a 4.5/5 so far and I hope it stays at that same quality level because, for many, it could be Marvel’s best show yet.
Marvel’s The Punisher begins streaming November 17th on Netflix