After Jon Bernthal’s debut as Frank Castle In Daredevil, he’s been a fan-favorite ever since. We got the first season of The Punisher and that was met with high praise: the action, performances, and political commentary all being highlights. Anticipation for the next season has been at an all-time high especially after the recent Marvel Netflix purge. The second season is set to drop this month but we got the chance to watch the complete new season, so here are my (non-spoiler) thoughts on Frank Castle’s second solo outing.
Here’s the synopsis to get you settled in: Former marine-turned-vigilante Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) has been living a quiet life on the road until he suddenly becomes embroiled in the attempted murder of a young girl (Giorgia Whigham). As he is drawn into the mystery surrounding her and those in pursuit of the information she holds, Castle attracts a new target on his back as new and old enemies force him to confront whether he should accept his destiny and embrace a life as The Punisher.
Does it live up to the hype? Unfortunately, it does not. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. The second season suffers from a lot of the problems we’ve seen before regarding Marvel Netflix shows, while also making new mistakes that still puzzle me. So let’s begin detailing the reasons why I believe this season is the mixed bag that no one actually wanted.
For starters, the pace is horrendous. The first episode alone will let you know they will be spending a lot of time doing just about nothing to fill a runtime (which is a full hour by the way). What seems like character development turns into a repetitive chore as our favorite characters, including Frank Castle and Dinah Madani, face many of the same issues they already dealt with last time, including Billy Russo. Speaking of which, let’s dive into Jigsaw’s role in the season without giving spoilers away.
I loved Ben Barnes as Billy Russo in the first season so it was safe to say I was pretty excited to see him return this year. Barnes is as good as ever this time around, but his storyline was nowhere near as interesting as it should’ve been. It’s paint by the numbers and you see everything coming a mile away. This is a pretty big problem once you find out that he takes up half of the screen time in most of the episodes. Without getting into details, there’s a new character that aids his journey and their relationship is also not the revelation the show thought it was.
The action is good, but there is simply not enough to make up for the lengthy soap opera scenes that suck the air out of each episode. On top of that, the shootouts feel uninspired and not up to par with the first season. There are a few hand-to-hand combat scenes that stand out among some of Marvel Netflix’s best work to date, though.
With all of that being said, the main parts of this season I enjoyed the most was the performances and chemistry from the whole cast. I may have complained about the story but I can’t deny how much everyone on screen cares about the show and put in 110%. Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle is as always the shining star while his supporting cast also does a great job. Although I didn’t care for his arc, even Ben Barnes tried his best to portray a lost man slowly tumbling back to his evilness.
Giorgia Whigham’s character is one many will be talking about as she plays an important role in Castle’s journey. Her relationship with him was probably one of my favorite aspects of the season, but be warned, it takes a little bit getting used to. A big surprise for me was the side villain in John Pilgrim, played by Josh Stewart. Although his perspective is put on the side way too often, I thought he was a great adversary for Frank Castle that pushed him to the limit. I would have been happier if he had played a bigger role, but I still enjoyed what we got.
In conclusion, I can not confidently say The Punisher Season 2 is a worthwhile binge for fans of the series and Netflix in general. I have overall mixed feelings about it as the show juggles flawed storylines with great performances and a handful of exhilarating action sequences. Some good concepts are lost when it begins to focus on themes they already touched on last season. There was potential to dip into new waters but for some reason, they felt like consistently reverting back to a plot that delves into familiar territory. I still want to see more soon, but I have a feeling the next time we see The Punisher it will not be on Netflix.
Are you excited for The Punisher Season 2? Let us know in the comments below! – Marcos Melendez
The Punisher Season 2 hits Netflix on January 18.