**Spoilers for The Punisher Season 1**
As a big fan of The Punisher Movies I had really high hopes for this TV Show. Punisher War Zone wasn’t the greatest but as for Thomas Jane playing the role, that was a film I had enjoyed! However after watching Luke Cage,Daredevil,Iron Fist & Jessica Jones I was super excited to see how Netflix were going to deal with this Franchise and what was going to happen next.
Now ‘The Punisher’ is certainly not the easiest story to be told, particularly given the current political climate – a mass murderer on the rampage with a skull painted onto his Kevlar vest will always create controversy but hey, we LOVE the White Skull!! With this series, I kind of expected a mindless indulgence of senseless violence however I certainly was pleasantly surprised – instead of turning a blind eye to the harsh realities of the real world, ‘ The Punisher’ tackles them head on. What we essentially have is a 13 part series centered round all of these ‘Hot Topics’ i.e. gun control – mentioned a number of times until it actually sticks, along with the nitty gritty of war veterans dealing with their Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) .
Subtlety is not a strong suit in this show – not a surprise really. The gun control is mentioned so many times, it is practically being shouted about – a few heavy hints would have been better, However the show really excels in the PTSD aspect, as we see how Frank’s brothers-in-arms each deal with their own effects of the trauma in different ways. No two veterans have the same coping mechanisms which I feel really adds to the authenticity of the characters. We are shown the direct effect on Frank’s mind which adds to his violent lifestyle, Billy who sets up his own private security firm and Curtis who holds regular group meetings for vets, all further explored in the ongoing season.
OK, so in terms of action, the Punisher absolutely delivers on all fronts – it features some of the best action scenes I have experienced in a long time. Frank Castle is a totally believable rampaging killing machine, giving as good as he gets in every fight scene but BE WARNED anyone with a weak stomach may struggle at times with the gore particularly towards the end of the season but in my opinion, the violence is a necessity, not gratuitous at all until the last few episodes where it feels totally justified.
Jon Bernthal was always a character who stood out to me in ‘The Walking Dead’ – always very believable in the role and in ‘The Punisher’ he is no different. This to my mind, cements Jon as a leading actor handling the pressure of the main role in a professional and completely believable way, but as with any good show, it takes the complete cast to bring it together and the talented supporting actors do exactly that! Micro aka David Liebermans performance throughout is incredible and when he and Frank are together the series ROCKS!!
Well, now that I have gushed over my admiration for this show, I feel I need to pick out the few poor points – don’t want to seem totally biased! I feel any scene which has the Homeland Security Team, led by Agent Dinah Madani and her “partner” Sam Stein loses some of its’ punch. They rarely get a chance to join in with the interesting storylines and when they do contribute, they are usually being beaten within a inch of their lives. Karen Page in my mind is ‘The Punisher’ version of Claire Temple in ’Daredevil’ – of course we know and presume we will see Punisher work alongside the rest of the Netflix Superhero crew, but we certainly don’t need Karen’s cameo appearances here and there to remind us of that.
These few issues aside, Marvels ‘Punisher’ does a fantastic job of building it’s own individual world away from what we have previously seen in ‘The Defenders’. If you can handle the violence, this show is absolutely worth your time and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed when it comes to the end!!
DIAGNOSIS – MINOR SURGERY
The Punisher is a fantastic addition to Netflix’ Superhero Catalogue. This show is elevated by the superb performances from Bernthal and his supporting cast along with outstanding action sequences throughout, although the show’s approach to tackling political issues isn’t always needed, it’s admirable and in this shows weaker or slower moments it still never goes off the rails. I for one am super excited to see how it develops and how we see Frank carry on and whether Micro will still be in his life.