The Punisher: Believe the Hype
Action & Adventure
After striking a chord with fans as one of the most faithful portrayals of a comic book character and considered as one of the biggest highlights of the second season of Daredevil; the Punisher is the latest and newest Marvel character to get his own series on Netflix.
The show follows the titular character as he continues his quest for vengeance, killing and punishing every person who was remotely related to the death of his family, till he finally settles down; however he is brought back into the world of pain, suffering and conspiracy as he’s contacted by a fellow victim named Micro who shows him that his job isn’t done.
Jon Bernthal reprises his role as Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, and brings everything that made his character great when he was first introduced; he’s a damaged, broken man in constant suffering as he gets recurring nightmares of his murdered family. We also get further glimpse into his psyche when lashing out on the poor souls who have wronged him, with Bernthal committing wholeheartedly to the character’s sense of anger and hate as he roars into action.
Ebon Moss-Bachrach plays David Lieberman, aka Micro, a former NSA analyst who gets framed after releasing incriminating evidence of CIA corruption and is forced to fake his death in order to keep his family safe. Ebon offers a sense of contrast to that of Jon as his character is not as hands on as Castle, all while being the guy feeding castle data and helping him. His portrayal is that of desperation as he is constantly monitoring his family to make sure they’re safe, as well asbeing in constant fear and paranoia.
While the two main protagonists offer a solid foundation to follow throughout the show, their counter parts and the supporting characters, however, don’t shine as brightly, only offering shaky support at best, except for one performance by Ben Barnes as Billy Russo.
Amber Rose Revah plays Dinah Madani, a special agent at home land security had a lot of potential of becoming a strong female figure in the show, especially considering her Middle Eastern background. However, she isn’t likable as a character and is a bit one dimensional.
Another shallow character was the one of the main antagonists in the show is Paul Schulze as William Rawlins; he feels underdeveloped and never really finds his footing in the overall in the arc of the show – it’s almost as if he was there for the sake of having a big baddie. Ben Barnes as Billy Russo, on the other hand, is a great, fully-fleshed-out character; we get a glimpse into his past, as well as his connection with Frank, and his evolution from a friend to something much more sinister.
The show has some pacing issues as it drags on in some episodes favouring investigation and emotional ties rather than full on action, yet when it’s go-time, it’s full throttle, with great action sequences in all its blood and guts glory, making the wait worth it.
It might feel slow for some, but it’s still one of the strongest shows among Netflix’s other Marvel-based. One of the best ways of seeing it is a first chapter or as prologue to a deeper and more interesting story in the future.