Monday, November 20, 2017

Pilot Review: The Punisher

The Punisher (Netflix)
Premiered November 17

Here we have Netflix’s sixth original series from the Marvel cinematic universe. Though Luke Cage appeared throughout most of the first season of “Jessica Jones,” he was always intended to have his own show, whereas it seems that the popularity of the Punisher during season two of “Daredevil” was what got him his very own series. I felt strongly that he was the main reason to watch that season, since everything having to do with the Hand bordered on completely unbearable, and therefore I think this show could have potential. It’s not immediately clear from this debut installment what the focus of this show will be other than to follow Frank Castle as he goes through life taking out the trash he encounters on a daily basis. Watching him work through all that demolition with his hammer shows just how much aggression he has to get out, and the entire first hour was spent waiting for him to finally take out those obnoxious construction workers who mocked him and didn’t include the one nice guy until they got him roped into a criminal job for which he wasn’t ready at all. After he took care of all of them, he went after the mob bosses who would have tracked him down, therefore cleaning up a big mess and making sure that there aren’t bad guys left to go after innocent people. Unlike the heroes we’re used to, he isn’t concerned about how many people he kills and doesn’t bother to try to save lives of those who might be less guilty. Jon Bernthal is the perfect actor for this, capable of bottling his emotions entirely and conveying a truly lost man whose only outlet is getting rid of bad people. I’m intrigued enough to see what comes next, even though I imagine this will be considerably less tied in to the mythology of the Marvel cinematic universe than the other shows.

How will it work as a series? Like Luke Cage and Jessica Jones before him, Frank has become the subject of a police investigation by someone interested in getting the whole story behind this complicated antihero. As long as this show is focused enough on something, I think that its protagonist can make it an engaging viewing experience.
How long will it last?Daredevil” is already immensely popular with Netflix viewers, or so the limited viewer reports that have been released indicate, and fans were clamoring for this show, even if its reviews aren't that great for the extended franchise. I’m sure that, as long as there’s a story to tell, this show will return for many more seasons.

Pilot grade: B+

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