Disclaimer before I properly get into the review there were be an avoidance for any possible spoilers and in case of any my apologies. Additionally, I would also recommend watching the other Netflix series “Daredevil” beforehand (not sponsored by the way) because the story of Punisher starts shortly after the second season of Daredevil with a few characters from that series that show up within this so can be confusing as well as a few plot points – this coming from someone who first watched this show not having seen the Daredevil series first. Anyways enough for the disclaimers lets get into it.
Basic Plot Sensibility
The Netflix series “The Punisher” is a gritty anti-hero series set within New York City and follows the story of “Frank Castle” aka “The Punisher” after he wraps up a few lose ends. The perverse protagonist’s past comes out to haunt him along with bringing grief, causing him to act and hunt people down out of reluctance rather than for previously needing to. Along the journey characters from his past are introduced or play some importance, along with others who share similar goals or objectives they wish to fulfil but don’t have the capacity to due to his set of skills as being a former army special forces operative & his blackened moral sensibility of “kill” rather than “arrest”. This morality plays out a lot through the series (even into the second season as well) and could arguably be labelled a “theme” of the entire show due it sparking conflicts amongst the characters on several cases, whether it be with allies or law-enforcement agents.
Where It Excels
It might be down to me being a simpleton, but the casting for The Punisher himself of Jon Bernthal (known for previous works such as “Fury” or more notably “The Walking Dead”) is top-notch in the portrayal due to the savagery & almost primal brutality he emulates and displays throughout the show – to the point I’d personally laugh in excitement of the violence and of whats to come next. Additionally, Jon Bernthal when he’s not butchering people does display serious character development and growth of “Frank Castle” throughout as he is often reminded of his family & the prices he’s paid for his own decisions (Season 2 also allows for more development further, as well as slightly more humourous moments as well). Besides the titular character, the side characters from the law-enforcement members to the antagonists are very well selected and crafted which show depth to their mindsets along with a vivid understanding to the mindsets at times. One of these characters (without going into too much detail) shows a good topical issue towards how war veterans are treated in the United States (could be incorrect or flawed of me to say as a British man but oh well) with the issues they face of mental health struggles from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and highlight some of the unspoken behaviours or events that may occur with them. Lastly, the fight choreography and visual effects are wonderful to watch and progressively gets more graphic and developed throughout and is a treat to watch – and was improved and continued on further in the second season as well (Personally I’d highly recommend this show to people, to me is very strong for what it wants to be).
Where The Heels Drag A Little
Some Gripes I could see people having with the series is the reoccurring dream/vision he has throughout that at times can be out of place it felt and didn’t really feel like they did all too much besides show us a side of the character that had already been established prior. Maybe as well is some of the character rationals at times which seem to suddenly change drastically during a single conversation yet remains the continued out look of the character for the remaining episodes of the first season could be a little grating. But besides those I wouldn’t be able to list off too many more without meticulous examination of each episode by episode.
Overall, the show is a great little series with about thirteen episodes each roughly forty-five minutes long and is a great set to binge over a weekend (or during isolation with current affairs) with a decent second season to follow it immediately if you watch it via Netflix. Great characters, great violence and gritty nature to it with fairly decent plot except for certain areas or episodes (which might be to breakdown the main narrative so it doesn’t rush/drown you out too quickly). But Racco would highly recommend it if you find the time and/or if gritter and more morally darkened protagonists are your cup of tea.