Netflix Review: The Punisher (Season 2)

Jon Bernthal. What a man. A very angry man. At least in his role as Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher. However, he plays several other angry men too, probably because he is just good at it (see also Baby Driver, Sicario, & Fury). But honestly, I’m okay with his choice in movie characters, so long as he continues to play them as well as he has here. The only bummer with The Punisher is…it has effectively been canceled. So as of right now, this is the last and only post you have from me regarding this show. Sad emoji. But I’ll try to make the most of it, because for those of you who like to watch well-captured violence in your films and shows, this one is for you.
Originally created by comic book writer Gerry Conway in the 1970’s as one of Spider-Man’s vigilante antagonists, the creative mind of writer Steve Lightfoot (known most recently for another show that I will review in the near future, Hannibal) brought The Punisher character to the screen for the third iteration so far this century. Previously, Castle was played rather poorly by Thomas Jane, and then a little better by Ray Stevenson in Punisher: War Zone four years later. I was not a big fan of the first, but the movie was mostly ruined by a terrible “bad-guy John Travolta” performance. Bleh. The second film was better, but the cinematography and directing really gave that one life. You know what Punisher character I was a fan of though? The animated one in Spider-Man, the animated series, back in the 1990’s! That show was great, and I’m getting side-tracked…The Punisher was my second favorite of the Marvel Defenders Netflix shows (Daredevil takes the cake), but not to knock the show here because I think they stayed true to the character and gave us a really strong villain in his friend and foe, Billy Russo (a.k.a. Jigsaw, played here by Ben Barnes). But let me tell you what else about the show I really liked.
Pretty much everything, actually. I like the characters and the relationships they build with each other. I liked how in season two, they introduce two new characters in the first episode and build their characters consistently in each episode to a final showdown that felt in line with where the show had been going all season. I also liked, as previously mentioned, how the violence was shot. Almost poetic in a way, especially in the final episode. Finally, I liked how Bernthal portrayed the dichotomy that is a comic book anti-hero. I enjoyed watching him portray the emotional turmoil going on inside the mind and heart of his character. He kills so many people and ruins so many city blocks and buildings, but he also gets the job done. He wants to protect, but he’s also out for vengeance.
Like I said, the show is canceled, along with the others. But don’t get too downhearted yet, because Disney is putting together their very own streaming service (Disney+) that is set to launch sometime this fall. They haven’t confirmed anything regarding the continuation of their Marvel’s Defenders shows, but I wouldn’t consider them “gone forever” until that is specifically stated by Disney. Until then, you have some time to catch up, or just enjoy 🙂 If I didn’t say it enough, I really liked this show, and I recommend you try out an episode or two if it sounds interesting to you. There are other shows I really liked though too, so check back next week for a review of the first (and only?) season of Prime Video’s The Night Manager. Cheers!

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