We’re in the home stretch. Netflix’s The Punisher premieres this Friday. It’s been one heck of a ride thanks to an amazing marketing strategy that rivaled 2016’s Deadpool. They left us guessing for months when the actual release date would be. It got me hyped for the premiere on November 17th!
New reviews for the Punisher just dropped and they are pretty interesting. These reviews cover the first six episodes of the season which I believe is just enough to give the critics all they need to make an educated observation.
First, Forbes’s Merrill Bar took the series on in his review. Titled ‘Marvel’s The Punisher’ Review: The Best MCU Series Ever Made (Really)
When Guardians of Galaxy hit theaters in 2014, many praised it as the best MCU film to date, not for the least of which being because it chose to not tie itself to existing mythology. It is within this prism we can praise the television side’s latest Netflix series: The Punisher.
The Punisher is the best Marvel series to date set within the fictional MCU. Why? Because it does its own thing.
Merrill Bar went even further and touched on the Punisher’s trademark use of violence.
In addition to being the best, The Punisher is also the most violent, unhinged series ever produced by the house Feige (or in this case Jeph Loeb) built.
This to me is great news for a character who some feared could have been watered down heavily since Disney’s acquisition of Marvel.
Next up is David Griffin’s review at IGN. Unlike Bar, Griffin only saw the first episode of the upcoming season, which to me could be a problem. Since all of the Marvel/Netflix shows have required more than one episode to get you grounded in the content. However, he still praised the show’s pacing and direction.
The premiere’s direction and pacing are also standouts, as they help the viewer slowly get a sense of where Frank’s mind is after his six-month killing-hiatus. If you’ve seen any of the promotional footage, then you’ll remember those flashbacks of his wife and kids that continue to haunt him. These constant reminders of his past are a substantial aspect of Castle’s character that showrunner Steven Lightfoot (Hannibal) is determined to show the viewer.
Sonia Saraiya at Variety took a look at Jon Bernthal a bit more thoroughly and shows why his choice as the title character was a great one.
At first, “Marvel’s The Punisher” seems like another misstep. In the television landscape at large, another overwhelmingly gray and brutally violent show centered on a dysfunctional antihero is superfluous. Within the superhero genre, it’s even more so. But “The Punisher” transcends what it appears to be. Not completely, and not always; this is still a very violent show, saturated in tortured masculinity. (In just the opening credits, an array of semiautomatic weapons float in the air to arrange themselves in the skull-shaped logo of the Punisher.) But thanks to Jon Berthal’s seamless performance as the non-superpowered vigilante Frank Castle and showrunner Steve Lightfoot’s sharp, conscious storytelling, “The Punisher” approaches the high points of “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” by introducing a damaged, deadly character and telling his story as one piece of an unjust whole. Despite first impressions, Frank Castle is in fact a marginalized figure — because he is a veteran.”
Sonia Saraiya goes on to talk about Jon Bernthal’s ability to communicate the character as well as he does. “It’s difficult to imagine better casting than Bernthal, who communicates so fluently with impassive silences, and is convincing both when he is being terribly violent and especially gentle.”
For fans who saw the second season of Daredevil, this isn’t news to us. Watching Jon Bernthal’s take on The Punisher was a home run. Not only in his ability to dish out violence against the bad guys, but in how he’s able to hit a powerful philosophical tone.
It’s a big week. Netflix’s The Punisher debuts on November 17. Are you ready?