The Punisher: 20 Random Things You Need To Know (Very Mild Spoilers)

The Punisher: 20 Random Things You Need To Know (Very Mild Spoilers)

0 comments 📅17 November 2017, 19:35

Marvel’s The Punisher debuts on Netflix today in one season-sized splurge for your viewing delight. We can tell you now, it’s great, right up there with the best Marvel/Netflix series (Jessica Jones, Luke Cage).

The series spotlights Marvel’s rock hard vigilante character played by Jon Bernthal who was introduced in Daredevil season two, and promptly stole the series from under Matt Murdock’s nose. His own series isn’t perfect, and it might not find favour with proponents of anti-gun violence (but it does serve as a thought-provoking discussion opener on the subject, especially in the wake of real-world events) but at its best it roars: a gripping, intense revenge drama that has time to really develop its characters.

Here, we’ll highlight just a few of the reasons we think makes The Punisher worth watching, plus a couple of things that don’t work so well. That should keep things as spoiler light as possible.

  1. The opening title sequence is great – it’s like the opening titles to a Bond film directed by Tarantino.
  2. Micro is not what you expect – he’s a tech geek who doesn’t quip, quote Star Trek and play Dungeons & Dragons. He’s just a middle aged I.T. guy driven to extremes who has a family and a love life and everything. And he’s great.
  3. Bernthal is like a force of nature as Frank Castle – he’s compelling in every scene he’s in… and even has time for a few comedy moments here and there.
  4. A surprising character from the Netflix/Marvelverse delivers the most compelling pro-gun argument we’ve ever heard. We’re not saying we agree with them, but it’s refreshing to hear a coherent line of thought on the subject from a medium that’s usually more left-wing liberal.
  5. On the other hand, the only vocal proponent of anti-gun laws in the series is an utter dick, so there may be a little bit of bias from the show’s writers here…
  6. In part the series examines how society treats military veterans when they’re dumped back in the real world; can you just switch off from all the training/conditioning to be a good soldier? Does a good soldier by necessity make a maladjusted civilian? And what about those simply cannot re-adjust?
  7. There are a couple of Marvel/Netflix tropes the series follows. The female law enforcer who starts off chasing the “hero” before becoming an uneasy ally is back, this time in the form of Homeland Security agent Dinah Madani (Amber Rose Revah). And there’s something else that we can’t mention because it’d be spoiler, but which comes a little later in the run than usual so at least it’s not entirely predicable (more of case of “Oh it hasn’t happened yet, so it’s probably not happening… oh it has”). Madani kinda gets away with being a trope because Revah is so damned good at breathing life into the character; she has a proper back story too.
  8. There are some grey-haired, authority characters who – very surprisingly – aren’t either totally corrupt or incompetent. You may even grown to like them.
  9. Ben Barnes as Billy Russo is excellent. We can’t say much more, but he has a hell of an arc and gets better and better.
  10. Kind of a reverse-spoiler this one: we’re going to tell you something that doesn’t happen – so if you consider that a spoiler, leap to the next point. But, amazingly, there’s a scene where Castle needs stitching up (we kinda guess you know that’ll happen at some point) and nobody calls in Claire Temple!
  11. It’s very, very, very bloody in places. There’s one killing towards the end which is about the most graphic and squishy thing we’ve ever seen on TV. And that includes Game Of Thrones.
  12. Although it seems these Netflix/Marvel shows will never top that fight scene in season one Daredevil in terms of style (you know the one we mean) there are some fantastic and brutal action sequences here. People really look like they’re hurting.
  13. The finale is a little soft, especially considering what precedes it, but there are some epilogues that are very satisfying. The final scene is very moving, and not in a sentimental way; in a very understated way that fits in with the themes perfectly.
  14. There’s a secondary character called Lewis Walcott, played by Daniel Webber, whose superb turn as Lee Harvey Oswald was far and away the best thing about the dull 11.22.63. He‘s great here too – a real scene stealer, and not for “humorous” reasons. Far, far from it. Webber really deserves a lead role in something soon.
  15. There is bromance. You can probably guess between who. But it’s not some slash-fiction-inspiring TV artifice; it feels genuine and believable.
  16.  Micro’s son is a little irritating but his daughter is great and his wife is… more important to the plot than you might think. And also great.
  17. There doesn’t seem to be as much of a “third quarter sag” as some of the other Marvel Netflix series; it’s well paced, and manages to surprise without resorting to goofy twists. It does get off to a faltering start, though.
  18. There’s a very bizarre, and brilliantly handled, love triangle involving a dead guy, sort of.
  19. There are loads of dog metaphors and mentions.
  20. There are definitely some elements that pave the way for a season two.

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