What The Punisher Got Right
5. Jon Bernthal
When Jon Bernthal was cast as Frank Castle for Daredevil season two the reaction was universal: this dude is perfect. Bernthal’s performance was easily this best part of Daredevil’s muddled season, and he only get’s better in The Punisher. Bernthal’s ability to embody Franks aggression, his trauma, and his hipster-hating lighter side, mean that every iteration of the character will have to live up to his example.
4. The Tone
The Punisher had a tonal tightrope to walk. The character became popular in a different era of comics, so what a modern version of The Punisher would look like was a going concern. Thankfully, the show deals with what effect violence has on the people who inflict it, with many characters being former veterans trying to come to terms with life back home. It’s a strong direction for the show to go into, and it’s something that sets it apart from other Marvel properties.
3. The Villain
The decision to stagger the reveal that Billy Russo (Ben Barnes) was the seasons main villain may have been unwise, but it did give the show a narrative kick in the ass. As important as he was to the story, Agent Orange isn’t a compelling threat to Frank, but Billy, his former friend, and army buddy certainly is.
2. Karen Page
Karen Page has been a victim of the canonical love-interest in Daredevil. In each of the two seasons she is either completely separate from what is going on with Matt Murdoch, or is romantically involved with him. With Frank’s introduction in season two, The Punisher showrunner Steve Lightfoot was given an unexpectedly great character for Frank to bounce off of. Page’s inclusion in The Punisher is her best appearance to date, as she gives Frank a much-needed connection to the world.
1. Frank isn’t a Hero
With his constant murdering of folks, Frank Castle isn’t a hero in the traditional sense, or in any sense. The show knows this and smartly doesn’t paint him as the kind of hero each of the Defenders is. He’s something much darker, much more brutal, and morally ambiguous.
What The Punisher Got Wrong
4. The Pacing
This is a common complaint with Marvel’s Netflix shows and The Punisher is no different. Try as it might there isn’t 13 episodes worth of story here meaning that a few of the earlier episodes progress at a snail’s pace.
3. The Final Fight
There was no way The Punisher would kill of Billy Russo before his transformation into Jigsaw, but this also meant that anyone who new of the character’s background was just waiting to see how the show would get around Frank killing him. It wasn’t great either, although Agent Orange’s status as the man at the top, and Frank’s subsequent brutal murder of him does bring that chapter to a close, this version of Frank kills everyone. This means that Billy surviving was easy to predict, taking al lot of the tension away from the final fight.
2. The “Romance”
The Punishers only flirtation with a romantic sub-plot, barring the obvious chemistry between Frank and Karen, saw Frank become part of the lives of Micro’s family. While he provided a shoulder for Micro’s wife to cry on, and there are some touching scenes between both characters, it was undermined by the fact that Micro was watching the entire time.
1. Wasting Madani
Homeland Security Agent Dinah Madani is a really great character, played well by Amber Rose Reva, but she is side-lined from the plot far to often, lumped with a partner who may be one of Marvel’s worst supporting characters, and pushed into Billy’s arms mainly to keep her from the action for a little longer. Even worse is the fact that her main purpose in the final showdown was to get shot in the head, allowing Frank to get the upper hand on Billy. Weak stuff.