I’m not really a fan of Marvel or any comic book superheroes movies. I don’t know, maybe because movies like that always cover all the great movies in the cinema. Especially when dealing with its fanboys, I don’t know what to say. And like that, how many times have I said the statement. But, I still like Marvel or related including talking about anti-heroes such as Deadpool. However, one of the reasons why it’s difficult to review “The Punisher” is that it takes a rather long process.
Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle a.k.a. the Punisher moved from one to another. He could fulfill his revengeful desires to those who had killed his family. After burning the remnants of his identity as the Punisher, he began to live a normal life. He is now a construction worker with a different name. In this case, he experienced PTSD after returning from Afghanistan as a former marine. However, the shadow of his wife began to haunt him. He began to find traces of conspiracies including behind Ahmad Zubair’s execution and interrogation. But, he found more evidence. There was something behind the stone.
“The Punisher” isn’t a superhero or even an anti-hero with a superpower in general. If you only follow the MCU and have never watched TV series at all then this is not your food. The show presents a sadistic, brutal, blood, and adrenaline rush scene everywhere. And if you think “Daredevil” is violent, you haven’t watched “The Punisher” of course. Frank Castle live his daily life in Afghanistan as a special force before the world calls him terrorist. On the other hand, people really glorify the Punisher figure, event in reality, as a symbol of justice. As said Frank Castle: what exactly is justice or what kind of freedom does he really want to achieve?
Jon Bernthal is so phenomenal as Frank Castle as the father of soldiers who suffer psychologically. After many of his friends didn’t survive in the war zone, his family also participated as victims. He was terrifying, angry, emotional, but he shows his human side too. Even, at first, you know that the Punisher is a terrorist. You still can’t believe why people still call him such a word. Frank gets treatment and slander from his country and society. Besides Frank, “The Punisher” has a lot of supporting characters who have the same ambitions as Frank. There is Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Frank’s ally Lieberman a.k.a. Micro, Amber Rose Revah as Madani, Ben Barnes as Russo, and others.
The conflict in “The Punisher” is rather complex at first. There are so many sub-plots where all of them will return to Frank Castle as the core. Conflicts between flashback and current events are all connected to one point. The first half of the episode tells more about the chemistry between Castle and Lieberman. All more highlight the human side of Castle itself because actually, he was just an ordinary person in general. The slow-burning pace of the first half is a challenge in itself. It further strengthens character development slowly with minimalist action scenes. But, the minimalist action scene had a sadistic, brutal, and overly violence portrayal of the Punisher character. He is not just comical, but the depiction of his character is more human and more emotional.
I’m not a comic book man. But, I found a statement and comparative about the portrait of the Punisher between the comic and the series. If I’m not mistaken, I have a memory with “The Punisher” (2004). It was vague even though I remember I had watched it. However, in this series, Steve Lightfoot portrays the Punisher as an uncalm, emotional, and half-hearted character.
There was a comedy even though it wasn’t a comedy like MCU wisecrack humor in every serious scene. Comedy is put on the chemistry between Castle and Lieberman. At first, it feels awkward but they are like a bromance if you want to call it. Tyler Bates‘ score is amazing, a combination of jazz and country music including the opening and end credit.
“The Punisher” has such a complex plot, but some characters don’t fill in the right part of their respective roles. Like for example Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page which acts as an ambition for Frank. However, her character is quite pointless. Daniel Webber as Lewis, the other antagonist, unfortunately, disappointed me. Castle’s chemistry between him is too distracting, especially the placement of the conflict slightly distracts from the main plot. Although it looks interesting at first, it shows how he can become a villain, but his impression is so fast and forgettable. The conclusion has a great execution transition. All these complexes and conspiracies have finally back to being one story. It seems not to be too much of a cliffhanger although still there was the second season.
The first season of “The Punisher” has superiority and the great system as one of the Marvel anti-hero characters. Of course, this series has interesting dynamics between the protagonist and antagonist, making it unique from other Marvel series. Even though the main villain has a small portion, this series still gives an important thing. However, the chemistry between Russo and Castle is the most interesting part too. The battle between the Punisher and Jigsaw would be more interesting in the second season.
4.5 out of 5 stars.