I know I am late with this review and I apologize for that. Now that we got that out-of-the-way let us begin.
I personally found The Punisher to be enjoyable but it wasn’t breathtakingly amazing (Jessica Jones still remains my favorite Netflix/Marvel series). The best parts about the show had to be Jon Bernthal’s acting as the lead character Frank Castle and its pacing. Bernthal continues to bring gravitas to the character of Frank Castle that has been failed to be realized in other live action versions of him.
Honestly, Frank Castle should have been an easy character for people to portray seriously. He’s an ex-Marine whose family was killed. In some versions his family is killed by gangsters and in others by a corrupt government entity. However, in most of the versions he is an emotionless killing machine when Frank is so much more. Luckily the writers of the show decided to give more focus on the emotional side of the character. Now Frank isn’t overly sensitive but he is hurting. Combined with the show’s writing and Bernthal’s acting you understand that Frank Castle isn’t just a gun-toting badass but a tragic hero.
The season also moves at a steady pace. Frank is quickly placed into action again after lying low for a bit but his introduction back into vigilantism doesn’t feel rushed. We are also given flashbacks that help us better understand the character of Frank Castle but it never gets to the point where it feels like they are hammering in the fact he has a tragic past.
We are also introduced to new characters who act as foils to Frank like Micro and Detective Madani. You have Micro who is a family man on the run. He mirrors and contrasts Frank. They are both willing to protect their loved ones even if the consequences are dire but whereas Frank is disillusioned by the world Micro still holds some slim amount of hope. Then there is Madani who in the beginning believes that the law is the ultimate jury even though it has personally failed her. Both of these characters help to make the audience better understand Frank as a character and his interaction with each of the characters help him to grow.
My biggest gripe with the Punisher was its subplot involving an ex-Marine with PTSD. The problem with the plot is that it didn’t connect with the main plot at all (Netflix has a habit of doing this when it comes to do its Marvel shows in my opinion). It feels like a last minute add-in. The ex-Marine barely has any relationship with Frank if not none. It ends up feeling as if the subplot should have been a separate show (The actor playing the ex-marine did an amazing job with the role however).
Otherwise I found the Punisher to be a solid show. It’s not Netflix’s best in the Marvel series but it’s far from the worst.
Verdict: Solid show with good pacing and brilliant acting. Adds an unnecessary subplot that ends up hurting the show.