The Marvel and Netflix combo hit again with their newest series The Punisher. My expectations were very high for this show, because I was an avid reader of the gratuitously violent anti-hero vigilante. There was something about the character that went beyond just the gore and killing. He was a decent human being that lost his family. He wasn’t just a murdering psychopath.
We already got a taste of Frank Castle during Daredevil season 2, so going into this I was worried that the audience wouldn’t be able to connect with him. With all the violence in today’s society it is hard to find a reason to see him as a hero, but this show was done perfectly to exude that feeling.
While some may complain that it was way too slow, I think most will agree that the paced narrative was necessary to make the audience cheer for the main character and feel for him. He’s not out for revenge. He’s out for justice. It may not be what the government deems as just, but for the people he’s taking out, it is what he feels needs to be done.
There is a suspension of disbelief seeing him get tortured, beaten, and shot beyond a level suitable for any one human to take, but isn’t that how any show like this would go? There were some references to the comics that were done tastefully. The final three episodes go from story telling to hard core (at some moments almost unwatchable combat). Yes, there was more than one moment where I had a difficult time seeing what was on screen, but it held my attention because at that point in the story the villains really needed to have that done to them.
SPOILER ALERT: The final battle with Billy Russo and Punisher was my favorite scene. I got worried at one point that they’d kill off the big bad. I knew that in the comics he becomes Jigsaw (basically the antithesis to Frank Castle with a horribly scarred face. At one point he even wore a costume similar to Punisher’s). Thankfully, Frank had reason to let him live, and with all the foreshadowing done throughout the episodes, how could he not?
Will we see The Punisher and Daredevil team up again to take down a Kingpin/Jigsaw/Bullseye combo? Who knows, but it’s something that I hope happens at some point. END SPOILERS
At the end of the day it comes down to this… The Punisher season 1 is a well told story. It is a tragic story. It is a love story. It is a story about corruption and justice. It is a story about political agendas and dealing with PTSD. Throw in some really action packed scenes to live up to the name Frank Castle bears, and you end up with something completely new for Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings. It went beyond my expectations for a good story, and appeased the comic book fan in me.
What did you think of Punisher season 1? Comment with your thoughts and predictions of where they may take the character(s) after this.
I won’t get too wrapped up in spoilers, but there will be some spoilery things in my review, so if you just want my rating, skip down to the last paragraph now. Unlike MOST of Marvel’s animation, this one looked and felt great. I’m a huge Punisher fan, and enjoy the way that he was brought into this and represented. That being said, I’d still like a solo Punisher animation that really does him justice.
Animation breakdown – The animation in this was outstanding. The Japanese style art flowed well and although the characters had certain characteristics that felt different from the traditional versions we are used to, everything worked. One flaw I did find was that in the beginning of the movie, the Punisher broke a man’s arm and hand violently… Two scenes later, that man’s arm was in a sling, only it was the OPPOSITE arm that had been broken. I don’t know if the frames got reversed or what, but this was an amateur mistake that was very noticeable. There were also a few scenes where Black Widow’s breasts looked extremely large and not fitting with her look in other scenes, but that was brief.
Voice acting – I’ll just say that I was convinced that these were real character voices. Excellent job by the cast and voice direction.
Plot – The story was original. It was refreshing and really showed the turmoil that goes through Frank Castle’s (and even Black Widow’s) minds. They are a perfect team up because their pasts are so hazy on the “right side of the law”. My big problem?… The campiness in parts. The hacker kid working for SHIELD was stupid. I didn’t buy it, and it was unnecessary and annoying. As for the Avengers showing up, that annoyed me too. It felt forced. Sure, there was a need for them at that point, but it seemed more like a SHIELD operation than an avengers gig, and yet there they were. Oh, and the kid was dangling from Hulk’s back too like a school bag. dumb. I also felt that the villains were forced as well, but on a good note at least they forced both sides and it balanced out. They also didn’t overshadow what Punisher and Black Widow were doing either. They both got to take down the main threat. Just when I was getting irritated at Natasha telling Frank not to kill anyone, he did deliver the final blow in tradition Castle style.
Music and sound – meh. I’m neither happy nor upset. It seemed like a metal techno soundtrack, but it worked.
Overall rating… This is perhaps one of the BETTER Marvel animations yet, despite its flaws. If you don’t like the two main characters though, you won’t like this movie. I’d like to see if they continue on with it from here and do more Avengers confidentials or a follow up Punisher animation. Call me satisfied, with some complaints. 6 out of 10 sCrypt coffins get awarded to this one. What are your thoughts?
I love when a good story comes to fruition in some amazing animation. While Ironman Rise of the Technovore had out of this world animation, it’s story could have been better thought out. Don’t get me wrong. The plot for the movie was a decent one. I just feel that the writers could have had better execution with it. I will keep this pretty much spoiler free, but I will mention a few minor things that are spoilerish.
It was almost as if they wanted to fit as many characters into this story as they could. The Punisher, though always a welcome addition to any marvel story in my mind, felt out of place here. He was forced into the story, and to an extent, I feel that Hawkeye and Black Widow were as well. SHIELD also felt like the underdog here. I’m not buying that in their hunt for Ironman, that Tony Stark was able to best them. Nope. Not with their own tech and savy, but hell who am I to judge? I did love seeing Frank Castle and Tony Stark team up, but still not thinking it worked well. While those characters were over used here, I think War Machine should have been used more. He is basically another Ironman, so I don’t see why he was used the way he was.
Okay, now that I got the bad out of the way, lets talk about the good. Animation, voice acting and Sound was outstanding! They were perfect. The Technovore villain was a great villain whom with I was unfamiliar. Wait, now we’re about to go negative again. Correction… he COULD have been a great villain. The moment he arrived on screen, I thought “Wow, this guy is going to do some serious damage.” Well he DID do some serious damage, but by the time it got to that point I had mostly lost interest. The story dragged, and I felt myself nodding in and out of it. I even found it hard to make notes for a review.
On a scale of 1-10 I give it a 5, and if it weren’t for the animation a few saving factors, then it would have been less than that. Maybe I’m being a little too hard on it. I don’t think it was a BAD movie. I just think that it was poorly executed. Tell me what you think.
Published: December 1991 Marvel Comics
Reviewed by Rick Pipito for plot
I chose this issue to review because these are three of my favorite Marvel characters from my youth. All three have something in common… bad movies (although I really loved the most recent 2 Punisher movies, they got less than perfect reviews). This issue is short, but shows what the characters are all about. There are spoilers, so be warned.
It begins with Dan Ketch arriving in a town called “Christ’s Cross”. He has been contacted by a mystery person to meet at a bed and breakfast. The B & B is run by a woman who has a young daughter named Lucy. He settles in and washes up and then arrives in the dining room to eat dinner with the owner and the other two guests (Frank and Logan). Yes, the three of them are eating an awfully silent dinner together and all are suspicious. This scene is very good at making the reader feel as though the tension in the room is uncomfortable.
Afterwards, Logan knocks on Frank’s room door to confront him. The phony mustache that Frank was wearing did not fool Logan’s heightened sense of smell as to who the visitor was. They realize each other are the Punisher and Wolverine. They have both been contacted by a mystery man as well. Okay, this is a little predictable from the get go, but I like how they get right into trying to figure out who it is.
Suddenly, all three are confronted by Blackheart and made an offer. Their mystery contact has been revealed and he offers them extended power to eliminate his father Mephisto. Hmmm, make a deal with a devil to take out the devil? None of them will forfeit their souls to do so. I like Blackheart’s explanation as to why he chose them. He knows their emotions won’t get in the way of doing what needs to be done.
Since they won’t cooperate, Blackheart places the entire town in a trance and kidnaps the little girl Lucy. This is a key issue for the Dan Ketch Ghost Rider. Until this point he has believed that he needs his motorcycle to transform to the spirit of vengeance. When the innocents are threatened however, he changes even though Blackheart has stolen his bike. I love the way John Romita Jr did the art for the transformation. It is only across three frames, but it is effective.
The trio of heroes pushes past a wall of thorns and demon souls to follow the demon into Hell itself. There, the dark one attempts to kill the child, but Ghost Rider takes his gloves off. With flaming fists, he beats Blackheart around and even tears off part of his face. Wolverine doesn’t do a whole lot more than cutting off the demon’s arm. The least likely of the heroes who could battle Blackheart then steps in. Punisher unloads so much ammo into his enemy that he is perforated into pieces and explodes.
A final scene of the three heroes with Lucy is portrayed atop a hill overlooking the town. Everything has returned to normal and while this is predictable as well, Ghost Rider makes a memorable statement. “It doesn’t matter if there is an edge or we occasionally cross it. As long as the innocent are protected our cause is just.” He puts the Punisher’s motives out of doubt and reassures them all that they are doing the right thing. It is nice to see the slightly human side to them when they realize that they are so violent in their ways that a demon would actually choose them as his pawns.
Overall, I give this a 7 out of 10. I enjoyed the story a lot, but would have liked more meat to it. Everything happened so fast, and I would have been a little better with more content.