there is ACTUAL FOOTAGE out there of my King T'Challa and my boy Bucky with ARMIES and of my other boy Steve with a BEARD and it hasn’t yet been seen by MY EYES, this is some kind of JOKE, some kind of SCAM, i am being ROBBED
Marvel’s The Punisher. The best Marvel Netflix offering yet.
We live in very dangerous times. There’s now a mass shooting every week with some even flying under the radar at how common they are becoming. I have seen many people decry The Punisher as the wrong show at the wrong time. Some have even said that show will never be appropriate. Well, true believers, I can say that they are all one hundred percent wrong. The Punisher is timely and more important urgent take on Marvel’s ultimate anti-hero.
Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) is a walking zombie working overtime and laying low after retiring his Punisher persona. When a mysterious hacker with the code name Mirco (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) seeks Castle out to right a wrong done to the both them. The two, however, uncover a much bigger conspiracy that will have bigger consequences than either of them could’ve imagined.
Look, first and foremost this is a character drama first, action show second. I’ve seen nothing but complaints from audiences and critics alike that it’s too slow and you know what? I would take this slow pace building characters for me to be invested in than a non-stop CG extravaganza.
That character work is what makes The Punisher so great. There’s stuff that in the early episodes are gonna test everyone’s patience but right off the bat, I knew that everything was gonna come back around and tie back into Frank. Which it does in ways that are very well written making the payoff that much better.
When this show was first announced, I was very excited that Steve Lightfoot was the showrunner. For those unfamiliar, Lightfoot was co-showrunner on the excellent (and canceled way too soon) Hannibal with series creator Bryan Fuller. Lightfoot has written some of the best episodes of television on that show and here even if he has assembled a team of capable writers of crafting the best incarnation of The Punisher yet. One of the things that always bothered me (and there are many) about the best version we had until this point which was the 2004 movie. Director and co-writer Jonathan Hensleigh, who noted, “There are a couple of years where I didn’t want to go; Microchip, the battle van, all that stuff where it got really high-tech; we’re not going there at all. I deemed that too complicated, too lacking of the spirit of the sort of urban vigilante”. This proves simply that he didn’t get as both the battle van and Micro have been outfitted to fit the “urban vigilante” feel of the character. Plus, we get the comics accurate base of operations that Microchip and Frank work out of.
In fact, Mirco has been made into a real character providing much of the heart and hope for this show. In the comics, he was just a goofy sidekick and comic relief who recently got turned into something unrecognizable as they had him make a lasting heel turn that just doesn’t work. Here he’s still an ancillary character, but with more importance. His arc of wrestling with guilt over doing the right thing versus doing the easy thing is well done as well.
Deborah Ann Woll is back as Karen Page and this is the best she’s ever been written. There’s a maturity to her character and for the first time in her now fourth season of television, she does smart things. With the character being either previously a victim or just annoying, it’s good that she now has found a way to be a fully functioning character in her own right. Also returning from previous shows are Royce Johnson as Detective Brett Mahoney and in a cameo Rob Morgan as Turk Barrett.
Ben Barnes continues his run of playing the charming slimy asshole antagonist (like he does on Westworld) with Billy Russo, a name that should be familiar for Punisher fans. Amber Rose Revah is incredible as Dinah Madani, the Homeland Security agent who has an incredible arc. She kicks off an investigation that’s vital to the show with not only her being a woman, but the character’s Iranian-American heritage comes into play. Even Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Marion Jones turns up and her character is layered as well in her brief time onscreen.
So, the thing I want to point out is the politics of this show. It does not glorify gun use and makes the gun control debate a big part of the story. This show seems frustrated that essentially money comes into play for not providing the incentive for better gun control. That political debate even continues with the American society’s treatment of vets and how they become disenfranchised partially blaming us on breeding homegrown terrorists.
As far as the violence, it’s done to not make it look cool. Sure, we want Castle to win, everyone agrees that not only is Castle a destructive man, he’s a necessary evil. The show weighs the pros and cons of vigilantism as well as abuse of power from various government agencies from the local police all the way to the CIA. In fact, Castle himself is conflicted when it comes time to complete a mission as he doesn’t want to kill soldiers who are just doing their jobs. Jon Bernthal makes Castle a worthwhile protagonist who by the end of the show has a very powerful last scene bringing his character to a worthwhile conclusion. It’s not easy, but people do see the good in Frank while recognizing the evil he’s done. Like I said in my review for Daredevil Season 2, Bernthal provides the definitive take on Frank Castle.
Tyler Bates has composed a score worthy of the work done in Luke Cage by Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge. With an acoustic country blues guitar engrained in the score as well as the show’s impressive opening credits, it’s ingrained in the score as well as the show’s DNA. As Castle plays his guitar as well as Micro’s it fits within the urban environment in New York while staying true to the character. As with Bates’ other work he uses a Marilyn Manson song in an episode that he co-composed. The Bruce Springsteen reference is a well-done character moment as well as another Wu-Tang reference that not only acts as another unifier for the Netflix side of the MCU but proves as a fan just how universally loved that group is.
Is this show perfect? No. The pacing lags at times proving the problem that all these shows desperately need to be shorter with about eight or ten episodes max. And because of that some scenes of suspense come off as wheel spinning especially when Frank gets captured, you wonder why don’t the bad guys just kill him, but hey that’s a minor complaint when a show makes great use of the tired Marvel Netflix trope of the hero fugitive wrongly framed and on the run. Even characters saying “welcome back Frank” had me giddy as a reference to the title of one of the most acclaimed storylines in Punisher history.
Despite Daredevil season one being better paced, to me, this first season of The Punisher is the best thing that has come out of the Marvel Netflix side. Part of that is due to the truly standalone nature of the show despite some returning characters. By the season’s end, things are wrapped up so well that if this was it, I would be happy with it. But seeing as they’ve managed to brilliantly set-up The Punisher’s arch-nemesis. Steve Lightfoot desperately wants to do a second season. Since the rights to streaming are up in the air now with all Disney related properties, I say Disney greenlight it ASAP.
They are going to feel the pain and suffering of every last victim. They’re gonna crawl on on their hands and knees, and they’re gonna beg me for mercy. But all I’m gonna have for them is pain. Pain and death!
Adam Arrives to London - Rob Simonsen // Fire - Barnes Courtney // It Serves Your Right to Suffer (The Avener Remix) - The Avener and John Lee Hooker // My Mind is a Stranger Without You - A.R. Rahman and Solange Merdinian // This Is How We Walk On The Moon - Jose Gonzalez // Via con me - Paolo Conte // I’m Your Man - Michael Buble // Pra Declarar Minha Saudade - Maria Rita // High, Low, In - Paris Combo // La Vie En Rose - Daniela Andrade // Dive - Ed Sheeran // C’est Si Bon - Ertha Kitt // For Me Formidable - Charles Aznavour // Hang on LIttle Tomato - Pink Martini // Mal ô mains - Sanseverino // Don’t Get Around Much Anymore - Tony Bennett and Michael Buble // Fibre de Verre - Paris Combo // Dance Me To The End Of Love - Madeleine Peyroux
Both you and Sebastian were surrounded by flashing lights, you held onto his hand letting him lead the way. “You okay?” He asked, leaning down to whisper in your ear. You nodded, you wanted to scold him for being so overprotective, but being that you were a few months along your pregnancy.
You couldn’t help but chuckle as he cleared the way of the red carpet for you, “A bit dramatic are we?” You asked as he linked his arm with yours. “Only because you’re a princess.” He said to you, causing a blush to creep up your neck.
You two made your way to the middle of the carpet, posing for the multiple cameras. Afterwards, Sebastian’s publicist led him to one of the many journalists wanting a story of him. You stood behind him patiently as he went to speak with the interviewer.
“You recently spilled that your wife was pregnant, how do you think that’ll affect you filming for the movies you plan to have out by next year?” She asked. He couldn’t help the smile that grew on his face,
“I think none the less whether I’m working or not she’s always on my mind in general.” He began, turning to you. You found yourself pulled in by him into the interview, “Well if it isn’t the infamous (Y/N), you’re looking gorgeous, rocking the baby bump.” The interviewer complimented, you gave her a smile, thanking her.
“It’s a bit more than a bump.” Sebastian added, you turned to him in false shock, “Are you calling me fat?” You asked, a hand over your chest. “Nah, I’m just calling you pregnant babe.” He said, wrapping an arm around your waist. You couldn’t help the smile that met ear to ear on your face.
“Well thank you for your time! You two have to be the most dazzling carpet right now.” She commented. You chuckled, “Yeah don’t let Robert hear that one.” Sebastian joked before pecking your cheek.
In this, the second part of the Robron Rejection Compendium, we look at the next 5 break-ups, even more honourable mentions and I start to cry about feelings, just a little bit. Go get yourself a cup of tea and settle in, because this part is way longer than it has any right to be.
(Also, to throw in a quick serious moment before i start cracking manslaughter jokes again, thank you so much for your kind comments and tags and likes etc for part one. I was kind of completely overwhelmed by the fact that people even took time to read it, because I wrote it half giggling to myself at how no one would be able to make it to the end of the thing. So, yes. I mean this with every bloody ounce of sincerity I have in my entire body - thank you so much for taking the time to read it. You all kind of made my evening.)
Anyway, on to Part Two and an honourable mention to kick things off…