The Punisher has had numerous adaptations over the last 28 years. And while many production companies think it’s easy to hit the target for translating a comic about a guy with a bunch of guns who kills criminals into a movie they always miss the mark. Thankfully, Marvel Studios hits the target on the first shot with this Web series.
Netflix’s The Punisher picks up right after Daredevil Season 2. Frank has avenged his family and murdered all the criminals responsible for their deaths. He’s ready to move on. Taking work at a construction site, he’s the quiet guy with a sledgehammer who many think is a little nuts. While he breaks down a wall, he’s dealing with the symbolic wall that keeps him stuck in at a dead end in his life. In the first episode Frank is a man without a purpose and mission. However, as the episode progresses and several of his co-workers recruit a kid named Donnie into a plan to rob a mobster’s poker game Frank breaks down his mental wall when he takes down the hood co-workers and starts to find a purpose again.
The first episode does a great job of establishing Frank’s character his mission and gives us a reason to care about him. The second introduces Franks’ partner Microchip, the guy in the comics who gives Frank his intel and helps him get his weapons. There’s tension between the two dead men, but they begrudgingly start working together to start The Punisher’s war on crime.
There are two subplots, one that features a Female Muslim Federal agent that has the stink of SJW Marvel and another that features a flashback of Frank’s military past that seems like it’s stolen from CW’s Arrow, but they seem to flow into the show organically and don’t impede Frank’s story. He’s front and center in this series and when he’s on the screen he dominates every frame with his presence.
After watching 1989’s movie with Dolph Lundgren, and looking at the Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson movies, I’d have to say Netflix’s the Punisher is the best adaptation of the character PERIOD. From the visuals to the action, it captures the spirit of a Punisher Comic and brings to life the grittiness of Frank Castle and the New York City he lives in. That’s a major challenge in the gentrified Disneyfied 21St Century New York where there are hipsters and Starbucks everywhere but the production company manages to take us to the darker, grittier parts of NYC in every episode. Frank’s world is full of Mom & Pop shops, rundown tenements and abandoned warehouses. And those dark gritty parts of the city play a great contrast to the gentrified areas in most of the visuals onscreen. It’s those contrasts that take the viewer back to the era of the 1970s and 1980s when The Punisher was a popular character and show you how different Frank’s world is than that of other Marvel Superheroes like Iron Man and Captain America.
What I really like about The Punisher What I like about this series is that it’s a very cerebral show and it has a lot of depth. There’s a lot of symbolism and contrast in the visuals. From Frank breaking down the wall and the story is so compelling that you get sucked in almost immediately. When you watch one episode, you just want to watch more!
After losing a step with shooting Luke Cage with a Judas bullet, stumbling over with the terrible Iron Fist and falling to the ground with the disastrous Defenders Netflix has finally found its footing again with The Punisher. The Punisher shows us what Marvel Studios can do when they maintain their standards and make efforts to stay true to the source material of their comics. Netflix’s Punisher is a top notch show and I highly recommend you check it out.
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