Review: ‘The Punisher’ Is Marvel’s Best Netflix Show Yet

Check out our review of Marvel's The Punisher, starring Jon Bernthal, Ben Barnes, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Amber Rose Revah and Deborah Ann Woll.

Jon Bernthal The Punisher Daredevil

After a few bad films, Frank Castle and The Punisher came back with a vengeance for the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix. Jon Bernthal was cast as the Skull wearing, gun-toting anti-hero back in 2015 and he was so much of a stand out on Daredevil that Netflix decided to give The Punisher his own 13-part series. We’ve seen the first few episodes of the series and can tell you right now that it’s Marvel and Netflix’s best effort to date.

The second season of Marvel’s Daredevil was pretty dark due to its inclusion of The Punisher and his spin-off isn’t any different. The grit, grime and killing has intensified to peak Punisher levels. This is obviously the darkest Marvel show that Netflix has done so far and this was the best possible route that the people behind the series could have gone with. The Punisher takes some real world elements like the shows before it, but also handles things like PTSD in the military brilliantly.

Like every Marvel/Netflix series before it, The Punisher has assembled a tremendous cast of talented actors. Jon Bernthal picks up where he left off in Marvel’s Daredevil and expertly brings all of the rage and sadness of Frank Castle back while being at the forefront of his own series. Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s Micro is a tech wiz who enlists Castle’s help to get back to his family all the while developing a love/hate relationship with the Punisher. The standout of the series is Amber Rose Revah, who plays Agent Madani. She’s on the hunt for The Punisher and completely dominates the screen every scene she’s in.

It’s almost impossible not to compare the villains of each of the Marvel/Netflix shows, with the likes of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin, David Tennant’s Kilgrave and the ingeniously-calculated villains of The Punisher. What Ben Barnes and Paul Schulze bring to the series are two intense and calculated characters who are also complicated in a way that’s different from the villains that came before them. That is the main thing that sets The Punisher apart from Marvel’s previous Netflix shows. The two characters have a very complex relationship and they both have a tricky past with Frank Castle. Without going into specifics, I’ll say that The Punisher has the best written villains of any Marvel show.

Deborah Ann Woll’s Karen Page returns as Frank Castle’s confidant in this series. While she doesn’t have much screentime, Woll brings the same emotion she did in the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil. The scenes she shares with Frank are reminiscent of the ones between her and Matt and I am totally looking forward to seeing her return in Daredevil season 3.

As a fan of The Punisher, I feel like the series delivers on every level. The Punisher is not a superhero and I feel like the producers totally understand that and that’s what makes the series so incredible. The show is about a man who lost his family and is struggling to cope with that and to also do right by them by killing the people responsible for their deaths. The way the show portrays the people who come home from the Military and have PTSD felt real. The show touches on a lot of other dark topics that we deal with in the real world every day, making things really intense.

If I only had one word to describe The Punisher it would be masterful. Not just the character of Frank Castle, but the show itself with all of its characters and the story. There are a lot of gory action pieces because let’s face it, when you are dealing with a broken man who kills for a living, you are in for a lot of blood. The tone of the series may seem kinda off when compared to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s definitely able to stand on its own. Then again, The Punisher definitely matches this big world that Marvel Studios has built.

The Punisher didn’t really do well on the big screen, but his Netflix series is definitely something you won’t want to miss. After only seeing the first few episodes, I am definitely hyped to see what comes next.

Score: 9/10

Nathaniel Brail

Nathaniel Brail

Running things at HH. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @NateBrail