The first season of Marvel’s The Punisher was hit with a mixture of reactions. During the time of its release, there was a lot going on surrounding gun control and even now there still is. Reactions condemned the series as distasteful with Frank Castle’s blatant use of firearms. If you separate yourself from the harsh reality of it all and dive deep into the emotionality of The Punisher, you’ll find a thoughtful series that touches upon several subjects such as Post-traumatic stress disorder, the toll the military takes on you and how it affects the people around you. While it started off slow, the first season ended on a high mark and ultimately hit its target, setting up Frank Castle’s future remarkably. He’s murdered or left the people responsible for his family’s murder comatose, causing the audience to ask one thing: what’s next?
I’ve officially seen the entire second season of Marvel’s The Punisher and I have to say it sets the bar for the future of gritty Marvel series. This is ultimately disappointing because the series will probably meet its maker shortly after premiering on Netflix, but for what it’s worth, it’s a damn good season. When we first see Castle, he’s a man with a new life. The series opener gives you hope that the vigilante can get a honest-to-God fresh start in life. That all gets cut short after he’s introduced to Georgia Wingham’s character and she ultimately lands him knee-deep into some shit. Season two starts out much faster than its predecessor and the all the action pieces are visceral and easily rival those of Marvel’s Daredevil. It’s a culmination of the series and the second season ties up any loose ends you may have had with the first season finale.
We get introduced to a lot of new characters, and this season’s 13 episodes are long enough to set up some great character development for almost every member of the main cast. Jon Bernthal enters the psychosis of Frank Castle as if he never left the character. Castle is different in this one. It’s like a weight has been lifted and Bernthal plays the part masterfully. He’s out of dodge, out of trouble, but if you know Frank Castle, he can’t stay that way for long. By season’s end, you see Bernthal and Castle with a sense of knowing who they are and what they’re meant to be doing and it’s something that will drive comic book fans wild. Amber Rose Revah returns as Agent Dinah Madani and she seeks Castle’s help with a problem that brings the plot back to New York City. Madani going to Castle leads her on a journey of what’s right and what’s wrong, but the lines are quickly blurred.
Blurry lines don’t help Madani as Castle is accompanied by Georgia Wingham’s Amy. She’s a young girl with a story to tell that she tends to keep to herself. Her sass and secrecy leads her and Frank on a journey that ultimately becomes the fight of her life. The many moments she shares with Bernthal are great as they show a much lighter and caring side of Frank because all he wants to do is protect this kid. Jason R. Moore returns as Castle and Billy Russo’s military brother Curtis, and this time he’s at the forefront of the fight with Frank. You get to see a different side of Curtis, showing both the viewer and Frank that he’s absolutely nothing like Castle or Russo.
Floriana Lima enters the cast and what she brings pushes the series forward as well as moves a few pieces on the second season’s chess board. She starts off as a regular psychiatrist for veterans (specifically, Billy Russo) and then by the end of the season her ties to Russo lead her somewhere totally different. The main antagonists for season two are Billy Russo (Ben Barnes) and the newcomer Josh Stewart as a mysterious character known as John Pilgrim. Now, I won’t go into detail on Russo’s role, but he’s back and he’s really dangerous. Barnes dives back into the villainous psyche of Russo to one caveat: The Punisher beat the holy hell out of him in the season one finale.
Barnes’ performance is rooted in that beating and it is dangerously psychotic. Stewart enters the season as Pilgirm and is sinisterly tied to Wingham’s Amy. He’s a hitman after her and Castle who will kill anyone in the way of his goal. The Pilgrim role is rooted in religion as he believes he’s on a mission from God. Stewart is a force of nature as Pilgrim and we all know Castle is a deadly storm so when these forces go at each other, death and destruction lay in their wake. The addition of the new cast members and fast paced plot adds up to what I believe is the best season of television that Marvel and Netflix have ever done.
Overall Thoughts: Visceral action pieces, an intense plot and tremendous acting makes you want a third season of The Punisher as soon as possible. Marvel and Netflix fixed almost every problem the first season faced and easily created a second season of The Punisher that rivals the entire Daredevil series. I found myself stunned at every moment and I just couldn’t put it down. What The Punisher season 2 does for the comic book genre is simply brilliant. It totally levels up the gritty superhero TV stuff. If you’re a fan of The Punisher or just comics in general, you’re going to want to watch till the very end. It’s masterful.
The Superhero Movies Of 2018, Ranked From Worst To Best
2018 has gone by too fast. It seems like yesterday when the beginning of the new year was upon us, and the advent of having so many superhero movies hitting theaters seemed like a dream come true for every fanboy and fangirl. It’s also funny to look back and remember that although we ended up with a whopping nine major theatrical superhero movies, we almost had eleven. Sadly, Fox delayed both Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants to 2019 instead.
Even with those two films delayed, 2018 was still a massive year not just at the box office, but for the continued advancement of the genre on a number of levels. Whether it was through the cultural significance of a film like Black Panther or the exciting animated adventures of Incredibles 2 and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, there was no shortage of exciting superhero stories told on the big screen this year.
Here are the 9 theatrical superhero films of 2018, ranked from worst to best. You can start the gallery by clicking “Next.”