‘Marvel’s The Punisher’ Review Round-Up: What The Critics Are Saying

PunisherMarvel and Netflix’s The Punisher is nearly here, and some of the show’s reviews have started to appear. So, does Frank Castle’s TV show succeed where the movie adaptations of the character have disappointed or failed? Read below to find out.

Right now, the first 17 reviews for The Punisher have made their way online according to Rotten Tomatoes, which currently states that the series has a 13 positive reviews against 4 negative reviews, which translates to 76% approval rating for the show. On a ten-point scale, the show’s reviews average at 7.67 points, indicating a generally favorable response – although some of the reviews are a little more mixed than that score would initially suggest.

Some insightful critiques of the show are as follows:

David Betancourt, The Washington Post:

“Make no mistake: This is Netflix’s most violent Marvel show by a lot. There’s enough blood, execution, firepower and sex to say this is R-rated material, which is the way the character should be presented… This version of The Punisher puts all previous attempts out of their misery. It’s a definitive adaptation that doubles as Netflix’s best Marvel show to date.”

Sonia Saraiya, Variety:

“In all, The Punisher is not just satisfying but surprising — an interpretation of Netflix and Marvel’s tried-and-true partnership that offers more depth and challenges to the audience than even the gritty world of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Free from superpowers and superheroes, the Marvel universe is more forgiving — and more interesting. Of course, the slightly cartoony Marvel Cinematic Universe is still a world where people named Carson Wolf show up and act as if they are not obviously villains. But The Punisher’s place in it is a welcome morass of thorny questions and unresolvable answers. At least in this part of the television landscape, there is room for another antihero.”

Dan Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter:

The Punisher has moments of excitement, moments of bracing violence and a well-cast star at the center. It’s also tedious for long stretches, and when it comes to plot details, astoundingly forgettable. The gun stuff is just an unpleasant capper.”

Nick Venable, CinemaBlend:

“Without the super-strength of Luke Cage or Jessica Jones, or the high-tech otherworldliness of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.The Punisher is able to put its humanity front and center, which is one of its strongest elements. So while Thor: Ragnarok is currently winning over moviegoers who are calling it Marvel’s best feature yet, Netflix subscribers are just days away from getting Marvel’s best TV show, and it’s one that’ll be all but impossible to top in the future.”

Alan Sepinwall, Uproxx:

“It’s a conundrum: The Punisher is most effective when its title character is indiscriminately slaughtering his foes, but that’s also when it most consistently evokes the kinds of real-life horrors that pushed the premiere back once, and could have kept pushing it back indefinitely. There may hopefully be a time when Frank’s actions don’t instantly recall horrors from our world, but that version of his story will still need to be told much more compellingly than this.”

David Griffin, IGN:

“Marvel’s The Punisher did an excellent job reintroducing us to an iconic character, with the help of a brilliant performance from Jon Bernthal. While some of the supporting cast members are less memorable, there is still plenty of time for more character development down the road.”

Liz Shannon Miller, IndieWire:

“For a show which seemed, given the timing of its launch, to be so controversial, its most controversial element is its lack of controversy. Frank Castle does some bad things, but nothing as bad as what happens in America on a regular basis. As a narrative about veterans trying to find their place in the world, The Punisher has something to say. But it could have been so much shorter, and its placement in the Marvel universe feels tangential at best.”

Jonathan Hatfull, SciFiNow:

The Punisher is a grim show that takes itself completely seriously (not a single polar bear is punched in the face), and that does begin to take its toll when the inevitable slow patches arrive. The pacing is getting a little better on these shows, but slowly, and fewer episodes would have been a good call. That being said, the direction is consistently excellent, the fight sequences are brutal and gripping, and Bernthal not only delivers the definitive Punisher but one of the best performances we’ve seen on TV all year. This isn’t flawless but it’s damn strong stuff.”

Phil Owen, The Wrap:

“I almost want to declare the existence of this Punisher show a miracle. I don’t know, really, what I was expecting from it, because from the moment it was announced it didn’t really feel like it fit with the other Marvel shows on Netflix. And aside from a few appearances by Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) and a couple cameos by very minor characters from other shows, it really does just go its own way. And thank the Lord for that, because I like watching legitimately good TV shows. And The Punisher somehow, is legitimately good.”

Finally, our own reviewer, Nate Brail, had the following to say about the series:

“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 begins a reign of terror on November 17, 2017. The show’s cast includes Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle (The Punisher), Ben Barnes as Billy Russo (Jigsaw), Ebon Moss-Bachrach as David “Micro” Lieberman (Microchip), Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Daniel Webber as Lewis Walcott, Jason R. Moore as Curtis Hoyle, Paul Schulze as Rawlins, Jaime Ray Newman as Sarah Lieberman, and Michael Nathanson as Sam Stein.

7 Punisher Stories You Need To Read Before Marvel’s Netflix Series

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Now that the Punisher trailer has hit the general audience, it’s time for fans to read up on the character before it’s too late. Even though the Punisher has had two movies already, the upcoming Netflix series looks like it will be the definitive adaptation of the character. His morals may be too dark for some people, but at the end of the day, Frank Castle is a hero through-and-through. Whether you want to put him in jail or let him keep working, there’s no denying that he has taken down deadly criminals who put innocent lives in danger.

The Punisher has been a part of the Marvel Universe since 1974 and he has quite a few amazing stories to choose from. Sometimes he’s left alone in his own corner of the Marvel Universe, and sometimes he’s a fully integrated member of the Avengers. No matter where he is or who he is interacting with, the Punisher always means business.

Hit Next to learn more about seven essential Punisher stories you need to read before his 13-part Marvel series arrives on Netflix!

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Grant Davis

Grant Davis

A Texan freelance writer with interests in Star Wars, superhero movies, and entertainment in general.