Sunday, February 11, 2018

On The Air: The Punisher (2017)

The one element that separates Marvel-Netflix's family of series from CW's DC Universe line of adventure series is realism. Oh, sure, Black Lightning is grounded in realism, a break from the norm for the CW, and rightfully so. Meanwhile, Marvel has finally found a forum fitting for The Punisher.

Three feature films in 15 years didn't exactly inspire mainstream interest in ex-Marine-turned-vigilante Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal, reprising his role from Daredevil). Here, understandably, Castle's story has been updated to modern times, his Marine hitch served in Afghanistan instead of Vietnam, but otherwise the tragedy is the same. Castle's wife & kids were murdered, setting Castle on a familiar career path.

The biggest change comes in Castle's long-time right-hand man, Microchip, now known simply as Micro, and rebooted from a balding, middle aged weapons expert to an ace hacker who, like Castle, has a wife & kids. As the story unfolds, we'll find that this season's big bad is a foe familiar to long-time fans, but whose origin story is being told over the course of the season. Hint: he was in the last "Punisher" movie 10 years ago.

Frank's case, of course, gets the attention of reporter Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll, Daredevil), who seems to have a semblance of an attraction to Castle.

If anything at all, Punisher snaps the string of Marvel-Netflix failures, as Iron Fist & The Defenders were not well received by critics. Proof of this is the fact that Punisher has already been renewed for a 2nd season, likely no later than 2020-21.

Here's a trailer.

While the writers of DC's shows, save for Black Lightning, have suddenly forgotten how to develop sensible overarching plots, The Punisher reminds us how it can be done right.

Rating: A-.

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