Author Topic: Marvel's Punisher  (Read 2493 times)

Offline The Laughing Fish

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Re: Marvel's Punisher
« Reply #30 on: Sat, 21 Oct 2017, 12:26 »
A new trailer is out, and the show will debut next month on the very same day Justice League hits theatres.

Jonathan Nolan: He [Batman] has this one rule, as the Joker says in The Dark Knight. But he does wind up breaking it. Does he break it in the third film?

Christopher Nolan: He breaks it in...

Jonathan Nolan: ...the first two.

Source: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=uwV8rddtKRgC&pg=PR8&dq=But+he+does+wind+up+breaking+it.&hl=en&sa=X&ei

Offline Silver Nemesis

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Re: Marvel's Punisher
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 20 Nov 2017, 22:16 »
The Las Vegas shooting last month stole some of the wind from this seriesí sails in the run-up to its release. The hype all but died overnight and the premiere was delayed. Now that itís out, and has met with a decidedly mixed response from critics, I canít help but wonder if the tragedy of Octoberís shooting cast a shadow over the publicís perception of the series. Regardless, I concluded my own viewing of the first season this afternoon. Iíve got quite a lot to say about it, so here are my thoughts. SPOILERS ahead.

Most Marvel Netflix shows have issues with pacing, and The Punisher is no exception. But where most of these shows start off strong and run out of steam towards the end, The Punisher starts off slow and picks up speed as it progresses. The pacing problems in the first few episodes mostly arise from the large number of supporting characters. Some of these are more interesting than others. Fortunately the characters I was least interested in tended to be the ones that got killed early on. As the plot advances and the cast is thinned, the focus gradually narrows until only the most engaging protagonists remain. When this happens, the pacing improves and the intensity escalates.

However thereís still a problem of repetition Ė there are too many scenes where the Punisher is caught in the sights of an opponent and should, by rights, be shot. But in every instance he somehow manages to escape from these seemingly inescapable standoffs. By the end of the season, Iíd grown tired of seeing these scenarios play out again and again. When the hero evades death with such frequent ease, you run the risk of having the audience perceive them as invincible. The writers of The Punisher compensate for this by showing Frankís vulnerability in other ways. Namely in how often he gets injured. If you thought Matt Murdock took a beating in Daredevil, just wait until you see what Frank goes through in this show. Heís definitely cut from the same cloth as John McClane, and his susceptibility to injury adds some much needed tension to action scenes that might otherwise seem one-sided.

The acting is superb. Bernthal made a strong debut in Daredevil season 2, and here he cements his ownership of the title role and manages to build upon the foundations he laid in 2016. Frank is more layered here, and yet his uncompromising single-mindedness remains brutally intact. Ebon Moss-Bachrach is perfect as Micro and I loved the Otacon/Snake relationship between him and Frank. Going off Daredevil season 2, it was hard to imagine the Punisher working alongside an ally. He was too much of a paranoid lone wolf. But the way his solo series introduces their alliance feels entirely credible. Frank initially treats David with the same hostility and violence he shows everyone else. It takes time for trust and friendship to ferment between them, and when it arrives it feels earned. I only hope Micro returns in season 2.

Iíve also got to single out the performance of Daniel Webber as the damaged young veteran Lewis Wilson (named after the Batman actor, perhaps?). This character bore more than a slight resemblance to the original literary incarnation of John Rambo from David Morrellís novel First Blood (1972), and I felt anxious every time he was on screen. Lewis commits some truly horrific acts, but the series never presents him as a one-dimensional monster. His descent into madness and paranoia is portrayed in a chillingly believable way. One moment I felt sorry for him, the next I was itching for the Punisher to blow his brains out. Thereís a particularly poignant moment where he attempts to release a pair of caged birds into the wild, only to find they wonít venture outside. This was a neat metaphor for Lewisí own psychological captivity; the birds were so conditioned to remain in their cage as pets that they could no longer function in the wild, just as Lewis was so conditioned to fighting in a war zone that he could no longer function in ordinary civilian life. Some of the most affecting scenes were those between him and his father, and if I have one criticism of this subplot itís that I wish we could have seen his dadís reaction to the news of his son's death.

The Punisher season 1 continues the Marvel Netflix trend for strong villains. Clancy Brown reprises his role from Daredevil as Colonel Ray Schoonover, and Paul Schulze is suitably loathsome as the Punisher MAX character William Rawlins. Then thereís Ben Barnes as Billy Russo. Comic fans will recognise this character as the infamous Jigsaw. Here his origins have been revised to give him a more personal connection to Frank. Barnes plays the role with a cool, understated menace thatís the complete opposite of Dominic Westís OTT approach in Punisher: War Zone (2008). I never knew Prince Caspian could be so sinister. The final showdown between Russo and Castle on the carousel was a nice throwback to Daredevil season 2, as well as the finale of Alfred Hitchcockís Strangers on a Train (1951). The instant I saw those glass mirrors, I knew exactly how the scene was going to end. And I wasnít disappointed. The only slight disappointment I did have is that we never got to see his scarred Jigsaw face, but I suppose that gives us something to look forward to in the next season.

I was less impressed with the DHS agent Madani. Too often her scenes felt like filler. And early in the season she repeated Misty Knightís unprofessionalism in Luke Cage season 1 by sleeping with a man involved in one of her investigations. To be honest, I couldíve done without the sex scenes altogether. But ever since Jessica Jones season 1 they seem to be a staple of Marvelís Netflix output. A rather blunt way of showing the audience how grownup these shows are. They usually add nothing to the plot and end up distracting the viewer by making them wonder why every woman in the MCU keeps their nipples covered during intercourse. The violence is also excessive in places and will be off-putting for some of the more squeamish viewers. But the gore does at least feel true to the ultraviolent sensibilities of the Punisher MAX comics, however trashy those sensibilities may be.

All of the other Marvel Netflix series have a dominant colour that characterises the look of each show. In the case of The Punisher, that colour is black. The showís moral and political themes, however, are distinctly grey. The topic of gun control comes up several times throughout the season, but the writers avoid taking a clear stance on the issue. Usually whenever this sensitive subject is tackled in a television drama, itís done so with a clear agenda in mind; the writers are either in favour of private gun ownership or (more likely) theyíre in favour of tighter gun control laws. But thatís not the case here. The writers of The Punisher present both sides of the argument but leave the viewer to draw their own conclusions. This is not a morally didactic programme. Itís about provoking discussion, not giving easy answers. I admire the writers and producers for taking that approach.

Iíve always suspected the topical themes of consent and female empowerment helped elevate Jessica Jonesí standing amongst professional critics. In the same way, I fear The Punisherís themes of vigilantism and gun ownership might have the opposite effect. A lot of people view superhero stories as simple black and white morality tales, and itís true that many of the more popular characters lend themselves well to such narratives. But the Punisher has always been an exception. And anyone hoping for a simple guns-are-bad agenda will have to look elsewhere. At the same time, this is not necessarily a pro-gun drama. The horrific consequences of violence are shown in graphic detail, and the psychological trauma suffered by the victims is also depicted. Once again, this is not a morally black and white show. It lacks the Aquinian philosophy of Daredevil and offers a comparatively vague delineation between right and wrong. I expect many of the more politicised reviews will find that aspect of the series difficult to process.

But for me, itís the second best Marvel Netflix entry after Daredevil. Just be warned - it's very, very, very gory.
« Last Edit: Tue, 21 Nov 2017, 00:21 by Silver Nemesis »

Offline phantom stranger

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Re: Marvel's Punisher
« Reply #32 on: Sat, 25 Nov 2017, 05:09 »
I just finished the first season and was incredibly disappointed by it. First of all, the storyline is essentially a continuation of his origin, which I thought was already covered in Daredevil. It made for an interesting subplot in Daredevil, but with this show it's the only plot, and not a particularly interesting one at that. 

Second, like Iron Fist, it takes the Marvel/Netflix decompressed storytelling approach to the extreme. Characters have the same conversation again and again. Did you get the symbolism in that scene? If not, don't worry--you'll see it again in the next episode.

I think this would have been a good opportunity for Marvel to try a new approach. Instead of having what was essentially a 13-hour movie, they could have had 13 individual unconnected episodes. Just Frank Castle doing what he does best, with a narrative structure connecting the episodes. Mindhunter is an an excellent example of this approach. And it also has better writing.
« Last Edit: Sat, 25 Nov 2017, 05:11 by phantom stranger »

Offline Silver Nemesis

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Re: Marvel's Punisher
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 9 Jan 2018, 12:59 »

Offline thecolorsblend

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Re: Marvel's Punisher
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 9 Jan 2018, 21:19 »
Watched a few episodes but gave up. A lot like Luke Cage, this show just didn't really grab me. Maybe it's the pacing. Maybe it's the subject matter, eg, Castle's war back story. Don't know but it's just not what I want right now.


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