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I thought the first season of NetFlix Daredevil started off strong, but it didn’t hold my interest. I haven’t watched the second season, in which the Punisher makes his first TV appearance, or any of the other Defenders series. I have also been fairly unimpressed with both Punisher films. So it was with high hopes and low expectations that I started watching The Punisher series on NetFlix. Those expectations were far exceeded.
Playing Frank Castle (AKA the Punisher), Jon Bernthal is far from the average leading man. His excellent acting along with great writing bring the character to life, making him more human and believable than he was in either of the films. His side kick, David (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) is also well written and acted, and the writers avoid many of Hollywood’s bullshit nerd stereotypes.
The plot interleaves backstory from Frank’s time in the military, focusing on the events leading up to the murder of his family upon his return home. Friends and enemies from his past turn up in the present, along with new characters. One of the weakest threads is a tie in to Daredevil involving Daredevil’s one time assistant Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll). Other plot elements, particularly those involving David’s family, are very good.
The main line of the story, a cat and mouse game between Frank, his enemies, and the FBI, is satisfyingly solid, and the season comes to a satisfying conclusion. I’m assuming that it will be successful enough to warrant a seconds season, though as far as I know, no decision has been made so far. If so, here’s hoping that it will be as good as this one was.