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Netflix's Punisher Series Has Some Problems

I'm only four episodes into the Punisher series, but I have some strong thoughts already. It's my least well liked of the Marvel Netflix series, which is honestly surprising, because I hated Iron Fist. I don't think it's a worse show than Iron Fist, but I enjoy it less.

The Punisher has always had a unique status in the Marvel universe. He's a glorified serial killer, among all of the many vigilantes in comics, he's the only one I can think of that employs lethal force consistently, and yet is still treated as a hero. The man who got me back into comics as an adult was a big time Punisher fan, and even he agreed, he doesn't really fit as the hero of a story. In the comic universe, why haven't Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, any of the big time heroes put a stop to him? There's some kind of weird implicit acceptance that it's okay for him to kill people as long as their "bad people". My friend had always talked about how a good Punisher tv series should be about a police officers or agents tasked with hunting him down, and then you would really only see Punisher as the Bogeyman that comes out of nowhere to kill some criminals, and then escapes arrest.

Back to the new show. The problem is that this Frank Castle does his very best to be completely unlikable, and then he's rapidly introduced to an equally unlikable ally, Micro. Entirely too much of the screen time is spent on these two yelling verbal abuse at each other, and being generally annoying. Then they go kill people. We do get a nice pair of DHS agents to root for, and I genuinely like both of them, but we get too little of them.

One thing that I really like about it is the support group for vets. This feels like the only place where the show is trying to say something, and it's definitely where it keeps all of the heart.

The other thing that we get is frequent flashbacks to the last memory Castle has of his wife, in the first four episodes, it happens probably on average twice an episode, which doesn't seem like a lot, but it's really repetitive, eventually we start getting new memories of his family, that gives us some more to sympathize with what he's lost, but it's a long time coming.

Bottom line, it's a kind of boring show about assholes, that are at worst serial mass murderers, and best sanctimonious, might is right, nationalistic jerks.

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