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THE PUNISHER now a Netflix series

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I'm about 4 episodes in and concur with a lot of people, best Marvel/Netflix since DD1.  Long term i don't see where they go with him though, best case scenario he kills Danny Rand and takes his place in the Defenders.

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2 minutes ago, BigFatCoward said:

I'm about 4 episodes in and concur with a lot of people, best Marvel/Netflix since DD1.  Long term i don't see where they go with him though, best case scenario he kills Danny Rand and takes his place in the Defenders.

I think they could easily move into the mob stories that are some of the best Punisher comic arcs.  The MAX comics had quite a few great stories that could be adapted to the screen.  

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12 minutes ago, briantw said:

I think they could easily move into the mob stories that are some of the best Punisher comic arcs.  The MAX comics had quite a few great stories that could be adapted to the screen.  

Not really down with the comics, but just read up on this run, sounds interesting and different enough to keep interest high.

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3 minutes ago, BigFatCoward said:

Not really down with the comics, but just read up on this run, sounds interesting and different enough to keep interest high.

Yeah, there were quite a few cool stories in that run.  It's one of the few Punisher runs that I really liked.  Up is Down & Black is White is probably my favorite Punisher story.  It had kind of a Batman/Joker vibe where Frank's continued war against the mob ended up creating a monster that truly fucked with him.  

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So, I just finished S1 and while I liked it, I feel there just wasn't quite enough oomph to that finale. Also, too use a cliched but apt phrase, it was all tied up a bit too neatly. 

S1E10-13

 

Was it just me or weren't the rest of you expecting the final beat down of Russo to be a bit more brutal? I was expecting the nose to come off or an ear or eye at least. Billy got off too easily compared to Jigsaw in the comics.

Medani coming in at the end just to get her ass shot down immediately was also kind of a weak story point. Him holding her and waiting to get taken in was a nice moment though, but didn't feel necessary. You could tell the writers were going through the motions at this point and just trying to connect the dots as to how to get Frank "pardoned." A bit mediocre, a smidge disappointing.

Speaking of getting shot and disappointing--Frank getting tagged so often is both one of the best and most frustrating parts of S1 overall. He gets wounded in his war but never really suffers any setbacks for it. Sure, he's an alpha, heals faster, can work through the pain and blood, but other than his scars (By the way, I like how they kept the giant scar on the side of Frank's head from Russo shooting him in the stairwell.) they don't really cause any setbacks. Sure, you can say that's part of what makes him the Punisher, but he's not Cap or Logan, he's still a man. This has got to take a more permanent toll on him. You could make the argument with Batman, but a.) Frank was shot and stabbed more in S1 of Punisher than Batman has been in the entirety of Batman on TV and film, and b.) Bats has full body armor. We need to get Frank a kevlar bodysuit like, right now. Start S2 off with that kevlar suit on day one.

But those gripes are minor ones, and overall I enjoyed the series. I think the final scene was great. I'm glad Curtis came out alive and even if there never is a S2 that last speech by Frank/Pete could just as easily be a series finale bit of dialogue as a season finale.

 

Edited by PetyrPunkinhead

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I liked it. Much better than Luke Cage/Iron Fist on the whole. I'd say it had some stronger episodes earlier on, but overall it was still quite consistent. I think the show might have benefited from having 8 episodes rather than 13, but nowhere near as much as - again - LC and IF. I think they did a good job of resolving several intertwined plot lines.

Bernthal was fantastic as Castle. Human, but also an utter machine. Really sold it. 

The supporting cast was generally quite good. Though I think Billy was well cast I do think they gave him stupid lines at times, and at those times his delivery was a little too dramatic. 

I read going in that it was almost too violent - and I laughed at that. How can you make a Punisher TV show without some violence? Well, I'm not squeamish at all, but by a few episodes in I could almost see their point (if not agree with them). There were at least two moments I can think of that made me genuinely cringe (physically). So while you do need violence to do a Punisher show, okay maybe they could have had a little less violence. In any case, I don't think it was gratuitous or so unnecessary that it ruined the show.

Spoiler

A few things I would have done differently is make it so that Frank's flashbacks with his wife while Rawlins was torturing him were ended when he hit him with the adrenaline. As it was, they showed that it was a conscious choice to choose violence over his family. Personally I think having his family ripped away from him again would a) give him even more reason to go as beserk as he did on Rawlins, b ) leave that question unanswered. Although maybe it is more interesting to have a Punisher who chose violence over his family. I think it cheapened the flashbacks in the circus sequence though.

I also would have killed Billy off, but that's more a general issue with comic book refusal to kill characters than otherwise. We all know he's going to come back as a villain now, so it'd be nice if they didn't do that.

Personally, I think Punisher would continue to work well as a secondary character in other tv shows. If they make a season 2 I hope it's a show about him taking the initiative to take some villains down, ideally not even in New York. Marvel properties are almost exclusively about heroes being attacked and successfully defending themselves. Punisher is a character that lends himself to more proactive plots. That would also be better in an 8 episode format. 

 

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I think they should also be open to the idea of doing direct to Netflix movies with these characters. I'd love to watch a 1.5-2 hour Punisher movie. Now that the characters are established they shouldn't need as much time. 

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On 22/11/2017 at 9:04 AM, BigFatCoward said:

I'm about 4 episodes in and concur with a lot of people, best Marvel/Netflix since DD1.  Long term i don't see where they go with him though, best case scenario he kills Danny Rand and takes his place in the Defenders.

I'm now four episodes in and I have to admit that despite my issues with episode 1 they've thankfully brought the focus very much onto Frank. I also like how they introduced Micro and the anvil guy is proving interesting so far. Could this be a marvel netflix show where the hero, villain and sidekick are all really good? Not sure we've had that since DD s1. Even the PTSD young soldier is proving interesting and a good insight into why the likes of Castle and Anvil guy are messed up.

2-4 have also been really well paced. It's not constant action but it doesn't feel like it's stalling - it's just setting up the pieces.

So yeah if 5-13 maintain the quality of 2-4 this will be exactly what I was hoping for - a palette cleanser for the netflix shows.

Really pleased they killed

Wolf/CIA boss - he was godawful. Even if he was meant to be hackneyed police boss - I have no time for those characters

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I’ve only watched two episodes but I’m struggling to drag myself back to watch the rest. The episodes I watched weren’t bad, I just don’t feel they offered much insight into a more overarching narrative to compel me to go back for more. I probably will finish up the series, I’m just not terribly excited about it.

I am glad Karen is in this though, I love Karen.

Question: is this chronologically before or after The Defenders?

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4 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I’ve only watched two episodes but I’m struggling to drag myself back to watch the rest. The episodes I watched weren’t bad, I just don’t feel they offered much insight into a more overarching narrative to compel me to go back for more. I probably will finish up the series, I’m just not terribly excited about it.

I am glad Karen is in this though, I love Karen.

Question: is this chronologically before or after The Defenders?

I'd assume the stuff in the beginning of the first episode is before, right after Daredevil season two. Then he works his construction job while Defenders happens and the show goes on from there. 

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I just finished this, and that in itself is telling. I binged every Netflix Marvel show so far. I even finished Iron Fist by the Tuesday after release. Punisher, though, felt like a chore for most of its run.

Partly that's because the pacing is awful. Seriously, people in this thread who have praised the pacing? It's not that you have a different opinion. It's that you clearly have had some sort of massive brain trauma that has caused you not to notice that this series spends episodes 2-6 spinning its wheels, filling the time with more people talking to Mahdani about her career or Frank and Micro's family awkwardly bonding or dubious filler plots. Why would Frank not know who Agent Orange is but the dude from his unit does? Purely so we can have a detour to the country to fill an episode. Why is the gun heist so early when none of the guns get used until near the end? Why is it even necessary? It's stuck in there to fill another episode. Why does Frank take forever to decide to work with Micro? To waste time. None of these things actually drive the plot. They're there to fill space.

On the plus side, much of the acting is very good. I can't fault any of the leads. Strong stuff, even when they have thin material to work with. Which is often, because the plot is predictable and full of holes, and the dialogue is generally weak.

Now, all of this probably sounds harsh, but I'll give the series this: it has ambition. It's aiming in the right direction. It wants to more than a revenge story, it wants to be about the issues. It talks about veterans' experiences, and it tries to talk about violence. But then it hamstrings itself because it can't bring itself to really take the critical look at Frank that follows from that. It creates comparisons between Frank and other characters and then just hands Frank a pass instead of taking that somewhere. It ducks the hard moral questions it wants to raise. In the end, it decides to be just a revenge story after all.

And it has some creative direction, though some bits work better than others. Again, it's trying. It's aiming high. It's just not always hitting that mark.

So I do think this is better than Iron Fist, if only because IF had no ambition, it just went out to be a silly superhero story. But to put this series on the same level as Luke Cage or Jessica Jones is a million miles off. Those series, whatever their flaws, had a clear idea of what they wanted to do and did it. They also had, frankly, much better writing.

This is one of two Marvel Netflix series I would recommend people just skip.

Edited by mormont

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On 11/22/2017 at 0:08 PM, briantw said:

I think they could easily move into the mob stories that are some of the best Punisher comic arcs.  The MAX comics had quite a few great stories that could be adapted to the screen.  

Read my mind. Up is Down, Black is White is begging for an adaptation. They could do a lot with that story alongside parts of Man of Stone, Long Cold Dark and maybe even Baracuda. Valley Forge, Valley Forge could be a neat way to tie it all up together to the military theme of the show's first season.

They've already adapted bits of Welcome Back, Frank but I wouldn't mind seeing more of that.

18 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I’ve only watched two episodes but I’m struggling to drag myself back to watch the rest. The episodes I watched weren’t bad, I just don’t feel they offered much insight into a more overarching narrative to compel me to go back for more. I probably will finish up the series, I’m just not terribly excited about it.

I am glad Karen is in this though, I love Karen.

Question: is this chronologically before or after The Defenders?

It's really a character study more than anything else. If you love Frank's character it will stick with you a lot more than most Marvel shows - i'v noticed it hooks you in by the third episode.

8 hours ago, mormont said:

I just finished this, and that in itself is telling. I binged every Netflix Marvel show so far. I even finished Iron Fist by the Tuesday after release. Punisher, though, felt like a chore for most of its run.

Partly that's because the pacing is awful. Seriously, people in this thread who have praised the pacing? It's not that you have a different opinion. It's that you clearly have had some sort of massive brain trauma that has caused you not to notice that this series spends episodes 2-6 spinning its wheels, filling the time with more people talking to Mahdani about her career or Frank and Micro's family awkwardly bonding or dubious filler plots. Why would Frank not know who Agent Orange is but the dude from his unit does? Purely so we can have a detour to the country to fill an episode. Why is the gun heist so early when none of the guns get used until near the end? Why is it even necessary? It's stuck in there to fill another episode. Why does Frank take forever to decide to work with Micro? To waste time. None of these things actually drive the plot. They're there to fill space.

On the plus side, much of the acting is very good. I can't fault any of the leads. Strong stuff, even when they have thin material to work with. Which is often, because the plot is predictable and full of holes, and the dialogue is generally weak.

Now, all of this probably sounds harsh, but I'll give the series this: it has ambition. It's aiming in the right direction. It wants to more than a revenge story, it wants to be about the issues. It talks about veterans' experiences, and it tries to talk about violence. But then it hamstrings itself because it can't bring itself to really take the critical look at Frank that follows from that. It creates comparisons between Frank and other characters and then just hands Frank a pass instead of taking that somewhere. It ducks the hard moral questions it wants to raise. In the end, it decides to be just a revenge story after all.

And it has some creative direction, though some bits work better than others. Again, it's trying. It's aiming high. It's just not always hitting that mark.

So I do think this is better than Iron Fist, if only because IF had no ambition, it just went out to be a silly superhero story. But to put this series on the same level as Luke Cage or Jessica Jones is a million miles off. Those series, whatever their flaws, had a clear idea of what they wanted to do and did it. They also had, frankly, much better writing.

This is one of two Marvel Netflix series I would recommend people just skip.

Because Billy Russo was in on it all? Billy knew who Agent Orange was after the events with Frank punching his eye out; and they entered a mutually beneficial agreement. He was not aware of who Agent Orange was when they were part of the black ops team.

As for the family sub plot that was honestly one of the best bits in relation to Frank dealing with the grief of losing his loved ones. It made the relationship he had with Micro more interesting, as well.

Incorrect. The guns come in handy before that - when he tries to take out Rawlins for instance. 

 

I also think you're completely and utterly off the mark when it comes to Frank. The show works because it does not give him a free pass - he is not a likable person, he's not even necessarily relatable past a certain point. The violence in this show is not gratifying or cathartic - you just want Frank to stop. Several different characters are used as foils for his.

Lewis shows us the dangers of vigilantism and taking things into your own hands. Rawlins is what happens when someone goes too deep into the far end and takes joy in violence and hurting others. Curtis shows us how soldiers can move on and put down their gun - all those elements are part of Frank's character and really the show is all around drawing contrast and confronting you with rooting for what is quintessentially a bad guy.

Frank isn't just looking for revenge - he wants a war to fight because that's all he knows.

Edited by Фейсал

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I also think you're completely and utterly off the mark when it comes to Frank. The show works because it does not give him a free pass - he is not a likable person, he's not even necessarily relatable past a certain point. The violence in this show is not gratifying or cathartic - you just want Frank to stop. Several different characters are used as foils for his.

Seriously this. If you don't think that the scene with Micro's son where Frank holds a fucking knife to his throat is damning to Frank in every single way - I'm not sure what to tell you. Frank has no idea how to deal with someone other than threatening their life or ending it, and right there, with a kid desperate for help and whatnot, Frank tortures him. 

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17 minutes ago, Фейсал said:

Read my mind. Up is Down, Black is White is begging for an adaptation. They could do a lot with that story alongside parts of Man of Stone, Long Cold Dark and maybe even Baracuda. Valley Forge, Valley Forge could be a neat way to tie it all up together to the military theme of the show's first season.

Up is Down & Black is White is my favorite Punisher story.  

Kitchen Irish would work as well.

Really, I kind of wish they'd try working in a couple of story arcs like that into a single season rather than have each season deal with a single major story thread.  I feel like comic book shows would benefit well from that type of storytelling, especially these Netflix shows that always feel two or three episodes too long.  Not every show has to be one long, sustained arc telling a single story.  You can mix it up a bit and tell several.  I always thought Justified was really good at that.  Each season had an overall arc, but there were always episodes that were mostly stand-alone and told their own story.  Comic book shows could do something similar with two or three episode arcs that only advance the main story a bit but tell their own mostly self-contained tale.

It also seems obvious we're getting Jigsaw at some point, but I hope they don't dive right into that next season.

Edited by briantw

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10 minutes ago, briantw said:

Up is Down & Black is White is my favorite Punisher story.  

Kitchen Irish would work as well.

Really, I kind of wish they'd try working in a couple of story arcs like that into a single season rather than have each season deal with a single major story thread.  I feel like comic book shows would benefit well from that type of storytelling, especially these Netflix shows that always feel two or three episodes too long.  Not every show has to be one long, sustained arc telling a single story.  You can mix it up a bit and tell several.  I always thought Justified was really good at that.  Each season had an overall arc, but there were always episodes that were mostly stand-alone and told their own story.  Comic book shows could do something similar with two or three episode arcs that only advance the main story a bit but tell their own mostly self-contained tale.

It also seems obvious we're getting Jigsaw at some point, but I hope they don't dive right into that next season.

Yeah I agree. They've already introduced Tooley so they could do Kitchen Irish if the audience can buy him surviving a shotgun blast to the face; but after the first season I think they'd best draw focus on stories that look at Frank as a character rather than just really good, isolated stories with the mob and such.

They've already done parts of the In Beginning but they've yet to introduce O'Brien who I think would be an amazing addition for the second or third season of the show. They could do both Up is Down and Baracuda in a single season if they condense events ever so slightly.

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2 hours ago, Фейсал said:

It's really a character study more than anything else. If you love Frank's character it will stick with you a lot more than most Marvel shows - i'v noticed it hooks you in by the third episode.

It did not hook me in, and largely that's because it does not get Frank's character.

Or at least, it does, at times. There's a moment where Micro asks Frank why he doesn't just work with Mahdani, and the response is dead on: because Frank wants them all to die. That's the Punisher, right there. There are times when we all feel like someone needs to die, when any hero character in an action movie is faced with that choice. The trick with the Punisher is that he feels like that all the time and never views that as a choice he has to make. But I never got that sense of absolute, uncompromising simplicity consistently from the series. Instead, I felt like the writers often just wrote Frank as a standard revenge movie action hero.

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Because Billy Russo was in on it all? Billy knew who Agent Orange was after the events with Frank punching his eye out; and they entered a mutually beneficial agreement. He was not aware of who Agent Orange was when they were part of the black ops team.

I think you've misunderstood my point in some way, because I don't get how this is a response to my post at all.

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As for the family sub plot that was honestly one of the best bits in relation to Frank dealing with the grief of losing his loved ones. It made the relationship he had with Micro more interesting, as well.

It was fine, but they did way too many scenes of it, and many of those scenes were there just to pad things out.

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Incorrect. The guns come in handy before that - when he tries to take out Rawlins for instance. 

One sniper rifle shot did not require a lengthy origin sequence for the sniper rifle. Again, there's simply no denying that the gun heist scene is padding. It's filling out the early episodes.

Quote

I also think you're completely and utterly off the mark when it comes to Frank. The show works because it does not give him a free pass - he is not a likable person, he's not even necessarily relatable past a certain point. The violence in this show is not gratifying or cathartic - you just want Frank to stop. Several different characters are used as foils for his.

I'm fairly sure the writers don't agree with you about whether the violence was cathartic, or whether Frank is likable. They take pains to make him likable. The entire family sub-plot, which you just discussed, is there to humanise him. Which could work well if used as a contrast: who is Frank? Is he the nice Pete/Frank, or the relentless Punisher, who has no time for that? The show seems to play with this idea for a bit, and you could argue it does make him choose to be the Punisher over Frank, but I don't think it succeeds very well with this.

As for whether it gives Frank a free pass - you think it doesn't? Explain why. Does the show not want us to sympathise with Frank? Does the show make Frank appear a morally dubious character, in the end? Does it condemn him or his actions in some way? Explain.

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Lewis shows us the dangers of vigilantism and taking things into your own hands.

No criticism of Ben Barnes, but Lewis was a much better foil for Frank, it's true. The best episodes by far were the ones where Frank is trying to stop Lewis.

ETA - is it me, or was Barnes/Russo better before we get the reveal about his mother? Conflicted Billy was a lot more interesting than secret-psycho Billy.

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Rawlins is what happens when someone goes too deep into the far end and takes joy in violence and hurting others.

Rawlins was seemingly always like that, though. He's not interesting at all. He's a garden variety sadist-in-position-of-power villain. Boring.

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Curtis shows us how soldiers can move on and put down their gun

Curtis was also great, and I would rather have had much more of him and his group drawing contrasts with Frank: seeing those guys' lives, showing how they can pay the price, come to terms and move on and Frank cannot. That would have been a much better use of time than a lot of the stuff that is in there.

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Frank isn't just looking for revenge - he wants a war to fight because that's all he knows.

That's what the story should be. But what it actually turns out to be, is Frank is just looking for revenge.

2 hours ago, Kalbear said:

Seriously this. If you don't think that the scene with Micro's son where Frank holds a fucking knife to his throat is damning to Frank in every single way - I'm not sure what to tell you.

Oh, I think that. The writers clearly don't.

Frank suffers no consequences for that. Micro's son has no problem with it. Frank, after that scene, is still portrayed as a hero and it is never explored further. It's chucked in there and dropped: a good example of what I'm saying, that the series raises hard questions about Frank but then just drops them.

Edited by mormont

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Agree with @mormont for the most part, especially on pacing and the way the show failed to commit to Frank as a sociopath. The scene with Micro's son, and many others, kept pulling away from actually grappling with what the Punisher is. I rate the show higher than most of the other Netflix Marvel shows, none the less, because that's how flawed most of the other shows have been, IMO, more than that's how good The Punisher is.

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I’d agree that the pacing is not fantastic, but then it’s been a weakness of every single Marvel Netflix show so far. Iron fist was awful, but Luke cage had potential until it totally lost momentum, even daredevil and Jessica Jones have struggled to fill the 13 episodes they were given. 

And Frank is a little too complex and sympathetic for my liking as well . I’d prefer him to be doing a lot more punishing and less playing ball with children

Still, this show is a lot better than most of the others and is probably just below dd season one in my rankings 

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The pacing on Luke Cage was an absolute and utter disaster. The first 5 or 6 episodes with Cottonmouth as the bad guy were decent-to-good, then he died and the show screeched to an utter halt for multiple episodes whilst it tried to set up a "worse" villain in Diamondback, except that Diamondback was played by one of the most awful and hammiest actors to walk onto a set since William Shatner (and even Shatner had a certain charisma this guy did not). The show spun its wheels so fast it sank into the mud and never recovered: the final battle with Diamondback in his Power Rangers suit was far worse than anything on Iron Fist.

Jessica Jones I think kept the pacing pretty strong. It feel off towards the end but overall I thought it could have stood to have lost maybe 2 hours max, which is better than almost all of the other shows. Certainly it was a better show and a better story than The Punisher.

Quote

 

Question: is this chronologically before or after The Defenders?

 

It's actually unclear. I was thinking it might be before, since the events of The Defenders are pretty big and I'd assume Karen would have commented on them, the crazy team of superheroes she now know exists or Daredevil's supposed death (which I thought would have come up on the news or through some other reference). They shot the two series at least partly simultaneously - IIRC Deborah Ann Woll was interspersing shooting on one with the other - and the scheduling for the two shows had been a bit up in the air until the spring, when they decided to have Defenders first and then Punisher. It could have been the other way around.

So my take on it, unless I completely missed the reference otherwise, is that Punisher takes place before The Defenders. The only argument against that is that Punisher showing up whilst Karen knows Daredevil is still alive might have encouraged her to make contact with Matt, if just to keep him in the loop, and as far as is shown she doesn't.

Edited by Werthead

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