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THE PUNISHER now a Netflix series

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Six episodes in and enjoying it. Does it have some flaws? Sure. But overall, it brings something fresh to Netflix Marvel stuff. I don't think it shows Frank in a good light at all. The only reason he is kind towards Lieberman's family is because they're a stand-in for his own family. So it's not as much about his kindness as it is about him reliving the past in some ways. 

I do like Madani's character. They haven't done much yet, but hopefully they can make something compelling out of the potential. Ben Barnes i'm a bit torn about. He looks great for the role, but sometimes his acting is a bit bland. Dunno, not a big issue though. Bernthal is awesome though. Really good fit for the character. 

One thing I'd want to criticize it about is the fight scenes. They have been good, but no scene yet have managed to reach the level of some scenes in DD S2. Frank's prison scene, DD vs Frank and Daredevil's tracking shots in S2 were really great. The one that has gotten close is when Frank went psycho in the building in Afghanistan. They need to step that up. 

One thing I'm wondering though. In DD S2 The Punisher was put on trial, but was it a closed trial? Billy should easily have been able to get the information from the trial, but maybe they didn't disclose Frank's name. Because if the trial is public knowledge then no one should be surprised that Frank isn't dead. I don't remember completely but it's weird if it is. He escaped from the prison later too. Has no one been reading Hell's Kitchen news since they got back from Afghanistan? Nice that Karen is in this too. She brings a good counterpart to Frank and connects the two series. 

What is fresh about this series is that he's not really a superhero. He's more an anti-villain than an anti-hero too, which make it a fresh take on the genre in some ways.  

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9 hours ago, Ran said:

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.

I don't think Frank is that far gone yet.  He hasn't been doing his war on crime for years.  He's still just working on his own (justified) personal revenge quest in this series.  It's reasonable to expect that he still has some humanity left in him.  The bulk of the best comics take place after he's been working for years and is barely human any more, but that's not where he's at on the show yet.  Further, his family hasn't been dead all that long, so it's reasonable that he could still develop some human connections with another family at this point in his character arc.  Ten years from now?  That's probably not the case. 

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12 hours ago, mormont said:

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

At what point does Frank wither in conviction? from the start he straight up goes everyone has to die. He doesn't have a change of heart or anything like that; he wants them all to die. When he films that reel for Madani it's only as a distraction to the plan Micro and Frank set up to take out Billy and Rawlins.

Isn't your complaint in regards to Billy knowing who Agent Orange is while Frank does not? that's because Billy only figures it out after their wet work team is dissolved; but during the flashbacks he's in the dark as much as Frank. And since then they've never talked.

All the scenes were meaningful in some way, and they all spoke to a different family member Frank lost in the tragedy that befell him in Central Park. I think that's the relevance of the ''Welcome home, Frank'' dream.

The gun heist set up the Madani/Frank plot line which is integral to the story and it also solved any issue they would have with giving Frank the weapons he needs. How do you imagine the final set piece in Micro's office working without the heist? like sure we could just assume he just went ahead and bought a shit ton of guns but he'd be easy to track in that case and this is not year 30 Punisher or w/e; he's not taking money off of crooks yet.

Jon Berenthal has stated in an interview that they set out to make Frank a dubious character. They did not intend for you to necessarily like him or root for him all the way like Daredevil. You can humanize a bad person - if we couldn't sympathize with the pain Frank has gone through then he would be a clear and cut villain rather than an anti hero or a tragedy.

The show wants you to sympathize with the pain Frank goes through and understand his motivation, but it does not want you to think ''hey what this guy is doing is 100% right''. He absolutely is a morally dubious character; he killed innocent people in Kandahar. He was engaging in torture and death as if it was nothing, and his crusade for revenge is just a never ending body count which Karen highlights in the scenes where she meets up with Frank. It just goes on and on and on- Micro points this out often, too. The only way he deals with problems is by shooting them in the face.

I think the final sequence with Rawlins is the ultimate condemnation. It is not about his family anymore.

I think Billy without the scene involving his mother would be just like Rawlins - evil for the sake of. He's got a bunch of insecurities related to his youth which lead to his obsession with the material and superficial; and it justifies how someone like him could betray a brother in arms like Frank and his whole squad, really.

There were plenty of scenes, though. It gave you all kinds of different perspectives from multiple characters in that group - from the vultures looking to politicize the tragedy of war [the fake Vietnam veteran] victims led astray [Lewis] and the people trying to move on [Curtis]. Any more and it would have dragged.

Is it? the final scene in the show with Frank sitting in Curtis's support group makes it utterly explicit - Frank needs conflict. He says it in his own words, for the first time in a LONG time he feels like he has no war to fight and that scares him. It's an obvious getaway to the beginning of his war on crime.

I mean, if you think that then the show did a sufficiently good job, no? death to the artist and all that. Even if the creators did not mean it that way, it clearly comes off that way and i'm not sure why you would rather assume it's a tonal mistake on their part rather than intentional considering the rest of the series and who it centers around.

Micro's son breaks down when he's put at a knife's edge. If you're asking why he wouldn't tell someone; a strange man who he barely knows and is obviously very dangerous held a knife to his throat. That'd be enough to keep grown men shut.

On 11/23/2017 at 8:48 PM, Leap said:

 

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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. 

 

That's really what makes him interesting, though. If you've ever read the comic book Born, which this series draws from; Frank has chosen violence over his family a long time ago.

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11 hours ago, Фейсал said:

At what point does Frank wither in conviction? from the start he straight up goes everyone has to die. He doesn't have a change of heart or anything like that; he wants them all to die. When he films that reel for Madani it's only as a distraction to the plan Micro and Frank set up to take out Billy and Rawlins.

The Punisher, as the name suggests, wants to punish bad guys first and foremost. Saving innocents is an added extra. If some innocents die, he normally considers that collateral damage, so long as he didn't kill them himself.

But in this series, Frank's main motivations are all about avenging his family on a personal level - hunting down those individually responsible - and even that takes a back seat to keeping the Liebermans safe and then saving them.

So it's not that he suddenly changes his mind and doesn't want Rawlins and the rest to die: it's that his relentless focus and drive towards that goal at the expense of all others isn't there. And his war on crime, actually punishing criminals, is something he only really does in what is effectively the pilot episode. Everything else is a story about how he's going to find those responsible for his family's death, a single mission with an endpoint. That's a very different character motivation, and it creates a very different kind of character. 

Quote

Isn't your complaint in regards to Billy knowing who Agent Orange is while Frank does not?

No. My complaint is that the only reason Frank doesn't know and can't find out who Agent Orange is, when not only Billy but even Gunnar knows, is to justify the trip to the woods, which fills up an episode. It's a contrivance. 

Quote

All the scenes were meaningful in some way, and they all spoke to a different family member Frank lost in the tragedy that befell him in Central Park. I think that's the relevance of the ''Welcome home, Frank'' dream

They spoke to them over and over again, though. In particular, there are far more Frank/Sarah scenes than there need to be. 

Quote

The gun heist set up the Madani/Frank plot line which is integral to the story

Nope. That plotline was already running. The gun heist is unnecessary. There is a development in there, yeah, but it could easily have been dropped or moved. It didn't justify that entire episode. 

Quote

and it also solved any issue they would have with giving Frank the weapons he needs. How do you imagine the final set piece in Micro's office working without the heist?

Like any of the other scenes where Frank takes out multiple well-armed men?

Seriously, even in that episode he mostly relies on small arms, hand-to-hand and some improvised explosives. The only weapon uniquely available from the heist is the machine gun, which he uses for about six seconds. 

Quote

Jon Berenthal has stated in an interview that they set out to make Frank a dubious character.

OK. That did not come across. Frank was treated as a basically good person who sometimes goes a bit too far, but every time he does, it just gets glossed over. 

I mean, apart from a shocked look or two nobody actually does anything about the fact that Frank shot Zubair. He gets a freaking amnesty. Madani initially appears hurt but quickly gets over it. Yes, Karen says some things to Frank but she then goes right along with everything he does. So does Micro. 

I'll accept that the writers wanted to make Frank a morally dubious character, but what they actually did was make him an anti-hero, at worst. And that's not the same thing at all. 

Quote

I think Billy without the scene involving his mother would be just like Rawlins - evil for the sake of.

No, that's Billy with the scene where he's abusing his mother. Without it, his motivation works better - he wants to escape poverty, and that drives him to betray people he genuinely cares for, because while he still has compassion, it's just swamped by his insecurity. After it, he's just a sadist who tortures his own mother. 

Quote

Micro's son breaks down when he's put at a knife's edge.

And five minutes later he's throwing the ol' pigskin around with the same guy and apparently happy about it. Which leads me to suggest that the point of that scene was initiating the kid's breakdown, the better for he and Frank to bond, and not to make the viewer recoil from how incredibly disturbing Frank's behaviour is. 

I could go on. We could talk about the weird Rashomon-but-not-actually episode recounting the assault at the hotel, and in general how the Senator character gets set up and then trashed and how that undermines any sort of gun control discussion the series tries to have, for example. But contrary to appearances, I'm not actually here just to trash the series and I don't think it was the worst thing ever. It has some good stuff and, like I say, I appreciate that the writers were trying some stuff and didn't produce what they could easily have done, a tone-deaf bullet extravaganza. I just think that what they tried, often failed. No shame in that. But this is not among the best Marvel Netflix series, it's among the weakest. I think some more time to work on the scripts would have helped immensely. 

Edited by mormont

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13 minutes ago, mormont said:

The Punisher, as the name suggests, wants to punish bad guys first and foremost. Saving innocents is an added extra. If some innocents die, he normally considers that collateral damage, so long as he didn't kill them himself.

Sorry, but the Punisher from the comics cares a great deal about collateral damage.  He won't start a fire fight if he thinks civilians will be hurt, and if people working with him accidentally kill a civilian, it will end very badly for them.  I mean, this is a guy whose entire life (in the comics, at least) was ruined due to collateral damage.  He is not okay with civilian casualties, and he certainly doesn't consider them simply collateral damage.  

13 minutes ago, mormont said:

But in this series, Frank's main motivations are all about avenging his family on a personal level - hunting down those individually responsible - and even that takes a back seat to keeping the Liebermans safe and then saving them.

Yeah, this is an origin story, and so it makes sense that it would directly follow Frank's attempt to avenge his family.  And he cares about the Liebermans because they're a reflection of his own dead family.  Even the hardened Punisher from some of the darker comics still found a way to give a shit about innocents, especially when they reminded him of his dead family (like in the Mother Russia MAX arc where he clearly cared about the fate of the young girl).

13 minutes ago, mormont said:

So it's not that he suddenly changes his mind and doesn't want Rawlins and the rest to die: it's that his relentless focus and drive towards that goal at the expense of all others isn't there. And his war on crime, actually punishing criminals, is something he only really does in what is effectively the pilot episode. Everything else is a story about how he's going to find those responsible for his family's death, a single mission with an endpoint. That's a very different character motivation, and it creates a very different kind of character. 

I think you fundamentally misunderstand who the Punisher is.  He's not a guy who only cares about killing criminals at the expense of all others.  He kills criminals because of the collateral damage their existence does to all others.  He's not a guy who is okay with civilian death.  That would go entirely against his character.  

And regardless, this is Punisher at the very start of his career, so expecting him to be some hardened sociopath is unrealistic.  This guy hasn't been waging a one man war on crime for decades, slowly eroding away his emotions.  He's still fresh off his family dying, which allowed him to connect to the Liebermans because they were a reflection of his own loss.  Frank Castle didn't become the man he is in the later comics (like the MAX series) overnight.  It took years...decades even. 

And I'm guessing that season two will revolve around his decision to continue his war despite the fact that he's avenged his family, and all of the moral implications that come with that decision.

Edited by briantw

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All of these shows would benefit from a reduced number of episodes. 8 - 10 max. Just way too much filler to sit through. 

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3 minutes ago, Relic said:

All of these shows would benefit from a reduced number of episodes. 8 - 10 max. Just way too much filler to sit through. 

That I agree with.  Either that or they should try to incorporate a story or two every season that is mostly independent from the main plot and just serves to feature a specific plot or bad guy.  I feel like comic book shows are ripe to do that but they rarely do.  You've got these vast catalogs of stories...why not use a few of them to tell a fun two or three episode arc at some point in the season to shake things up a bit?

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Yeah I feel like some of these shows don't need a season arc. I'd be more than happy to watch Punisher do a 'baddie of the week' structure. Daredevil would work better like that too.

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8 minutes ago, Eggegg said:

Yeah I feel like some of these shows don't need a season arc. I'd be more than happy to watch Punisher do a 'baddie of the week' structure. Daredevil would work better like that too.

I'm fine with a season arc, but for fuck's sake the entire season doesn't have to solely be about that arc.  You can do a couple of stand-alone episodes or a mini arc or two and still have a grander season plot.  It's not a comic book show, but Justified always did that very well.  It generally had a major season arc each year, but some of the episodes were basically procedural and it worked very well.

Like, if Punisher wanted to send Frank Castle to Russia for three episodes or so and do the Mother Russia story, they could.  Obviously that wouldn't work in season one, and probably not in season two either (I feel like Castle needs a certain notoriety for it to make sense for Fury to pick him), but it could conceivably work.  Then, once he's back, you circle back to the main plot of the season.

I just think it's a major missed opportunity to never really include any smaller stories in these shows, especially when they have 13 episodes and rarely enough content to truly fill them.

Daredevil season two probably came the closest to filling all the episodes, and that was primarily because it was really two stories folded into one season.  I think more shows should take that path and go a little further with it even.

Edited by briantw

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3 minutes ago, briantw said:

I'm fine with a season arc, but for fuck's sake the entire season doesn't have to solely be about that arc.  You can do a couple of stand-alone episodes or a mini arc or two and still have a grander season plot.  It's not a comic book show, but Justified always did that very well.  It generally had a major season arc each year, but some of the episodes were basically procedural and it worked very well.

Like, if Punisher wanted to send Frank Castle to Russia for three episodes or so and do the Mother Russia story, they could.  Obviously that wouldn't work in season one, and probably not in season two either (I feel like Castle needs a certain notoriety for it to make sense for Fury to pick him), but it could conceivably work.  Then, once he's back, you circle back to the main plot of the season.

I just think it's a major missed opportunity to never really include any smaller stories in these shows, especially when they have 13 episodes and rarely enough content to truly fill them.

Daredevil season two probably came the closest to filling all the episodes, and that was primarily because it was really two stories folded into one season.  I think more shows should take that path and go a little further with it even.

Daredevil S2 was also a bit of a mess because it clumsily tried to incorporate 2 stories into one season, Luke Cage did the same. So you end up with half a season of pretty good storytelling and a scraggy bit at the end. 

Honestly, I think the trend for season arcs is all well and good, it works well when binging on Netflix for instance. But at the same time I think that comic book stories lend themselves quite nicely to week by week stories, or a series of 3 episode arcs etc. I quite liked the way Agents of SHIELD did it, or attempted to do it ( I don't think that is a great show) but having an overall arc and a number of episodic arcs as well would work well.

My main gripe at Punisher is just that its too much sitting around chatting, not enough vengence. I think trying to create some deep meaningful season arc with lots of of fully rounded characters is part of that problem. 

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1 hour ago, briantw said:

Sorry, but the Punisher from the comics cares a great deal about collateral damage.  He won't start a fire fight if he thinks civilians will be hurt, and if people working with him accidentally kill a civilian, it will end very badly for them.

OK. Those are scenarios I'd list under my exception of 'killing them himself', which you can expand to 'is responsible for'.

But the main point remains, I think. This series was not about a guy who lost his family and reacted by declaring a war on crime. This series was about a guy who lost his family and is looking to find those responsible. Different character motivation, and a different character as a result.

The Punisher can vary, of course, according to who's writing him. I like and am open to different interpretations of comics characters. I really enjoyed the DD S2 version of the Punisher. But ultimately I felt that this series was straying a little too far away for my taste. Somehow, I just wasn't feeling it.

1 hour ago, briantw said:

Yeah, this is an origin story, and so it makes sense that it would directly follow Frank's attempt to avenge his family.

We already did Frank's origin story in DD S2. There was clearly a conscious decision to find a way to do it again, to continue to tie everything directly to that one event, and to avoid the 'declares war on crime' angle.

1 hour ago, briantw said:

  And he cares about the Liebermans because they're a reflection of his own dead family. 

I understand that. That's not my point at all. 

1 hour ago, briantw said:

And regardless, this is Punisher at the very start of his career, so expecting him to be some hardened sociopath is unrealistic.

Er... the Punisher is a guy who reacts to the death of his family by declaring war on all crime, sticking a skull on his chest and shooting people in the streets. Why does he react like that? Because he's already a hardened veteran who has seen and done brutal, terrible things. (He's not a sociopath, as I'd use the term, but mentally damaged for sure.) 

Frank Castle when introduced in the comics wasn't as full-on brutal as he was in MAX but that was more to do with what you could show in a comic. He was absolutely as hardline as he is later, thought. 

1 hour ago, briantw said:

And I'm guessing that season two will revolve around his decision to continue his war despite the fact that he's avenged his family, and all of the moral implications that come with that decision.

I'm guessing season two won't exist. 

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I agree, Punisher who is just going after the people who killed his family is a lot less interesting than one who is trying to punish all the bad guys in the world. I wonder if its because there is a lot of crossover with Daredevils storyline, where DD was conflicted on how to act and the moral implication of his actions.

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9 hours ago, Eggegg said:

Daredevil S2 was also a bit of a mess because it clumsily tried to incorporate 2 stories into one season, Luke Cage did the same. So you end up with half a season of pretty good storytelling and a scraggy bit at the end. 

Honestly, I think the trend for season arcs is all well and good, it works well when binging on Netflix for instance. But at the same time I think that comic book stories lend themselves quite nicely to week by week stories, or a series of 3 episode arcs etc. I quite liked the way Agents of SHIELD did it, or attempted to do it ( I don't think that is a great show) but having an overall arc and a number of episodic arcs as well would work well.

My main gripe at Punisher is just that its too much sitting around chatting, not enough vengence. I think trying to create some deep meaningful season arc with lots of of fully rounded characters is part of that problem. 

Eh...I don't think that was the issue with Daredevil season two.  I think the issue was that the first of the two stories was the far more interesting one, which meant the latter half of the season was less enjoyable.  If the second half had been a great story, no one would be complaining.  But it was just the same generic Hand stuff we've been getting in these shows for years now.  Thankfully, it seems Defenders probably wrapped that shit up.

As for Luke Cage, I think it had a similar problem but not the same.  Luke Cage didn't really try to incorporate two different stories.  Rather, it swapped bad guys midway through, and the second antagonist was just much worse than the interesting guy from the first half.  They took a bad guy who was fun and interesting and replaced him with a guy who was just generic.  

As I've said, though, I'm fine with season arcs, but I think these shows really need a couple of stand-alone episodes or stand-alone arcs to mix things up.  Justified always did this really well.  There was always a main story each season, but not every single episode had to be solely about that.  Some episodes would barely touch on the greater arc while the characters were out doing something else for a week.

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I'm through episode 8 and am still waiting for this series to pick up. Only one or two episodes have really held my attention. Most have bored me for most of their duration. I want more of the Punisher and less of everyone else. At least in episode 8 . . .

Spoiler

Sam was killed.

 

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On 11/27/2017 at 0:43 PM, mormont said:

The Punisher, as the name suggests, wants to punish bad guys first and foremost. Saving innocents is an added extra. If some innocents die, he normally considers that collateral damage, so long as he didn't kill them himself.

But in this series, Frank's main motivations are all about avenging his family on a personal level - hunting down those individually responsible - and even that takes a back seat to keeping the Liebermans safe and then saving them.

So it's not that he suddenly changes his mind and doesn't want Rawlins and the rest to die: it's that his relentless focus and drive towards that goal at the expense of all others isn't there. And his war on crime, actually punishing criminals, is something he only really does in what is effectively the pilot episode. Everything else is a story about how he's going to find those responsible for his family's death, a single mission with an endpoint. That's a very different character motivation, and it creates a very different kind of character. 

No. My complaint is that the only reason Frank doesn't know and can't find out who Agent Orange is, when not only Billy but even Gunnar knows, is to justify the trip to the woods, which fills up an episode. It's a contrivance. 

They spoke to them over and over again, though. In particular, there are far more Frank/Sarah scenes than there need to be. 

Nope. That plotline was already running. The gun heist is unnecessary. There is a development in there, yeah, but it could easily have been dropped or moved. It didn't justify that entire episode. 

Like any of the other scenes where Frank takes out multiple well-armed men?

Seriously, even in that episode he mostly relies on small arms, hand-to-hand and some improvised explosives. The only weapon uniquely available from the heist is the machine gun, which he uses for about six seconds. 

OK. That did not come across. Frank was treated as a basically good person who sometimes goes a bit too far, but every time he does, it just gets glossed over. 

I mean, apart from a shocked look or two nobody actually does anything about the fact that Frank shot Zubair. He gets a freaking amnesty. Madani initially appears hurt but quickly gets over it. Yes, Karen says some things to Frank but she then goes right along with everything he does. So does Micro. 

I'll accept that the writers wanted to make Frank a morally dubious character, but what they actually did was make him an anti-hero, at worst. And that's not the same thing at all. 

No, that's Billy with the scene where he's abusing his mother. Without it, his motivation works better - he wants to escape poverty, and that drives him to betray people he genuinely cares for, because while he still has compassion, it's just swamped by his insecurity. After it, he's just a sadist who tortures his own mother. 

And five minutes later he's throwing the ol' pigskin around with the same guy and apparently happy about it. Which leads me to suggest that the point of that scene was initiating the kid's breakdown, the better for he and Frank to bond, and not to make the viewer recoil from how incredibly disturbing Frank's behaviour is. 

I could go on. We could talk about the weird Rashomon-but-not-actually episode recounting the assault at the hotel, and in general how the Senator character gets set up and then trashed and how that undermines any sort of gun control discussion the series tries to have, for example. But contrary to appearances, I'm not actually here just to trash the series and I don't think it was the worst thing ever. It has some good stuff and, like I say, I appreciate that the writers were trying some stuff and didn't produce what they could easily have done, a tone-deaf bullet extravaganza. I just think that what they tried, often failed. No shame in that. But this is not among the best Marvel Netflix series, it's among the weakest. I think some more time to work on the scripts would have helped immensely. 

What?! when has the Punisher ever done that?!

Frank goes to great pains to ensure no one gets caught in the cross fires. I can't really think of a single interpretation of the character in the adaptations or the comics where he carelessly puts civilian lives in danger as collateral damage. Why do you think the police force usually ignore him? because he makes their lives easier and he doesn't hurt anyone who doesn't deserve it.

In the story arc The Slavers; Frank avoid attacking the places he knows have the information he needs to avoid casualties. In Garth Ennis' first run with the character, Frank chastises his copy cats for putting civilian lives at stake and opens fire on them because of that.

I think your idea of what The Punisher is just paints an outright villain rather than an ambiguous character or anti hero; which is ultimately what he is. It's what gives him depth - he's not a Joker like sociopath but he's not righteous either. The take away should never be that he's a good guy, sure, but it shouldn't be ''this guy is a menace to society'' like supervillains.

You're right in a certain way - this is really an origin story for The Punisher, in a sense. This and Daredevil part 2 - it shows us how that war on crime started. I think the point of the trippy sequences during Rawlins torture and the final scene of the entire series was to set up his quest gearing from revenge to a war on crime - and it's really an accumulation of everything the series has been doing. Frank's messed up moral compass is there, you can see it - but he doesn't yet; necessarily. and there have been story arcs in the comics that showed that. The Cell, for instance. Or Punisher Year One, they're not straying from the source material here. 

I think the lose of Maria is pretty central to his character, she's the one family member he talks about the most so I think more Sarah scenes make sense.

Could Madani have found/seen Frank some other way? sure, maybe - but this way they can set up Frank for any weaponry they will need for any set pieces later on while moving the plot. Filler does not develop the story or move the plot in any way, the gun heist did. You can dislike the way they progressed the story - but I think calling it filler is unfair.

There is the shotgun, too. I think it was good pay off, ultimately. It gave us the signature Punisher truck too. I think if I had to gripe about something is what did they do with the armory from Daredevil Season 2?

How can you say it's glossed over when what feels like literally every character in the series berates Frank over and over for the things he does? when quite obviously affects him and those around him?

Madani was pretty set on taking him down until Micro came in and pointed out that Frank loathes himself for the things he did [and is doing]. The Punisher is a violent character, but Frank's violence only makes him more miserable.

Karen does owe him of a debt of life, if you'll remember. Micros goes behind his back several times.

Frank's end goal is good/justifiable [wanting to see his family avenged, ending crime] but his methods are questionable. That's an anti hero.

I disagree. You kind of know nothing about him wanting to pull himself out of poverty and his insecurities and all that before the scene with his mother - he does obviously have a sadistic streak but before that scene his betrayal just made very little sense to me.

I'll actually concede with you on the ball scene - I thought that was very out of place but it doesn't really change what Frank did. An argument could be made for something akin to Stockholm - but I understand there is a limit to the benefit of the doubt one can give the creators.

The senator is indeed made into a whimpering, spineless fool yes. But on the flip side - the 2nd amendment toting Vietnam ''veteran'' turns out to be a lying, opportunistic coward. It's balanced in that way.

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1 hour ago, Фейсал said:

What?! when has the Punisher ever done that?!

Frank goes to great pains to ensure no one gets caught in the cross fires. I can't really think of a single interpretation of the character in the adaptations or the comics where he carelessly puts civilian lives in danger as collateral damage. Why do you think the police force usually ignore him? because he makes their lives easier and he doesn't hurt anyone who doesn't deserve it.

In the story arc The Slavers; Frank avoid attacking the places he knows have the information he needs to avoid casualties. In Garth Ennis' first run with the character, Frank chastises his copy cats for putting civilian lives at stake and opens fire on them because of that.

Yeah, the idea that Punisher is a guy who has no problem with collateral damage is just demonstrably false.  Even in the MAX comics, which contain some of his most violent, brutal stories, he goes out of his way to avoid civilian casualties and you can tell there's still a human inside of him somewhere.

In the Slavers story you mention, he takes in that woman when he doesn't have to because she claims some people killed her baby, and when she's having nightmares and screaming in her sleep he goes over and holds her hand.

The MAX comics even point out that the one thing that haunts Frank's dreams is the idea that one day he won't stop shooting when the bad guys are dead, and will just start gunning down innocents as well.  That obviously implies that he's not already doing that, which is demonstrated in the comics themselves as well.

ETA: I've been re-reading the MAX run the past week or so and just got to the Slavers arc, and there's a scene where two cops are talking about why nothing is ever done about the Punisher.  One cop says, verbatim, "He always goes out of his way not to do any damage to cops or civilians."

Edited by briantw

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2 hours ago, Фейсал said:

Frank goes to great pains to ensure no one gets caught in the cross fires. I can't really think of a single interpretation of the character in the adaptations or the comics where he carelessly puts civilian lives in danger as collateral damage.

This is not what I said: nowhere did I suggest the Punisher is 'careless' or 'puts civilian lives in danger'. You can argue with that view if you like, but you ain't arguing with me. Sorry. 

What I did say was that the Punisher's priority is punishing the guilty rather than saving the innocent. The contrast would be someone like Spider-Man, whose priority will always be the latter. Spidey would always let a guilty man walk free if it meant saving an innocent life, without a moment's hesitation. Frank, well, what he would do would be down to the writer and the situation, but would almost always find that to be a conflict.

2 hours ago, Фейсал said:

Why do you think the police force usually ignore him?

I think they don't usually ignore him. 

2 hours ago, Фейсал said:

I think your idea of what The Punisher is just paints an outright villain rather than an ambiguous character or anti hero; which is ultimately what he is. It's what gives him depth - he's not a Joker like sociopath but he's not righteous either. The take away should never be that he's a good guy, sure, but it shouldn't be ''this guy is a menace to society'' like supervillains.

There have been various interpretations. But 'anti-hero' is about the most generous. 

I personally see him as a US equivalent to Judge Dredd. You can enjoy reading stories about him but you need to recognise that he's not a role model. In real life, Frank would absolutely be an outright criminal and his crusade would result in innocent lives being lost. 

2 hours ago, Фейсал said:

You're right in a certain way - this is really an origin story for The Punisher, in a sense. This and Daredevil part 2 - it shows us how that war on crime started. I think the point of the trippy sequences during Rawlins torture and the final scene of the entire series was to set up his quest gearing from revenge to a war on crime - and it's really an accumulation of everything the series has been doing. Frank's messed up moral compass is there, you can see it - but he doesn't yet; necessarily. and there have been story arcs in the comics that showed that. The Cell, for instance. Or Punisher Year One, they're not straying from the source material here. 

If the argument is that Frank's origin story required two 13 episode series to set up before he was ready to move on to his war on crime, that's absurd. Yes, this series is a second origin story. But that was not a necessary setup step (apart from anything else, that assumes a second series will ever be made, which is not a given). It was a deliberate choice made by writers who lacked either the imagination or the inclination to do anything else. They preferred a story that made Frank's motivations personal and tied to the specifics of his past over the 'war on crime' version of the character: they made a deliberate choice not to take that road, and it makes their version of Frank different to the comics version as a result. 

2 hours ago, Фейсал said:

I think the lose of Maria is pretty central to his character, she's the one family member he talks about the most so I think more Sarah scenes make sense.

Yeah, for someone so important to Frank (and who appears on screen so much) I could not tell you a single thing about Maria. We get that one 'how we met' story and nothing else of any substance. Consequently, there are no obvious or interesting parallels with Sarah as a character. All we really get from those scenes is that Sarah is lonely. And those scenes are repetitive. By definition, that's a sign they are unnecessary. 

2 hours ago, Фейсал said:

Could Madani have found/seen Frank some other way? sure, maybe - but this way they can set up Frank for any weaponry they will need for any set pieces later on while moving the plot. Filler does not develop the story or move the plot in any way, the gun heist did.

I've explained why it does not. Your argument here appears to agree: the one thing it does could have been done another way.

Origin stories for guns are the very definition of unnecessary filler. 

2 hours ago, Фейсал said:

How can you say it's glossed over when what feels like literally every character in the series berates Frank over and over for the things he does? when quite obviously affects him and those around him?

Can you give an example of when these things happened? I can't think of a single one. 

2 hours ago, Фейсал said:

Frank's end goal is good/justifiable [wanting to see his family avenged, ending crime] but his methods are questionable.

Again, this version of Frank does not have 'ending crime' as a goal. 

2 hours ago, Фейсал said:

The senator is indeed made into a whimpering, spineless fool yes. But on the flip side - the 2nd amendment toting Vietnam ''veteran'' turns out to be a lying, opportunistic coward. It's balanced in that way.

That episode is literally structured to shit on the Senator character, who is the only person who advocates any gun control (not even banning guns). He is shown to be a coward, a liar, and a hypocrite: he is shown begging for his life and literally throwing Karen at Lewis to escape.

Lewis is sometimes called a coward by Frank or Karen but never a liar, and he is shown to be the way he is because of trauma. His portrayal is way more nuanced and detailed than the Senator, who exists only to be crapped on. In any case, the Senator's opposition is not Lewis but Karen, who articulates the pro-2nd amendment position, and every 'good' and honourable character owns a gun for self-defence (Curtis, Karen, Frank, Micro). The series is not interested in 'balance' on this issue. 

The thing the series really seems to care about is honour. Lewis is bad because he lacks it. The Senator is bad because he lacks it. Russo, Rawlins, they lack it, so they're villains. But Frank has it, and that's what makes the difference between him and them. That's the message I took the writers to be trying to put across. 

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There's a story line in some comic, I can't recall which, where the whole idea is that someone tricks Frank into thinking he killed a child and it sends him into a spiral until he figures out the truth.

That said, the most unrealistic aspect of the Punisher even in Ennis's run was that innocents being killed in his shootouts basically never happens. The Netflix show continues this trend, although it has the unique opportunity -- being live action -- to do something different. It should happen, and he really should see it as collateral damage that's the fault of the criminals and impotent law enforcement who make him (in his mind) a necessity. When he's firing off bullets, the reality is they don't necessarily stop when they hit a wall. I'm absolutely for the idea that he "goes out of his way" to avoid innocents getting caught in the cross-fire, but every time he chooses to hit at criminals in public places -- whether a street, a restaurant, a hotel, an office building, etc. -- there should be some acknowledgment that he's choosing to put people's lives at risk even if he's done his due diligence and has attempted to move when there were no obvious innocents in the area.

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15 hours ago, mormont said:

This is not what I said: nowhere did I suggest the Punisher is 'careless' or 'puts civilian lives in danger'. You can argue with that view if you like, but you ain't arguing with me. Sorry. 

What I did say was that the Punisher's priority is punishing the guilty rather than saving the innocent. The contrast would be someone like Spider-Man, whose priority will always be the latter. Spidey would always let a guilty man walk free if it meant saving an innocent life, without a moment's hesitation. Frank, well, what he would do would be down to the writer and the situation, but would almost always find that to be a conflict.

I think they don't usually ignore him. 

There have been various interpretations. But 'anti-hero' is about the most generous. 

I personally see him as a US equivalent to Judge Dredd. You can enjoy reading stories about him but you need to recognise that he's not a role model. In real life, Frank would absolutely be an outright criminal and his crusade would result in innocent lives being lost. 

If the argument is that Frank's origin story required two 13 episode series to set up before he was ready to move on to his war on crime, that's absurd. Yes, this series is a second origin story. But that was not a necessary setup step (apart from anything else, that assumes a second series will ever be made, which is not a given). It was a deliberate choice made by writers who lacked either the imagination or the inclination to do anything else. They preferred a story that made Frank's motivations personal and tied to the specifics of his past over the 'war on crime' version of the character: they made a deliberate choice not to take that road, and it makes their version of Frank different to the comics version as a result. 

Yeah, for someone so important to Frank (and who appears on screen so much) I could not tell you a single thing about Maria. We get that one 'how we met' story and nothing else of any substance. Consequently, there are no obvious or interesting parallels with Sarah as a character. All we really get from those scenes is that Sarah is lonely. And those scenes are repetitive. By definition, that's a sign they are unnecessary. 

I've explained why it does not. Your argument here appears to agree: the one thing it does could have been done another way.

Origin stories for guns are the very definition of unnecessary filler. 

Can you give an example of when these things happened? I can't think of a single one. 

Again, this version of Frank does not have 'ending crime' as a goal. 

That episode is literally structured to shit on the Senator character, who is the only person who advocates any gun control (not even banning guns). He is shown to be a coward, a liar, and a hypocrite: he is shown begging for his life and literally throwing Karen at Lewis to escape.

Lewis is sometimes called a coward by Frank or Karen but never a liar, and he is shown to be the way he is because of trauma. His portrayal is way more nuanced and detailed than the Senator, who exists only to be crapped on. In any case, the Senator's opposition is not Lewis but Karen, who articulates the pro-2nd amendment position, and every 'good' and honourable character owns a gun for self-defence (Curtis, Karen, Frank, Micro). The series is not interested in 'balance' on this issue. 

The thing the series really seems to care about is honour. Lewis is bad because he lacks it. The Senator is bad because he lacks it. Russo, Rawlins, they lack it, so they're villains. But Frank has it, and that's what makes the difference between him and them. That's the message I took the writers to be trying to put across. 

I don't recall an instance where he let an innocent die in favor of taking down a criminal. If anything he's let plenty of oppurtinities pass by because of the presence of innocent people.

 

They def. don't chase him around or care much for him at all. In the 2000 Punisher series - a big plot point of the first run was that the police don't pursue the Punisher because he makes their lives easier. In The Slavers; the NY[D has to fabricate a story about him beating up a bunch of cops to get the officers to pursue him. Right or wrong officers like him and what he does.

 

All interpretations [even the terrible ones like giving him super powers and making him an angel of death] maintain that he's an anti hero. He never takes a truly villainous role maybe outside of his first Spider-Man appearance and even then he was far more nuanced than your average villain. 

I'd also say Dredd is an anti hero. Goals one could qualify as noble with dubious means of accomplishing them - and yes the main takeaway from The Punisher should be that he's not in the correct moral standing and I certainly got that from the show.

 

What i'm proposing is that the series doesn't throw away Frank's war on crime nor does it ignore the mentality behind it, which is what's improtant. He is not engaging in it yet - but the series explores why it happens in the first place. We're dragged from person to person who Frank justifies going after in the name of revenge until you kind of start asking when he's gonna stop, and then you realize he's just never going to stop and that's how you end up a 60 year old serial killer with a kill count in the literal thousands some 30 years later. That's what the finale really is about.

 

The flashback with Billy and the carousel helps humanize her, I think. And we know she's important to Frank. As for Sarah - each scene speaks for an aspect of losing someone you love which is what draws her and Frank together in the first place. The loneliness, the responsibility, the desire for attention and physical contact, dealing with kids; and that helps keep it from being repetitive. 

 

All the scenes with Karen. The scenes with Micro, as you pointed out. Such as when he asks him why he wouldn't work with Madani, and the scene where he calls him a psychopath. Lewis berating him for his hypocrisy. A few scenes with Madani too towards the end.

I listed avenging his family and ending crime for that reason. Both goals are goals one can understand/sympathize with, wouldn't you agree? 

I'm not talking about Lewis here, but the other veteran in Curtis's support group. The old grouchy white guy who takes Lewis to a demonstration - he's you're stereotypical gun nut and it turns out he was a liar, a coward and a manipulator politicizing what war veterans go through for his own political gain. Lewis himself is a right wing psychopath going on bombing and shooting sprees. That is certainly not a good light to put the pro-gun position in; Micro who is one of the good guys has an aversion to fire arms as well. 

I think the purpose of Lewis is to make you look at Frank from a different perspective. You are correct one thing that separates someone like Lewis from frank is the difference in their cause and what you could describe as a code of honor - but Lewis is just following what Frank did. Vigilantism is rubbish because it depends on a person prejudice and bias. Lewis is acting on what he thinks is right, just like Frank is.

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6 hours ago, Фейсал said:

What i'm proposing is that the series doesn't throw away Frank's war on crime nor does it ignore the mentality behind it, which is what's improtant. He is not engaging in it yet - but the series explores why it happens in the first place.

Go back to my previous point. This was already explored, extensively, in DD S2. The idea that the Punisher series needed to explore it again holds no water. 

Rather, the writers clearly made a conscious choice to follow a story of the Punisher pursuing a personal vendetta with more of the same. The only explanation for that is that this is their conception of the character. They aren't interested in Frank waging a general war on crime. They don't find that appealing, and/or they don't think audiences will. Whichever it is, they are not setting it up: instead they made a conscious choice to turn away from it. 

They might move in that direction if there is a second series, but I'm sceptical that either there will be a second series or that it will go in that direction. 

6 hours ago, Фейсал said:

The flashback with Billy and the carousel helps humanize her, I think. And we know she's important to Frank.

I'm not sure it does, but in any case it tells me nothing about her as a person, and neither does the fact that she's important to Frank. One can argue that she's important to Frank only as an ideal, since his memories of her tell us so little about her. 

6 hours ago, Фейсал said:

As for Sarah - each scene speaks for an aspect of losing someone you love which is what draws her and Frank together in the first place. The loneliness, the responsibility, the desire for attention and physical contact, dealing with kids; and that helps keep it from being repetitive. 

No, those scenes are repetitive. Each of those aspects are covered in more than one scene and each scene touches on more than one. Worse, there's no tension in them. We know Frank isn't into Sarah: at best she could be third in his affections after Maria and Karen. The idea seemed to be to try to create tension between Frank and Micro over Sarah, which was a dumb idea which, again, seemed only there to fill time. 

6 hours ago, Фейсал said:

All the scenes with Karen. The scenes with Micro, as you pointed out. Such as when he asks him why he wouldn't work with Madani, and the scene where he calls him a psychopath. Lewis berating him for his hypocrisy. A few scenes with Madani too towards the end.

None of these feature anyone berating Frank. Apart from Lewis, they mostly feature characters expressing some concern, before going along with the same methods they just criticised: and since those same methods are actually shown to work, and Frank faces no lasting consequences for them, the natural conclusion is that the series (as I said above) is willing to raise these questions but not to properly explore them.  

6 hours ago, Фейсал said:

I listed avenging his family and ending crime for that reason. Both goals are goals one can understand/sympathize with, wouldn't you agree? 

Yes, but only one of them is a feature of this version of the Punisher. 

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