For a generation of comic book fans, The Punisher was one of the greatest Marvel superheroes, precisely because he wasn't one. With no superpowers, and more anti-hero than superhero, Vietnam vet Frank Castle was a vigilante that stood out from tights-wearing crowd.
He killed the bad guys, rather than handing them over to inept authorities. He clashed with the law as much as he aided it. He had few real connections to the world, and lived a bleak, nomadic existence. His few allies (like Micro, who appears in the new Netflix series) feared him as much as loved him.
For many comic book fans in the late 80s/early 90s, when The Punisher was at its peak, he represented a certain gritty realness, no matter how over-the-top his adventures were. And since then, fans have waited patiently for a proper adaptation. They suffered through the Dolph Lundgren fiasco in 89. The Thomas Jane outing in 2002 gave us a good Punisher, in a terrible Punisher movie (Jane's 2012 short, Dirty Laundry, remains perhaps the best on-screen Punisher to date). Ray Stevenson's Punisher in 2008's Punisher: War Zone seemed like an action movie with a Marvel logo on it.
With the release of Marvel's The Punisher on Netflix, there was a chance we'd finally see a good Punisher adaptation. Sadly, though Jon Bernthal makes the best Punisher outside Jane, there are a lot of ways in which the series dropped the ball in season one.
9. Incoherrent Storytelling
The Punisher doesn't need Emmy-worthy writing, but it would be nice if the show could stay coherent at all times.
In the tenth episode of The Punisher, Virtue of the Vicious, we see an attack on a hotel room from three different character perspectives. And being honest, three points of view in a single episode are two too many. Worse, the choice of flashing forward/backwards throughout the episode pulls viewers out of the action. The result is a jumble of scenes that make up an hour of action rather than forming a coherent episode.
The biggest shame is that this particular outing should have been one of the season's high points.
Virtue of the Vicious is not alone when it comes to incoherent storytelling, however. The previous episode, Front Toward Enemy (taken from the M18 Claymoore mine), also suffers. Here, you have a radio talkshow debate between journalist and Castle ally Karen Page and an anti-gun Senator which feels tacked on to cash in on real-life current events.
Then there's Col. Morty Bennett (Andrew Polk). Part of a conspiracy to ship heroin out of Afghanistan, the Colonel apparently has a submissive streak, and dines with a dominatrix. Yet despite his familiarity with her, she's somehow in on a plot that uses Bennett as bait - a point never touched on again.