Marvel’s The Punisher Season 2 Review: A Thrilling Improvement With Few Missteps

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
January 11th, 2019

Content Editor, Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast


Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On January 11, 2019
Last modified:January 11, 2019

Summary:

Showrunner Steve Lightfoot delivers on his promise of a solid adventure with the white skull. Bringing in new ideas to the table while paying respect to his comic book origins. And that is good enough for me


Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On January 11, 2019
Last modified:January 11, 2019

Summary:

Showrunner Steve Lightfoot delivers on his promise of a solid adventure with the white skull. Bringing in new ideas to the table while paying respect to his comic book origins. And that is good enough for me

Netflix might not be renewing Luke Cage or Daredevil anytime, but the Punisher is still alive and kicking in his upcoming second season. ComiConverse reviews his latest adventure in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe

Former Marine-turned-vigilante Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) has been living a quiet life on the road until he suddenly becomes embroiled in the attempted murder of a young girl (Giorgia Whigham). As he is drawn into the mystery surrounding her and those in pursuit of the information she holds, Castle attracts a new target on his back as new and old enemies force him to confront whether he should accept his destiny and embrace life as “The Punisher.” Steve Lightfoot (Hannibal) serves as showrunner, writer and executive producer.

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The Punisher is a hard character to correctly adapt on the big screen, with multiple adaptations just failing to understand Marvel’s most controversial and complex anti-hero, instead relying on standard Hollywood bombastic action. Netflix changed all that in Daredevil: Season 2 (2016) with Jon Bernthal’s (The Walking Dead) excellent portrayal of suffering war veteran Frank Castle - who seeks revenge on the mobsters who murdered his family.

I was surprised that Netflix was able to embrace the character’s twisted origins without watering down his dark personality. And that continued with the widely ambitious solo series The Punisher (2017) that had potential but failed to entice fans. Instead of felt like a stepping stone for future adventures with the white skull.

Story Time: What is it about?

Netflix

Since the last season, Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) has been living a quiet life on the road until he becomes embroiled in the attempted murder of a young girl (Giorgia Whigham) as he wants to discover the mystery around her and those after the information she holds. Along the way, Castle attracts new targets and old enemies which force him to accept his destiny as The Punisher. Anti-hero work can be a hard business.

Jon Bernthal (The Punisher) brings his all to proceedings as the skull wielding veteran anti-hero Frank Castle who struggles to understand the corrupted nature of modern day justice. Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) is a hard character to adapt on the small screen, but Jon Bernthal gets the characters complex backstory and manages to sell his deep hatred for criminals. And without question, this season pushes Frank to the breaking point and delivers some of the best Netflix drama in years. He is respectfully adapting Marvel’s complex anti-hero while bringing in new elements.

Does it improve on the last season?

Netflix

Yes. “Punisher: Season 2” improves on every area when compared to the limp first season, with one of the best Netflix villains in Ben Barnes (Westworld)’ deranged Billy “Jigsaw” Russo - who has a despises Frank Castle for ruining his perfect face in the prior season.

Showrunner and producer Steve Lightfoot (Hannibal) doubles down on developing Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) throughout the season, by making him feel like a real human instead of a mindless killing machine. Something I never saw coming after the first season’s lack of emotional pull. It’s a refreshing change of pace for the series.

Story continues below

The action is also directed much greater in this season, with multiple scenes feeling like an expensive Hollywood blockbuster. Netflix manages to make the show look vibrant and grounded. Not cluttered with unnecessary poorly edited battles, The Punisher: Season 2 makes sure to ultimo iconic long hallway shots.

What is worse this time around?

Netflix

There are a few bad elements to “Punisher: Season 2”, but one glaring problem lies in the first half which is painfully slow and doesn’t give audiences a good first impression - making some of the earlier episodes harder to enjoy. It’s a problem that has cluttered Marvel TV programmes for the longest time, as directors fail to entice fans with meaning filled moments instead drags on with frankly boring dialogue scenes that slow down the storytelling.

Far as pacing goes, with most Netflix and Marvel shows, the season suffers from having to pad out its story to stretch across these 13 episodes. I’d love for this to change because outside of some amazing action, The Punisher: Season 2 (2019) struggled to keep me interested throughout its runtime.

The bottom line: A Thrilling Improvement With Few Missteps

Capcom

It’s good to see The Punisher has been given a better season which respects his dark roots and tries to make Frank Castle more than a heartless psychopath with no remorse. Showrunner Steve Lightfoot (Hannibal) delivers on his promise of a solid adventure with the white skull. Bringing in new ideas to the table while paying respect to his comic book origins. And that is good enough for me

Netflix has another hit on their hand, which hopefully will not get cancelled. ComiConverse is looking forward to seeing more Frank Castle. The Punisher: Season 2 releases January 18, 2019.

Marvel’s Punisher Season 2
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Showrunner Steve Lightfoot delivers on his promise of a solid adventure with the white skull. Bringing in new ideas to the table while paying respect to his comic book origins. And that is good enough for me

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