Posted on ANDPOP:
Marvel’s The Punisher: Season 2 remains true to form making it one of the best all round series produced by the Netflix + Marvel team up. The review ahead features some mild spoilers for season one and two so read with caution.
Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle is arguably the best developed and most consistent Marvel franchise (within the Netflix umbrella). First introduced in the second season of Daredevil, Frank Castle dons the vigilante title “The Punisher” after gunning down organized crime groups. He’s driven by a need to avenge his family and targets the gangs whose street warfare literally put bullets in his wife and kids. In the first season of The Punisher Frank learns that it wasn’t the gangs who were ultimately responsible for his family’s death but actually a far more insidious cover-up that tied back to his career as a U.S. Marine. The first season saw him finally get some closure – you know after he tracked down every military official and civilian involved in his family’s murder and put a bullet in their skull. Season one put an end to Frank’s personal vendetta and the government officially made Frank Castle a ghost and gave him a new identity as Pete Castiglioni. So, what could possibly tempt Frank to return to his vigilante ways? An even more dastardly cover-up? No, that’s too similar to season one. How about introducing an acerbic teen who Frank suspects might have some demons of her own? I don’t know, teens are so annoying. What about both? Both might work! It worked for the second Deadpool right? Everyone loved Deadpool 2.
We first meet up with Frank at a roadside dive bar where he’s enjoying the live music as well as the company of a tough but alluring bartender. He’s leading a quiet drifter life and he might have just found a reason to stick around in one place for a little while. Things are looking good for “Pete”. Cue the problematic teenager – a wise cracking young woman who is obviously in trouble and in way over heard. Thankfully, Frank catches on and what would have been a swift execution of one person ends up with a bar full of people getting gunned down. Way to save the day Frank. Following the attack at the bar, Frank and the teen, Amy (Giorgia Whigham), go on the run from a mysterious stranger in a black hat, John Pilgrim (Josh Stewart). Eventually, they find their way to NYC because Billy Russo (Ben Barnes) wakes up. If you don’t know why that maters, stop reading this review and go watch The Punisher: Season 1.
Billy has completely forgotten what happened to him and is trying to piece his life back together. He’s suffering from a head injury (including multiple face lacerations that did not heal well) which means he’s quick to anger and act on sudden impulse. Angry and confused, he escapes from the hospital and starts killing people that piss him off. Ta-da! A super villain is born. In true Marvel form this season will introduce us to two villains – but what’s interesting is that The Punisher battles them almost simultaneously. It is not an easy feat keeping two divergent story lines active and engaging but the writers do an incredible job.
Agent Madani (Amber Rose Revah), Detective Mahoney (Royce Johnson) and Curtis Hoyle (Jason R. Moore) return to help deal with the “Jigsaw” problem while Amy and Frank focus on “The Mennonite” and his alt-right religious benefactors. Okay, so John Pilgrim is never referred to as The Mennonite but his story arch is eerily similar – religious assassin in a wide brim hat with a dying wife at home taking on a contract that eventually leads him to face off against The Punisher. It’s a pretty clear connection to the original source material.
The characters are well defined, their motivations are clear and the acting is top-notch. There’s a little repeat self-loathing from Frank which is a bit tiresome but necessary for anyone who is jumping into the series in season two (Why though?!). Viewers get the same gut punch, gun toting action The Punisher franchise has defined itself with; so in case you’re squeamish be forewarned, there is a lot of blood. And, most importantly everything comes to a definite conclusion.
Which makes sense considering recent reports speculating that the Netflix + Marvel production partnership is over. Last year, Netflix announced the cancellation of Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil. And, while it has not been officially cancelled, there are no plans to make a second season of The Defenders. So, ending the second season of The Punisher with all the loose ends tied in a nice little bow makes sense, although the magic of the MCU seems to be that stories and characters can be resurrected rather easily.
Overall, the second series of The Punisher is exactly what you’d expect. Vigilantism, revenge and lots of fighting. The over-arching plots are interesting enough to keep viewers engaged but, not so revered to make them have to think. There are a few laughs but mostly this one is slow burning dramatic action series. Marvel’s The Punisher packs a punch and delivers exactly what it promises. Season two is currently streaming on Netflix.
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