Netflix's The Punisher "3 AM" Review (Minor Spoilers!)
After making an impressive appearance during Season 2 of Netflix's Daredevil, The Punisher is now starring in his very own self-titled series!
Most of us who are familiar with Marvel, are already aware of his background, but for the uninitiated, well it goes like this: Frank Castle (Short for Castiglione) a spec ops veteran comes home from the war, only to find out how short lived his reunion with his family has been.
Instead of waiting for some omen, as in a bat, castle fortifies himself with weaponry, combat acumen and the will to avenge by the means of revenge! In the episode's Prologue, frank is playing guitar in the company of his daughter. This quiet tender moment is abruptly interrupted with frank in full rage banging against the wall and falling into an upward crouched position. Its apparently obvious that Castle is a broken man after witnessing the loss of his wife and kids. The reveals are told in sequential flashbacks also like CW's Arrow but not as frequent.
And it shows, the minute we flash-forward to frank pursue a couple of bikers from the Dogs of Hell gang (You know, the thugs Mr. Castle fucked up during the first few episodes of Daredevil season 2?) as the guitar acoustics ramp up to a heavier tone.
But it doesn’t stop there, I liked the montage of Castle traveling within the states and Mexico whacking out high profile targets prior to retiring from his crusade of vengeance. (Cue the opening title sequence.)
"3AM" is a reintroduction to Frank Castle. This episode provides a more in-depth perspective of Frank coping with the loss of his family and his motivation to punish the guilty.
The pacing and dialogue was adequate and blends well into the series’ narrative i.e. the plight of veterans who face hardships after coming home from their tours in the Middle East. (There's a vetreran who comes off as an angry white male archetype who feels a sense of disillusionment in America, thus claiming how the Liberals are taking away their “guns and their rights”).
To keep Frank grounded, you have supporting characters like Curtis Hoyle, a PTSD counselor who comes off simular to Captain America: The Winter Soldier's Sam Wilson. Also, Donald Chavez, Frank's coworker at a construction site eager to belong to the extent of being involved in a heist gone sour. Well, to his detriment at least.
The final 10 minutes were the main highlight of "3AM" and the ending itself, is a welcomed Easter egg for all you Punisher fans out there. Frank's character may be a bit sensitive but at the same time, you’ll witness the wrath of a man who gets pushed too far as he dishes out some serious "punishment"!
Jon Bernthal gives a more organic take of the fictional character without the need for campy one-note liners, thus providing a more credible albeit, convincing performance. It’s more of a humanistic approach thanks in part to his solitary lifestyle and constant flashbacks of his wife Maria and their children. There's a nice buildup leading to the last few minutes with both CQC and gunfight scenes providing rather impressive results.
This is only the first episode in and I'm feeling confident that "Mr. P" will break the losing streak of the current Marvel themed TV shows. At least they got it right within one hour unlike the entire 90 or so minutes in the 2008 adaptation starring Thomas Jane. The Punisher gives off a vibe similar to Sons of Anarchy and I can only imagine what SOA’s founder, Kurt Sutter who is known for his brutal, yet realistic storytelling and direction could have done with this series.
Unfortunately, the series debut faces bad timing due to the current mass shootings, primarily the horrific Vegas terrorist attack. (Yes, it was an act of terror and not “Mental Illness”.) And as once a huge fan of the character, I hope this doesn’t affect the overall reception of the Netflix series because it’s more than just guns blazing, but a character study of a Man pushed too far!