Punisher Series Review - Caleb Jones

Dear Hollywood:

I realize it’s hard to make movies and TV shows. Really, I do. You’ve got production problems, budgets, actors who are hard to work with, the suits trying to change everything you do, and all kinds of other obstacles. I’m well aware of these logistics and limitations.

However, that doesn’t really explain why, when you have four chances to get something right, you still fuck it up.

As I said here, my favorite superhero is the Punisher. Even my second favorite superhero (Ghost Rider) is a very distant second. I never bought superhero comics when I was a kid, but I made an exception for the Punisher. As you know, the Punisher is unique in the comic book world, and something very special. He’s just a badass with no superpowers and a shitload of psychological scars. He doesn’t have Batman’s billions to help him out, nor does he have the typical good-guy limitations of not killing people. He’s the Punisher. He’s one of a kind. He always will be.

As I said in that article linked above, you guys have had three chances, three different rebooted movies, to get this character right. Very rarely do you get that many chances to nail a beloved fictional character. With your new Netflix series, you had a fourth chance. A fourth chance. And wow, you fucked that up too.

Don’t get me wrong. Jon Bernthal is a good actor and he’s a good Punisher. He gets the Punisher’s pain and inner conflict. It bothers me you didn’t cast someone who actually looks like the Punisher (like you did with Ray Stevenson who was perfect), but I would look past that if you guys did everything else right.

Sadly, you didn’t. Again. For the fourth time.

These Marvel Netflix series, initially, looked like a good idea. The first season of Daredevil was good. Not great, but good. It was cool to see Marvel take a darker turn. Then you did Jessica Jones. That show was really great, the best Netflix Marvel show by far, which is high praise considering you had a female protagonist and I’ve usually had a problem with those in the past.

But, then came the second season of Daredevil. It was worse than the first season. Not horrible, but not as good as the first. Then, oh shit, you did Luke Cage. That show was so damn boring I wanted to kill myself. 13 episodes are way, way too many episodes for these shows. If you had dropped it down to five or six episodes, Luke Cage would have been good.

Then… well, you know what happened next. You guys released Iron Fist. Holy fuck. That show was so horrible I couldn’t get past the second episode. I even watched a little bit of the last episode, just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything. Holy hell. I wasn’t. Iron Fist was bashed by fans and critics alike. Again, 13 fucking episodes? Way, way too many. It was time to learn your lesson.

You didn’t. The Defenders came out after that, and I was excited to see all of the Netflix Marvel heroes in one show. That show should have been amazing. It wasn’t. It was boring, again. A few fun moments, but mostly boring.

Then news of the Punisher show emerged. I was excited, but as soon as I saw it was going to be 13 fucking episodes again, I knew there would be problems. I knew it would probably be boring. I know you guys would linger long on boring characters and useless plot lines.

And I was right. That’s precisely what you did.

When I watch a Punisher series, I want to see the Punisher, and I want to see his cool villains from the comics, of which he has many.

I don’t want to see long storylines about two lame Homeland Security agents. I don’t want to spend hours of my time watching some PTSD ex-Marine who isn’t even a villain in the comics make bombs and get mad at people. I didn’t want to watch a stupid and useless romance between a woman with a lisp and a pretty boy who isn’t a Punisher villain yet. I love the Punisher, but I don’t want to watch him hang out with a mom and her two kids. Nor do I want to spend hours of screen time watching some reporter argue with her boss or get captured over and over again.

WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING, HOLLYWOOD? JESUS CHRIST.

I forced myself to watch all 13 of these boring, slow, painful, torturous episodes. God, it was agonizing. By episode six, I couldn’t stand it, but I wanted to finish the series. It’s the Punisher, after all. So I started fast-forwarding all the boring parts that had little to nothing to do with the Punisher or his main villains, which was a lot. Just a few action scenes in the entire series? Making me wait until the final three episodes just for something cool to happen? (And even in those three episodes, you padded the running time with boring shit.)

Why, oh why, are you trying to do these 13-episode season runs? Haven’t you learned YET that 13 is way too many for you? Again, if you had knocked this down to about five or six episodes, this show could have been great. But no, for some insane reason, you guys keep sticking with this 13-episode format which means your shows end up being long and boring. Great job.

Let me also explain one more thing before I go. It’s something you don’t seem to understand. It’s free advice from me to you, and if you get it, you guys will make a lot of money. Here it is. Ready? Origin stories are boring and no one likes them.

This is why the second movie in a superhero series is usually much better than the first. X-Men 2. Spider-Man 2. Captain America: Winter Soldier. The Dark Knight. See? The first movie kinda sucks because it has to get through the boring origin story, then the second movie is great because it can get right to the good stuff. That’s why with Spider-Man: Homecoming, they skipped the entire origin story. Result? Just about everyone loved that movie, and you made a mountain of money.

Then why the fuck did you make me watch the Punisher origin story TWICE? Daredevil season 2 was his origin story. You introduced his badass armor and everything at the end of the story. I thought, “Cool! That means in his own series, they can get right to the good stuff and we can watch the real Punisher with his skull armor and everything!”

Imagine my shock when, in the first 5 minutes of the first episode of your new Punisher series (the best 5 minutes of the entire series, by the way), you instantly reboot the Punisher and dump his entire persona, only to make me watch an entire boring 13-episode run of his origin story AGAIN.

What. The. Fuck.

He wears his skull armor a grand total of twice in all 13 of these episodes, even though you already had a long origin story for him in Daredevil season 2.

What. The. Fuck.

So congratulations on missing the mark on the Punisher for the fourth time in a row. Great job, guys. I’m sure you’ll now come out with all kinds of marketing about how the second season of the show (hell, if there is one) will fix all the problems of the first season. Yeah. I’ve heard that before (coughstarwarscough).

Sorry, Frank. It looks like we can’t welcome you home.

Category: Fun

7 Comments on “Punisher Series Review

  1. Sad NFLX didn’t re-up a good series, like Marco Polo. Maybe to your point though, they didn’t have enough material to stretch things out. Another interesting sci-fi was Dark Matter. Only one season.. Eh, probably best I watch less entertainment anyhow.

  2. The Tech guy on that show was the worst supporting role, he was just fucking annoying the whole time.  I could only watch a few of the episodes…

    I won’t get started on the shitty sex scene at the end (it was the first Hollywood sex scene I saw that made me yell out “ugh… gross!”).

  3. Maybe the overall decline of “high-T men” in society is just reducing the demand for more exciting, high octane movies and franchises (aside from active political pressure in the opposite direction), causing Hollywood to just stop caring about satisfying that kind of viewership.

    This is also making me think of Orwell’s 1984 where all the classics of literature and other arts (eg Shakespeare’s plays) are technically still conserved and highly thought of except that they are completely rewritten in a form more fitting with the orthodoxy. Today’s western world is basically a softer version of 1984, probably only temporarily softer if you factor in the likely endgame of those running it.

    Every time I go take a look at some DC or Marvel comics from previous decades and think of their movie counterparts, I feel like what happened between the two can basically be summarized into this: “Okay, divide the testosterone content by three, and quadruple the estrogen. If you can’t really do it to the main character because it’d be too obvious, do it to everything and everyone around him, and make it look like this is a good thing. Atta boy.”

  4. I really hate super hero and fantasy stories.  When ever something exiting MIGHT happen, it’s always resolved by magic.  Someone decides it’s time to end the scene, so snap, someone does their magic and it’s all over.  Never any suspense because there’s always that last second trick coming to ruin it.

    I never heard of the punisher until watching this series.  I thought he had super powers the way he kept getting torn apart, losing gallons of blood, then after a short nap doing it all over again.  But no, it was just junior high level writing.

    Then near the end, there were two unrelated characters who did face licking sex.  I immediately thought some perv like harvey weinstein must be involved somehow.  It was so out of place and gross.

  5. Maybe the overall decline of “high-T men” in society is just reducing the demand for more exciting, high octane movies and franchises (aside from active political pressure in the opposite direction), causing Hollywood to just stop caring about satisfying that kind of viewership.

    Agree (though there are some big exceptions that make billions of dollars, like the Fast and Furious movies, although even those are mostly seen in China these days).

    The masculine, action movie culture died in the early 90’s, like I talked about in my book. True.

  6. He’s one of a kind. He always will be.

    Judge Dredd disagrees? I always saw similarities between the two.

    I’ve always been a fanboy of both, seeing as they do what I always wanted to do but knew I couldn’t. I even joke about it quite a bit, saying to my buddies: If I was a law enforcer, I’d probably be as bad as Judge Dredd or The Punisher. Those two have always reminded me that in a statist society, justice is vengeance.

    Anyways, I don’t know why Caleb (or anyone) has such high expectations for anything like this. The current narrative of Hollywood is “masculine = bad, feminine = good.” And let’s face it, just about half a century ago it was the opposite. And half a century from now, when people get fed up with female supremacy being preached to the public, it’ll flip again.

    The reason why I dislike most movies and TV is because they push a narrative at all. And now its even gotten that way with music. Although I suppose music stuff has always pushed a narrative, only more subtle.

    Anyways, my rambling aside, I wonder what Caleb thinks of The Last Jedi? I like what one of my buddies said: Every Star Wars movie made after Return of The Jedi has been nothing more than a cash grab by Lucas. I agree with that. But I never understood the hype behind Star Wars anyways, as the entire franchise was clear anti-tradcon propaganda.

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