THE PUNISHER: SEASON 2 Brings Villains Old And New With Fresh Dark Heroism
I haven’t bothered reading a lot of the speculative reports pertaining to a hopeful third season of Marvel’s The Punisher on Netflix, save for an interview with creator Steve Lightfoot at THR. That said and given the appeal, I’m hard-pressed to believe the fans of the show are disapproving.
While not all the Marvel shows are perfect as the scripting generally tends to lag around certain aspects of character development, what’s important is that it ultimately took crafting a series for a fully fleshed-out, entertaining property. This is largely the case for all the Marvel shows, and specifically this particular series shepherded by Steve Lightfoot for Netflix.
That’s not to say that some improvements haven’t been made on many aspects of its crafting. Despite the oft slow pacing, the elevated action and drama makes up for it tenfold, coupled with the return of several interesting characters, namely including Deborah Ann Woll’s beloved Karen Page who shares endeavors between the worlds of the Punisher and Daredevil, and I’m still wholly convinced as ever that she can carry her own series after the events Daredevil – season three.
One of my favorite highlights of this series is the slow-boiling battle of wits between Amber Rose Revah’s Agent Madani and Floriana Lima’s Dr. Krista Dumont nearing the last several episodes. Actor Royce Johnson is the steadfast, dogmatic Detective Mahoney who is forced to mitigate between his principles and coloring outside of the lines.
John Pilgrim is played by Josh Stewart in a role that seethes and increases the psychological element of the show beyond the Punisher/Jigsaw enmity. Pilgrim’s path, no matter to his stoic pursual of peace and loyalty of his faith is ultimately one forged in bad intentions, blood bidiesand bodies. It’s interesting that even with this in mind, the show still dares to grab hold onto the viewer’s sympathy, and remarkably, earns just a little bit of it in perhaps one of the best sequences of the film where Pilgrim is forced to deal with his past.
Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle reigns supreme in this series just as it did in the second season of Daredevil. Most important is the closing of one of the most important and darkest chapters of his life that officially sees him – as one other quote from the show would have it – “be who [he] is meant to be.”
I think the one excruciating factor in this series is much ado with Giorgia Whigham’s Amy Bendix – through and through, Amy is the incorrigible, rebellious teenager who won’t do what she’s told. Her actions do have their ups, but it does get testing and you kind of just want her to keep her head down contrary to what the script dictates.
Amy contributes quite a bit of heart to the story though, and it lends us more into Castle’s own nature as a lonewolf who hasn’t forgotten his humanity. It also spotlights for him how important some people are in light of his causes, and even shares some of that space with his nemesis, Ben Barnes’ Billy Russo whose last tete-a-tete with Castle brings Russo to a psychological precipice – a damaged state with fragmented memories he can’t sooner put back together.
The action and fight scenery continue to be some of the best brought to the table for television. The most exhilarating fight action takes place at the bar in the first episode, and in the warehouse as he fights Billy’s goons.
Things end on a less-than-preferable note for the second season seeing as the finale felt more like a plot development. Lightfoot gets into this a little at THR this week and how it ties into a hopeful season three…
And despite all possibilities toward the matter, I really hope Netflix doesn’t screw the pooch and cancel the show. It’s by far one of the best-written, character-driven police procedurals I’ve ever seen, and with some of the most signature line delivery ever thought of for a live-action comic book property, and packaged with brilliant performances and a star who just, no pun intended, kills it.
Give me another, Mr. Hastings. Don’t let us down!
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.
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