By JAKE DAY, Staff Reporter |
“The Punisher” is a brutal character. He was created by writer Gerry Conway. The original artists were John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru. “The Punisher” debuted as a mercenary to kill Spiderman, but, in the 1980s, he had three series devoted to his own storylines.
The Netflix series keeps the core story and background details of “The Punisher” similar to the original. He is a marine named Frank Castle, a father and husband to a murdered family, and will do anything to get revenge. He deals out his version of justice to whoever he feels deserves it.
This is captured in visceral, violent chronicles throughout the series. It is dealt out most heavily to character Billy Russo, also known as Jigsaw, in the season one finale.
Fans know that Russo is one of Castle’s most dangerous enemies in the comics; however, Russo in the series is not kept the same as in the comics. He is possibly more dangerous in the Netflix adaptation.
In the series, Russo is a fellow marine and friend to Castle. Russo leaves the military to be in security contracting for more money.
He even had something to do with the death of Castle’s wife and children. For this Castles goes after Russo and ends a long bullet and blood-filled fight by bashing Russo’s face into a mirror.
This backstory is important to admire the emotional depths the creators plunge to in the second season.
When Russo awakens he is forced through trauma therapy that is compared, by a character in the show, to that of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patient. I can say as someone that has gone through therapy for a TBI as well as years of recovery, the show’s writers must have done their research.
Russo’s primary psychiatric physician uses jargon and common psych nomenclature that anyone with anxiety will appreciate for authenticity. Her name is Dr. Krista Dumont and is also an adaptation of a comic book character.
After an incident at the hospital, Russo stays with Dr. Dumont. What follows is a deep look inside a criminal mind – a mind that is completely self-aware.
After a severe trauma, it is common for the person injured to become hyperaware, not only of themselves, but of others. Russo is a villain who holds grudges, but accepts that everything has to end.
He evolves so much as a character that his range reminds me of Robert De Niro’s character in the movie “Heat,” famous for the line, “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”
The show remains consistent with its dedication to representing real world circumstances, such as realistic damage to the characters in the most violent version of “The Punisher” to date.
The extent of medically and anatomically correct gore in the show is disturbing. Even more disturbing is how quickly I got used to it.
“The Punisher” does not often have emotional depths beyond his origin storyline shown on film, so character-wise, Russo does the heavy lifting in the series.
Castle partners with a young woman he saves and teaches her how to protect herself from the people after her. They bond, but just when you think Castle is exploring his emotions, he isn’t.
That’s “The Punisher” though. He is who he is. He knows who he is and what he is good at, so he does what he can to stop bad things from happening to good people.
The multiple storylines converge eventually, but in order watch it and take away everything the creators are going for, attention is key.
The series is compelling and engaging. It is well balanced in tone and structure. It has bits of humor that could only be in a Punisher series.
The plentiful action sequences are frequent and have quality choreography, yet there is still plenty of story progression. Some acting to me still seemed forced or possibly just disingenuous. I would rate it 89 out of 100.