It's certainly much more of a slow-burner than I expected. It focuses a lot more on the psychological thriller aspect of the the Punisher universe, while tackling some questions of power, guilt, and trauma. It certainly has some cool action stuff here and there, but it's not the main focus. And I kinda liked it.
If you seek hardcore brutal violence then "The Punisher" is for you. Netflix's version of the character take the 1980s vendetta story and turn it on it's head making the character into a tragic broken person that no psychologist can heal. There are some dead spots for sure, but most of the time the story goes in fast pace and characters really go somewhere. The most satisfying version of the comic.
While I can understand any comic book purist's frustration at this series for straying from its roots - this is decidedly Steve Lightfoot's ("Hannibal") interpretation of Marvel's gun-toting vigilante, one that bears little resemblance to the popular Garth Ennis MAX books - and its admittedly slow pace, I still found "The Punisher" to be a solid action-drama not afraid to tackle PTSD, grief, and CIA corruption.
What a spin-off! Unsettling violence, PTSD, whistleblowers, firearms regulations, political and military corruption, well developed and compelling villains, family issues and lots of stellar performances. The best thing from the Marvel TV universe since the first season of "Daredevil" - everything else is a blur, in my opinion. Jon Bernthal was born to play this role.
Jon Bernthal still does a good job, and all the violence (way less than I expected) and gore is fun, but it feels like the creator of this show didn't like the direction Daredevil took him, and just kinda refused to address some stuff, which for a fan of universe building like me, was a total bummer. The melodrama stuff was nice though.
The Punisher you expect is here, unflinchingly violent and completely unsuited for the cinematic universe. It sits nicely alongside the first 2 seasons of Daredevil but chooses to explore trauma psychology over vigilante morals. The soundtrack was a mess and the fact it tries to repeatedly make out The Punisher might die is a gratuitous waste of time, but it's still highly enjoyable anyway.
Finally, one of the Marvel's anti-hero got a proper adaptation in series format. THE PUNISHER maybe feels a little bit slow in the first few episodes. Kinda dragging. But after that, THE PUNISHER began to show its power. All those extreme violence elements you've been expecting - will surely make you satisfied. It also has a complex storytelling. It talked about PTSD, war, and some corruptions in big company. Great!
Considering wasted chances like ambitious yet not-so-accomplished "Luke Cage," thoroughly ludicrous (especially for Asian) "Iron Fist" and completely uninteresting "The Defenders," it is surprising pleasure that more brutal and essential work in Marvel Dramatic Universe is Daredevil's spinoff, which effectively describes essential wounds in America like PTSD, terrorism and war corruption. My favorite: Ep.3 &10.