Monday, January 28, 2019

Punisher (2019) - Season 2 - Review

The second (and probably last) season of Punisher is a punishment to viewers who liked Jon Bernthal's portrayal in the second season of Daredevil and also Punisher season one.

The first three episodes of this season felt like a proper continuation of the show. Frank Castle had got full closure on his personal tragedy in the conclusion of season one, and starts season two moving from one city to another trying to fill a void.

Frank makes an attempt to adjust to his new life, but maybe that is just a little too boring for him. When he notices a young girl (named Amy/Rachel) being chased by some gangsters, he decides to become an active participant (i.e., seeks trouble). This type of trouble suits Frank Castle well, and that is where the season peaks.

The show opens up the scope in episode four and brings in all the side characters. It is from that point that becomes an entirely different thing. More specifically, in a show named 'Punisher', the titular character only gets 25-30% of screen time, and the rest is spent on Agent Madani, Curtis, and Billy Russo's weird relationship with his therapist. Besides the side characters, the show is counting on the 'old veteran and teenage girl pairing' that worked so well for Logan and The Last of Us. Unfortunately, Frank's relationship with Amy/Rachel (or whatever the name of that teenage girl is), did not come close to those exemplars in any shape or form.

If you pick a Batman comic book, you can expect to see Batman on at least 70% of the pages (sometimes more). The side characters and villains take at most 30% of the book - not more! Going with this expectation of the genre, it is truly frustrating to see that season two of the Punisher has become an ensemble show that gives equal screen time to all the side characters and villains. If the name of the show was Avengers, or Friends, then I'd be fine with that approach.

As much as I liked the first season (and also Punisher's introduction in Daredevil), the latest season of the show left a bitter aftertaste; hence, I give it a 3/10 (for the 30% of the time that Punisher was on screen).

P.S. I am a fan of Jon Bernthal's interpretation of Frank Castle; however, I wish he'd speak with his regular voice. He is either grunting and growling - which make you miss the incantations and stylish wordings of Sylvester Stallone - or, he is whispering with gravitas that make the dialogue almost inaudible.

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