Jon Bernthal to his "alt-right" Punisher fans: "Fuck them"

In some ways, Marvel’s The Punisher—a guy powered by little more than boundless rage, easy access to guns, and a spirit of classic, all-American murderous industriousness—is the quintessential conservative superhero. That doesn’t mean the Netflix show’s star, Jon Bernthal, has any time for the modern trolls of the…

A torture-heavy Punisher commits the worst sin of all—being boring

The most frustrating thing about “Home” is that it’s built around a question I already know the answer to: Would Frank prefer to die rather than continue living his life of endless brutality? Well... no. And not just because The Punisher obviously isn’t going to kill off its leading man in its second-to-last episode.…

The Punisher tries and fails to start a conversation about gun control

A lot of early discussions about Netflix’s The Punisher centered around its glorification of guns, which I think is both fair and unfair. It’s fair because gun violence is a major moral crisis of 21st century American life and I think we should be talking about it constantly (The Punisher’s release date was pushed…

A kiss throws The Punisher’s world into hilarious disarray in a harrowing episode

For its eighth episode, The Punisher switches from a show about vigilante violence and wartime PTSD to a show about bizarre, fucked up interpersonal dynamics. And it’s kind of great! The episode establishes its central theme by opening on the deeply warped relationship between Billy and his birth mom. Though Billy…

The Punisher’s seventh episode finally picks up the pace

Now that’s more like it. “Crosshairs” takes some decisive steps forward while (finally) providing a better sense of Frank and Micro’s overall plan. It gives Madani and Stein a concrete challenge to take on and offers a clearer sense of who our villains are and what they want. It’s got dark comedy, a great action…

The Punisher gets lost in the woods, literally and figuratively

There’s a weird video game-like quality to how this season of The Punisher is structured. We know Frank and Micro’s overall goal is to take down Agent Orange, but the steps to actually doing so are presented like these weird, disconnected fetch quests. Case in point: After completing last episode’s mission of getting…

The most brutal thing about The Punisher is all the shitty blues guitar

Early reviews are in, and the consensus seems to be that The Punisher, Marvel’s latest Netflix series, is doing more things right than not. Another way to put that would be, “Oh, phew, this is nothing like Iron Fist.” (Sorry, Danny—you were better in The Defenders, but your solo series is still the low-tide mark of…

The Punisher runs out of storytelling fuel on a resupply mission

“Resupply” isn’t a bad episode. It is, however, a slow one. Like, really slow. The episode barely inches the season’s storytelling forward and even the more enjoyable character beats feel like repetition of stuff we’ve already seen. There are three main storylines in this episode, two of which are linked by plot but…

The Punisher’s second episode weaves a complicated web of conspiracies

If there’s one thing these Marvel Netflix shows love, it’s a complicated governmental and/or corporate conspiracy. And it’s easy to see why these shows choose to go that route. Slowly doling out details of a complex conspiracy is an easy way to generate season-long storytelling. And it also allows the series to…

The Punisher gets off to a promising, problematic start

I went on a real journey with Frank Castle a.k.a “the Punisher” while watching and reviewing Daredevil’s second season. In fact, I literally titled one of my late-season reviews, “Your binge-reviewer changed her mind, the Punisher just might be Daredevil’s best character.” With his standard issue tragic backstory,…