Finished watching the series last night and I have complicated feels.
As a paean to masculinity, it falls short. It almost plays better as a parody about shoot-em-ups than as a serious show. It's a show about gun violence written by someone with little working knowledge of guns.
Bullets appear to travel with the force of narrative expediency, for better or worse.
Yes, the violence is gratuitous at times, which is expected, but at times you could almost sense the authors pubescent glee at it.
It's narrative it lends itself to political discussion, which I won't get into here, except to note
An entire storyline is devoted to a discussion of gun rights that seems to flounder as the main proponent is
Jon Bernthal is perfectly cast, and brings humor to an otherwise humorless character. His interactions with Micro, and I'm thinking of two scenes in particular
showed an unexpected nuance - Bernthal's Punisher is not a nihilist, he is a man still able to laugh and love, which I feel is essential to this character. Bernthal is able to convey the scope of his "emotional journey" - as trite as that sounds - (his humor, fears, love, and rage) in an almost entirely unspoken way. I liked him as Shane in The Walking Dead, and his brief run as Punisher in the previous Marvel series, but I feel, oddly, that this is his most nuanced work to date. His Punisher is damaged but not broken.
Bernthal's dynamic with Deborah Ann Woll (Karen Page) is full of chemistry and unspoken feeling. Woll is a charismatic actress, and I've enjoyed her as Karen Page in the other Marvel series and as Jessica in True Blood before this - she seems to have an understated relatability that translates well to the actors and actresses she stars alongside. Together, they make their characters' complicated feelings for each other palpable, and I love it.
Ultimately, this was a complicated show that I feel was hindered by sub-par writing, and saved by phenomenal acting.
"Never write anything unless you wanted it copied and handed around. Don't speak to two people unless you are physically strong and fast enough to catch and kill both of them with bare hands." -Tareeq
"His elbow commands the sun! Bow before him!" -Two Sheds