Netflix’s Punisher

With Iron Fist and The Defenders coming out later this year it can be easy to forget about the Netflix series that follows.

After seeing him in The Walking Dead and Fury (2014) I thought Bernthal’s casting as Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher was perfect. He went on to become the best thing about Daredevil’s second season, providing a deadly foil to Matt Murdock. After watching the season and reading The Punisher Max and War Journal, the Punisher quickly became one of my favourite comic book characters.

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is (MCU) is sometimes hampered by the desire to remain family-friendly, the Netflix shows capture a more adult world that is also not afraid to embrace the more fantastical elements of the comics. Many people didn’t like the mystical aspects of Daredevil’s second season, probably due to the contrast with the gritty first season. However, I didn’t mind these additions. My biggest gripe was the love story between Matt and Karen, which wasn’t foreshadowed at all with the previous season. This season began and they were suddenly in love.

With that said, The Punisher is a series that might work better (at least for the first season) with more grounded villains. Most of the villains in the aforementioned comics were figures involved in crime syndicates such as the mafia or IRA. While The Punisher obviously lives in the same universe as Thor and The Hulk, and has fought some of these figures in the comics, I hope the solo series starts with his work on the streets. Daredevil ended with Castle donning his costume as he continued his personal war on crime. I want to see that story expanded, as Castle continues to target criminal enterprises.

While Daredevil emphasized Castle’s pursuit by law enforcement, the Max comics frequently imply that the police tolerate his presence. There is a story arc where corrupt policemen frame him for the murder of one of their own, but for the most part the police realize he makes their jobs easier and scares some people off the streets. It would be interesting to see this dynamic in the series as well. I have heard the series will be inspired by the Max run, and I am especially hoping that the “Slavers” arc is adapted.

Set pictures have revealed that Karen Page will appear in the series. She tried to act as Castle’s voice of reason in Daredevil, creating a character dynamic that had far more chemistry than her and Murdock’s. It is likely she will be trying to steer him away from vigilantism, or a less violent alternative. If the character’s written properly he won’t be changing his mind, but their conversations could lead to more interesting insights about how Castle views the world e.g. the rooftop conversation in Daredevil.

One of my main worries is the length of the seasons. Every Marvel Netflix show is thirteen episodes, which feels like too much at times. Luke Cage was a good show, but I feel like it was hampered by the length. Shortening the series by an episode or two could have led to some more concise storytelling. Since the series needed to be padded to 13 episodes I feel like all of the legal wrangling in the last few episodes was added to get the series to the necessary length. Since The Punisher kills his enemies there will be definitely be less police and courtroom proceedings to worry about. However, some other plot twists could be utilized to pad the series unnecessarily. Until the thirteen episode rule changes we’ll have to hope the writers adapt to give us 13 episodes that don’t feel bloated or stretched out.

Besides that concern, this series has a lot to offer. The few comics I’ve read present a swath of interesting supporting characters and villains that will help to support one of my favourite anti-heroes as he makes his solo tv debut. What is your most anticipated Marvel Netflix show of 2017?

 

Green Room Review

Entertainment Value: 9/10  Critical Value: 7.5/10

It’s been a while since I have done a film review, but I recently watched Green Room and decided I should do another. I’ll likely be doing one for Rogue One as well, which I should be seeing today. Green Room came up on my Netflix recommendations and I remembered hearing about it through Patrick Stewart’s social media. As I checked the cast list I also realized Anton Yelchin was one of the leads. His death earlier this year was an unfortunate and early end to a great career. He was one of the only good things in Terminator: Salvation and I also enjoyed him as Chekov in the new Star Trek films. Green Room is actually his last feature film to be released while he was still alive. In a way, watching it was my own tribute to him.

The film follows a punk band who perform at a remote skinhead bar. After witnessing a murder, they end up trapped, surrounded by skinheads who want to eliminate the witnesses. The film has received rave reviews and although I didn’t like it as much as many people did, I definitely enjoyed it. The plot isn’t anything special, the quality of the movie lies in its cast and the execution of the thrills. Yelchin and his band members, The Ain’t Rights, aren’t introduced as sympathetic characters. We see them siphoning gas from cars within the first ten minutes but the movie quickly manages to make you root for them. Another one of the main characters is a Neo-Nazi and I was actually rooting for her as well.

The other actors all blend into their roles as well, especially Alia Shawkat and Joe Cole. We don’t get much character development for any of the characters but I was still attached to them, hoping that they all made it out alive.

Patrick Stewart, plays Darcy, the owner of the skinhead bar and the leader of their organization. This film marks the first time that I have heard Patrick Stewart do an american accent. I have to say that it was dodgy at times. Perhaps I am just used to his english accent and that leads me to pick his performance apart more. I just felt his native accent struggling to break through with just about every sentence. His performance was’t bad but a poor accent can often hamper an otherwise great performance.

Yelchin, playing Pat, outshines Patrick Stewart here. He is the heart of the film and one scene in particular would have been weaker if it wasn’t for his performance.

Minor spoiler: At one point, Pat is injured. We hear him scream in pain but we don’t see what his injury is right away. The way the scene was shot, along with Yelchin’s performance. I have seen gorier films, but the visceral violence of this one and its masterful execution made it stand out as one my favourites in recent memory. As I look back on the film, I realize that its true strength and memorability lies in these moments of brutality. I have returned to the film again and again simply to watch these scenes. In some ways, Green Room almost reminded me of a Tarantino film, slow build up that leads to moments of great violence. The script and the direction does a great job continuously building tension, until the film’s end, which I felt was slightly too abrupt.

The film has very strong moments, but I felt like these moments weren’t consistent enough to make it a great film. With that said, Yelchin is a stand out and I believe that the film is worth watching so that you can see the talent the world was robbed of too early.