‘The Punisher’ Season 2 Review: Marvel’s Most Violent Hero Finds More Humanity

IndieWire | 1/18/2019 | Staff
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One of the most remarkable things about “The Punisher” is the way in which it doesn’t hold in its rage. This is a show that feels fundamentally angry about the world — the criminals working within the system, the systems which oppress good people, the good people who get chewed up through no fault of their own. And it doesn’t hold back, thanks to good ol’ Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), rampaging his way through the world, dealing out his own brand of justice.

The most violent of the “Defenders” universe series, Bernthal’s take on the Punisher was first introduced in “Daredevil” Season 2, but barring a cameo or two his spin-off is easily the most disconnected from the rest of the franchise, one which can easily be enjoyed without catching up on “Iron Fist” or “Luke Cage.” Season 2, after an en media res hyper-violent opener, is followed by a “Two Days Earlier…” that reveals Frank’s post-Season 1 path: easing us back in by showing us the former Marine-turned-vigilante at perhaps his most relaxed.

Frank - America - Sights - Vagabond - Way

Frank’s just bopping around America, enjoying the sights in a vagabond way, but just at a moment when he seems like he’s found real peace, trouble ends up finding him. The premiere introduces Amy (Giorgia Whigham), a young girl chock full of moxy, but not enough moxy to keep her from danger. Protecting her eventually becomes Frank’s sole focus — very scary news for those who are trying to track her down.

What makes this season of “The Punisher” work so well is that it feels less like a Season 2 and more like a Season 5, a standalone story in the established adventures of Frank Castle. The core of the season is the bond that develops between Frank and his new young friend, a surrogate daughter who’s his...
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