This week, highly-anticipated Netflix original series Marvel’s The Punisher hit the streaming service, with Jon Bernthal reprising his role as the titular character, otherwise known as Frank Castle. Allowed to push the boundaries of the Marvel Universe like never before, the live-action shows that have debuted on Netflix have without a doubt been some of the most compelling superhero shows out there. The Punisher however, is a different beast. He’s definitely not a hero, but the audience do feel a need to rally behind him. He’s a complex character, and that makes him one of the most interesting out there. An anti-hero, if you will.

Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle in The Punisher / Credit: Netflix

Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle in The Punisher / Credit: Netflix

Unfortunately, critics seem heavily divided when it comes to his solo outing. Whilst there are some good reviews for the show, there are also some terrible ones.

The Good

Mark Hughes, Forbes: “The Punisher dives deep into the damaged psyche and personal struggles of its characters (especially protagonist Frank Castle) while offering multiple nuanced important narratives about serious social problems.”

Phil Owen, TheWrap: “Like all good noir stories, The Punisher can be very dense at times, but in a surprising twist for a Marvel show it does all come together in a way that makes sense.”

Amy Glynn, Paste Magazine: “The Punisher does in fact stand on its own. And heck, comparing it to some of the other Marvel properties, it’s good (sorry, Iron Fist). At a small-picture scale, there’s solid acting (not mind-bending, but solid), and good production value.”

Mike Hale, New York Times: “It’s handsomely shot and smoothly assembled, and its naturalistic, psychological, more moody than pulpy approach may work for non-comics fans who don’t mind some gore with their procedural thrillers.”

The Bad

Kelly Kanayama, Nerdist: “At a time when mass shootings, gun control debates, and domestic terrorism are all over the news, a show insightful and brave enough to critique our culture of violence might have had a real impact. The Punisher is not that show.”

Allison Shoemaker, “If the characters feel underdeveloped, they’re nothing to the filmmaking. There are some interesting shots here and there, and The Punisher’s directors on the whole make the most of Bernthal’s physical immediacy, but it’s hard to shake the feelings that the series is constantly trying to match up to that first Daredevil hallway fight and falling far short.”

Kelly Lawler, USA Today: “There’s a certain queasiness to watching this series in context, and a smarter show than The Punisher might have offered something that could add to the conversation. Unfortunately, the series is mostly a dull, superficial shoot-em-up.”


Of course, we encourage everybody to make up their own minds! To see The Punisher, head on over to Netflix where the entirety of season 1 is available now.

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