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'The Punisher' Early Buzz: Critics Are Split on Whether This is the Best or the Worst Marvel Netflix Series

'The Punisher' Early Buzz: Critics Are Split on Whether This is the Best or the Worst Marvel Netflix Series
From Slashfilm - November 13, 2017

Critics arent prone to sweeping statements, but it seems likeThe Punisher is on the receiving end of both kinds. The Marvel series starringJon Bernthal as the gun-toting vigilante who was introduced inDaredevilseason 2 is either the best MCU series released on Netflixor the worst. Take your pick.

The onlyuniversally acknowledged elements ofThe Punisher seem to be the acclaimed performance by Bernthal and the ill timing of the series, which was delayedafter the events of the Las Vegas mass shooting. Otherwise, critics seem to be shooting their opinions left and right, without much consensus on whether the series is actually good. Is it an ambitious, grounded TV show that tackles issues of psychological trauma in soldiers? Or is it a sluggish, overly long series with an hollowmessage?

Read some of the early reviews ofThe Punisher to find out.

Our review ofThe Punisher is incoming, butwriter Chris Evangelista has some not-too-kind words for the series ahead of his reviews release.

Ill have a full review up soon, but now that the embargo has lifted: THE PUNISHER is a major misfire. One of Marvels worst Netflix shows. Stop making these 13 episodes long, I beg of you. pic.twitter.com/sFdV0LNOFQ

Chris Evangelista (@cevangelista413) November 13, 2017

TheDaily DotsGavia Baker-Whitelaw also compared the series to the worst-reviewed Marvel-Netflix property, Iron Fist, calling the series dull and politically flawed:

The Punisher has more in common with Iron Fist than Jessica Jones or Luke Cage, although I wouldnt insult Punisher with a direct comparison. Where Iron Fist was painfully incompetent, The Punisher is just slow and overly long, failing to grasp the power of its title character. It also suffers from a recurring problem in Marvels Netflix franchise: uninspired crime writing. Madanis investigation was simple yet hard to follow, often seeming to discover something we already knew.

Anexcess of episodes to tell a dearth of story is an ongoing problem for all of the Marvel-Netflix series, not to mention most Netflix shows in general. But unlikeJessica Jones orDaredevil which start strong only to taper off halfway through,The Punisher suffers from a meandering start, Uproxxs Alan Sepinwall says:

As has unfortunately been the case withDaredeviland the Marvel shows that followed it,Punisherhas many more episodes than story to fill them with. Though Netflix provided critics with the whole first season in advance, I ran out of patience after six episodes; they featuredmaybeenough material to justify three episodes, and probably two. Where the early shows likeJessica JonesandLuke Cagetended to start strong before running out of steam, the last few like this,Iron FistandDefenders, have simply started slowly and then meandered from there.

Sepinwall was one of the many critics to point out the poor timing ofThe Punisher, whose glorifying depiction of gun violence comes on the tail of several devastating mass shootings in the U.S.Indiewires Liz Shannon Miller wroteabout the show seemed to skirt its controversial trappings as well.

For a show which seemed, given the timing of its launch, to be so controversial, its most controversial element is its lack of controversy. Frank Castle does some bad things, but nothing as bad as what happens in America on a regular basis. As a narrative about veterans trying to find their place in the world, The Punisher has something to say. But it could have been so much shorter, and its placement in the Marvel universe feels tangential at best.

However, an equal amount of reviwers raved aboutThe Punishers grounded tone andsecludedcorner in the MCU, with Forbes going so far as to call it the best MCU series ever made:

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