The Punisher: Season Two – More Punishment

It’s a good thing that Netflix has approved a second season of Marvel’s The Punisher, though it concerns me somewhat because–tonality speaking–there’s only so many places the series can go, and most of them involve lots of people killed by gunshot.

Most of the Marvel Television series on Netflix have gone out of their way to reflect a more grounded, realistic take on Marvel superheroes.  And that works for some, not so well for others (and probably had more than a little bit to do with Inhumans not doing particularly well).

And while I don’t expect Frank Castle to spend too much time in the company of The Defenders I do hope that the creators of the series manage to inject more tonal variety into the upcoming season (maybe a new cinematographer.  Oddly enough this would be a perfect series for Zach Snyder to direct).

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This November, Marvel and Netflix Unleash The Punisher

imageMarvel’s The Punisher will premiere November 17, which we didn’t learn during Marvel Television’s presentation at the 2017 New York Comic-Con because if never actually happened.

The panel for the latest Marvel Television/Netflix co-production was cancelled  out of respect for those who were killed in Las Vegas (which makes sense considering the Punisher is particularly fond of guns.  And while the violence that he projects is typically directed at various shades of criminal–and isn’t real–I applaud Marvel for being wise enough to see that it would have been in particularly bad taste).

Though what’s worse than ‘bad taste’ is willfully neglecting the issue, which is the ready availability of guns combined with the moral cowardice of our so-called representatives–who respond to almost monthly mass shootings with condolences and regret, but never with legislation that actually does anything to prevent such violence in the first place (so forget about anything as commonsensical as limiting the amount of guns one person can own–or ways to make them even deadlier, like bump stocks).

Let’s be honest: if we had rules to limit the amount of weapons a person could own, if conversion kits (which change a semi-automatic rifle to, essentially a full automatic) were illegal to sell or own, if background checks to purchase weapons were thorough and rigorous and if buying a gun meant you were registered in a national database (which would flag ‘unusual’ purchasing patterns) it likely wouldn’t be the end of gun violence.

But it would (probably) be lessened considerably, and mass shootings would be significantly less ‘massy.’

Though even if it did nothing at all, it would be better than burying our collective heads in the sand, waiting for the next time.

And isn’t that a bit more important than whether or not the Punisher appears at Comic-Con?

Marvel’s The Punisher – Teaser Trailer

There have been three movie incarnations of The Punisher since he was created by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr. in 1974, and while a popular character in comics, his movies never quite seemed to connect with audiences.

The first movie was in 1978, with Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle/The Punisher.  It was okay, though he never displayed the the iconic skull emblem the character is known for (this lack of fidelity to the character was made up by it being somewhat gory).

The next version was in 2004 with Thomas Jane (who while physically is probably a bit short, he brought acting chops beyond Lundgren’s). It was okay, but failed in some really peculiar ways, such as as some underwhelming special effects and odd story beats (what I like to call the ‘fire hydrant scene’ is pretty bizarre).

Though at least he wore the iconic skull.

Thomas Jane also appeared in a short as The Punisher in 2012 (The Punisher: Dirty Laundry).

The Punisher next made another appearance in 2008 (This time played by Ray Stevenson) in Lexi Alexander’s Punisher: War Zone.  

Easily the best interpretation of the character in movies–though some of the violence was way over the top and more cartoonish than anything seen prior–Stevenson brought the size of Lundgren, and the acting chops of Jane to the role.

Though it still underperformed in theaters.

Enter 2017, and the Punisher is back.  Introduced in season two of Marvel’s Daredevil and graduating to his own series (a better format for the character than movies) Jon Bernthal brings us a Punisher worthy of the name.

Inhumans – Trailer 2

The more I see trailers for Marvel Television’s Inhumans, the better it’s starting to look.  The FX is fine (and while Lockjaw himself looks great; his transport effect?  Not so much) and while I’m hardly waiting with baited breath, I am interested enough to catch it in theaters (mainly because I am curious if it looks cinematic enough to warrant the involvement of IMAX.

The Defenders – Trailer 2

Marvel Television, as far as I can tell, is in a bind entirely of their own making.

While I enjoy the series that have done thus far–with a particular emphasis on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.–I do feel a certain reluctance on their parts to embrace the fantastic wholeheartedly (which is an interesting, though odd, problem to have).

This has a lot to do with why why the only costume we’ve seen of the four superheroes that make up The Defenders is Daredevil (which is less a costume than tactical combat armor in varying shades of red) and why the upcoming The Inhumans looks so grounded.

And so ordinary.

Comicbooks are a celebration of the fantastic, the weird, the uncanny and the strange;  a perspective that seemingly ill-fits with the Nolanesque esthetic that Marvel has created for television.

Which isn’t to say all characters should wear costumes.  I get why Jessica Jones and Luke Cage don’t–Jones tried the costumed superhero route; it didn’t take while Cage has always had less a costume than accoutrements (a tiara–there has to be another name for that–coupled wits a chain for a belt and a yellow shirt) that was more indicative of a 1970’s fashion esthetic–the character was created in 1972 by Archie Goodwin, John Romita, Sr. and George Tuska–than anything else

But Iron Fist?  He’s a character where a costume would actually make sense.  It would protect his identity–and by extension that of his family–as well as give him clothing in line with someone who engages in martial arts combat on a (more or less) regular basis.

And that’s not necessarily to say that they have to go with the spandex body suit, though something along those lines would really be appreciated.

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Are Back for Season 5!

If there were an award for Most Improved Television Series, the likelihood is high that Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be a contender, if not the winner.  It started life not sure what it wanted to be, and seemed to survive primary on the strength of Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) who’s character had seemingly died in  2012’s The Avengers.

So, while it’s taken time to find its footing–arguably around the Second season–it’s developed into one of the best comicbook based series on television (seriously, if you haven’t watched since its first or second seasons you might want to give it a try because it’s really that good).

Though the bonus is that the series has been renewed for its fifth season!  Part of what aided in its renewal is the idea of story ‘pods’ by the producers, which is  a typical season consisting of three or four stories, as opposed to one or two,which has a curious effect of creating a faster-paced and much more enjoyable series.

Then there’s Ghost Rider (who arguably hasn’t been done better) and Inhumans.

Marvel’s Inhumans – Teaser Trailer

The teaser trailer for Marvel’s Inhumans dropped this morning (‘dropped.’  That sounds vaguely like a pregnancy reference.  Not sure how I feel about that) and typical of teasers, tells you next to nothing about Marvel Television’s upcoming series.

Or does it?

When the trailer first opens, you can see something as the word ‘Inhumans’ pans backward.

Is it the Earth or Attilan (the city that the Inhumans live on the Moon)?


And the striking music, which to me speaks of hidden menace and a certain grandiosity, is certainly fitting…

And while it doesn’t make up for the fairly unimaginative interpretation–visually speaking–of Blackbolt, it’s certainly a start.