The Punisher and Other Netflix Original Marvel Series

Netflix has created several series show-casing anti-heroes with generally lesser powers than The Avengers. Although with Tony Stark having no powers and Luke Cage being pretty formidable, that could be debated. For whatever reason, these Netflix Marvel characters are the 2nd string, T.V. rather than movie-worthy. But because T.V. allows more time, we can be more fully involved in the superhero’s suffering, what motivates them and their personal lives. Netflix has also permitted more flexibility in brutality limits in each series so they best reflect the hero. If you’ve wondered about these shows, and how they fit together, this is a brief post on the ones I liked, didn’t, and their chronology in the Netflix Marvel universe.

The Punisher is Netflix’s most recent release. Though gory and grim, the unfolding of the story with numerous flashbacks, and well-crafted secondary characters and villains makes The Punisher one of their best. The making of Frank Castle’s mind is complex, like the crafting of fine steel, but in the end, he’s a razor sharp knife without ambiguity. So refreshing. Of all the Marvel superheroes (except Wolverine) none of them has the corner on bloody wrath like Frank Castle, played by Jon Bernthal from the first two seasons of The Walking Dead. The show spends quite a bit of time parsing out right and wrong through interactions with other characters. I never felt it was heavy-handed: Frank Castle is on the very edge of how violent and savage even an anti-hero can be. His bedraggled side-kick is quirky, likable and reasonable, and is written so he confronts Frank without the self-righteous whininess that is, alas, more common.

Unfortunately, to fully appreciate this series, one first has to watch Daredevil, and Daredevil is not as good.  Kind of whiny (especially the side-kick). I felt lukewarm about it.

This article describes the chronological order of the Netflix Marvel series to date. To summarize:

Daredevil, season one.  Meh. However, the Daredevil code of no killing no matter what may appeal to some.

Jessica Jones.  Thoroughly enjoyed this series. The vibe is film noir. There are some references to Daredevil, season one, but they aren’t critical. Introduces Luke Cage.

Daredevil, season two. The Punisher introduction is the best part of this series, and it’s worth watching for that reason alone. If you want to skip it, but plan to watch The Punisher, this article summarizes the Frank Castle elements in the Daredevil series.

Luke Cage.  I liked this series as much as Jessica Jones, but the setting and supporting characters were even better. A whole imagined Harlem reality dark and sultry. The music’s great: here are seven samples of it. Not music I usually listen to but it brought great depth to the story and the setting. A significant character in this series is from Daredevil, season one, but, again, I don’t think it’s necessary to watch Daredevil.

Iron Fist. I tried one episode… maybe I’ll try it again.

The Defenders.  Missed this somehow, and this review is not encouraging. But Sigourney Weaver is the villain, so I’ll give it a try just as soon as I finish The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Punisher.  If brutality doesn’t bother you, watch it!

If I had to rate the ones I watched from best downward, it would be The Punisher, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, DD season 2 and DD season 1.