First ‘The Punisher’ Footage Finds Frank Castle on a War Path
Yeah, sure – every single Marvel superhero in existence will be teaming up in a year on the big screen; but to satiate you during this ‘Infinite’ winter, the Marvel B-Squad will be gearing up in less than a month… albeit on much smaller screen(s). And, by the by, I don’t say ‘B-Squad’ in a condescending or dismissive fashion. Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist have all made the most of their smaller scale TV roots, tackling far more adult content (rape, racism, ninjas) than their big screen counterparts. Ok, maybe not so much Iron Fist. There’s a strong part of myself that *may* even be more excited for The Defenders than Avengers: Infinity War. ‘Heresy’, you say. But, hey, remember only one of these super-hero mash-ups co-stars Sigourney Weaver.
In any case, The Defenders (Charlie Cox, Kristen Ritter, Mike Colter & Finn Jones) took the stage of Hall H this evening to premiere the entire first episode of the new series! And, not to be outdone, Jon Bernthal also made a surprise appearance, showing a hell of a clip for The Punisher. For bullet point highlights/reactions of the footage & panel, read on below.
- The panel opens with a ticking clock (60,59,58…) with voiceover from each of the previous shows/seasons. The pays off: when the clock hits zero, Sigourney Weaver utters a fairly foreboding line – “It’s just a city. You’ll get used to watching them fall.”
- Jon Bernthal (The Punisher) is the first person to come out on stage – showing a clip from The Punisher. The clip plays as follows: A little girl plays the guitar with Frank, a much happier time with his daughter. We immediately intercut this happy scene with Frank now alone in a room, struggling to play this same guitar – sad & depressed. We then immediately cut to a murder montage. Frank drives a van in Alabama, chasing two guys on motorcycles. He easily shoots their tires out and then redirects his van, deliberately running them over. Cut to a party – a ‘heavy’ arrives. The Punisher, on a rooftop, scopes with a rifle this same guy. The guy goes up to a room about to get some head… when ‘bam’… The Punisher takes his shot, blasting the guy’s brains on the wall. The reveal – Frank isn’t across the street but at least eight rooftops away, ten or so miles out. Cut to Frank murdering a guy in a bathroom. The guy pleads for his life – “Killing me isn’t going to bring your family back. What does it change?” The Punisher responds coldly – “Nothing.” He then immediately strangles the poor sap and walks away. Bernthal looks GREAT in the clip. Super excited for an entire show centered around him.
Jeff Loeb announces an Iron Fist Season Two. Yay?
- Sigourney Weaver reveals her villainous character has a strong relationship with Elektra in The Defenders. She describes the relationship as one of the most interesting dynamics she’s ever played in her entire career.
- Per Kristen Ritter: Jessica Jones doesn’t want to play with others in The Defenders. She very reluctantly joins the other heroes. “[Jessica] takes every opportunity to make fun of them, Daredevils suit, everything they do.” She brings the “sass and the funny” to the team.
- And then the big surprise – Jeff Loeb announces they’ll be screening the ENTIRE first episode of The Defenders. I won’t get into too much detail here – but I’ll give you my (relatively) brief impressions on the series premiere. The Good: Sigourney Weaver. Whenever Weaver is on screen, the episode really gains momentum. It’s the ol’ mysterious bad guy with some equally mysterious agenda bit – but Weaver sells the enigmatic qualities of the character, adding a much needed layer of pathos to all the deliberately vague ‘bad guy plan’ talk. The Not So Good: The episode is really slow. Like really really slow. At times, it feels like less an episode of The Defenders, and more like the first fifteen minutes of the new seasons of Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil and Jessica Jones stitched together at random intervals. What if I told you that The Defenders don’t even meet each other in the pilot of The Defenders? Now, yes, I know Netflix shows are notoriously slow – but it seems odd that the inciting incident of the episode happens in the last five seconds. This is just the pilot, so I’ll wait to pass final judgment until I can catch the next episode or two; but I’d be lying if I said my excitement for the series hasn’t been dialed back a notch. I can only hope that by episode two – one ‘Defender’ meets, at least, one of the others.
The Defenders premieres on Netflix August 18th