Sunday!

I finished The Punisher on Netflix and I have to say that I am of two minds on it.

On a purely visceral level, I wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s a rollercoaster ride with thrills, spills, and chills. You’ll pay for the whole seat but you’ll only need the edge. If you’re worried that it takes place in a universe chock-a-block full of Superhero silliness, don’t worry. The only supernatural/extranatural thing in this series is Frank Castle’s ability to heal after he loses half his hit points in a shoot-out or knife fight or other completely absurd standoff. Other than that, there’s nothing to yank you from your suspension of disbelief from the shootey and splodey and stabby Grand-Guignol they give you.

On a somewhat more cerebral level, I cannot recommend it at all. Holy cow. Our culture is getting so very coarsened! And all the violence! There’s so much of it! And it’s practically celebrated! There’s a *REASON* the Grand-Guignol closed in the 60’s!

All that to say: you should totally watch it and you should go out of your way to make sure that your kids don’t watch it.

I can’t wait for Punisher Season 2.

So… what are you reading and/or watching?


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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21 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. If you’re worried that it takes place in a universe chock-a-block full of Superhero silliness, don’t worry.

    I actually found this somewhat weird, because this is the same universe where Hydra exists and infiltrated SHIELD for decades. At least one congressmen was a member. It’s also seen an alien invasion, and a robot invasion.

    It’s a world where people with superpowers not only exist, but are required to sign a document stating they will only use them in certain ways under certain authorities.

    …and that’s just the stuff that is publicly known, and it’s not including Agents of SHIELD insisting the universe is having some sort of panic about people with powers, despite no other TV show or movie mentioning that where it would make sense.

    And apparently, in this comic book universe, the War on Terror is exactly the same, and the CIA doesn’t seem to have noticed any of that stuff! The CIA funding an illegal unit via heroin smuggling seems almost quaint….at least they aren’t secretly filled with sorta-Nazis. (Edit: Spoiler tags added.)

    It’s especially jarring considering there are scenes of a former soldier support group…exactly like there is in Captain America. ‘Sorry, Frank, I don’t have time to talk, I have to drive to DC and lead a meeting there, I’m filling in for a guy who joined up with Captain America and is now a wanted criminal, because he helped that Winter Soldier assassin guy who turned out to be his best friend.’

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    • I suppose that that is the genius of the Marvel Movie Universe.

      It makes sense that Thor and Hulk and Dr. Strange all hang in the same circles. It doesn’t make sense for the FBI, CIA, and NSA to hang in the same circles as SHIELD.

      Like, it doesn’t make *ANY*.

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      • Yeah As someone who played the old Marvel roleplaying game you can sort of see their long standing view on power levels radiating through their properties. It’s all about power classes. Super heroes are on a given power class. Below that power class people can barely dent them but also the affairs of those people only barely impinge on their consciousness. Above their class, likewise.

        So the Punisher is scooting around doing his thing. If he and Capt. America ever crossed paths the Cap would squish him like a bug but because of their power levels they never cross paths. It’s how New York has so many heroes squished together- they all stick to their power level lanes and neighborhoods.

        There is, admissibly, a feel of contrivance to it but if you don’t think on it too hard it works. Also it lets them pack a lot of peeps into one universe and that has some synergy boons that I really like (Marvel fanboy, full disclosure).

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        • “If he and Capt. America ever crossed paths the Cap would squish him like a bug but because of their power levels they never cross paths.”

          I was literally just having a debate with a coworker about where Jessica Jones and Luke Cage fit into this idea. Jessica seems to be stronger than Captain America, but less strong than Luke Cage. We were specifically also wondering if Luke Cage could hang with Thor.

          Also, Marvel throws a curveball in there by adding Hawkeye and Black Widow to The Avengers when they have no actual super powers.

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          • I don’t remember off the top of my head but you can be sure that somewhere in the bowels of Marvel there’s a chart with the respective power levels. Of course with alternative universes and the like it gets wonky.

            I agree Hawkeye and Black Widow definitely throw in a big curve ball. Strictly speaking from a systemic PoV their capabilities shouldn’t have been able to scratch the hide of entities that give Thor, Hulk or Cap problems but from a cinematic PoV including them and just ignoring the question of power level is very useful for audience engagement and addressing the “you don’t need to have powers to be special” element. In the end, of course, Marvel is an entertainment company and with their MCU products especially they flex things in favor of entertainment.

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          • Oh, to address your question. Luke Cage is strength rated at 25-50 tons strength so while he could hang with Loki (A nerdy Asgardian who also is parked in that strength category) he couldn’t even hold Thor’s gauntlets (100 tons + category).

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            • I think part of the confusion is that Luke in the TV show has the amount of strength the writers found interesting at the time rather than a consistent amount of strength (like, it exceeds the 25-50 ton range on either side).

              Jessica also seems to suffer from this problem.

              It’s not enough to keep me from loving the shows but I’ve seen some very ranty articles about it.

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              • Jessica Jones’ powers have been poorly defined IMO. We know she is super-strong and can leap great distances. We also know she is not impervious to damage at all, and can be cut, shot, knocked out by normal people. In the Defenders all of her fight scenes looked like a bad 1970s action movie and the most impressive thing she seems to be able to do is lift heavy things. I’m really hoping that they do a better job of defining her powers in Season 2.

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              • Yes indeedy Maribou, as I mentioned to Mike, Marvel is in the entertainment business first and the consistency business second. I guarantee you their entire power rankings system was post hoc to start with. I’ve not been sucked in by the Marvel shows but I definitely am glad they’re there. I can understand why some would write ranty articles about it but seriously, within certain limits you need to accommodate the needs of the writing. And at least they don’t have to deal with Superman. Oi vey!

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              • That’s my main problem with Netflix Marvel (though many other superhero movies and tv show are guilty of this): they conveniently forget the hero has powers for plot contrivances. I say this as a fan of the Netflix Marvel I’ve watched.

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        • If he and Capt. America ever crossed paths the Cap would squish him like a bug but because of their power levels they never cross paths.

          Technically, there’s a non-zero number of interactions between the two and Frank Castle has killed Captain America in at least one Elseworlds-kinda story.

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      • It doesn’t make sense for the FBI, CIA, and NSA to hang in the same circles as SHIELD.

        Maybe. SHIELD is essentially the ‘trademark removed’ version of the CIA. They both originated from a WWII intelligence service (SHIELD from the Strategic Scientific Reserve, CIA from the Office of Strategic Services, note the similarity of the names.), they both got rebuilt into civilian agencies after the war.

        But the SSR existed as the intelligence service specifically against Hydra (Which didn’t surrender at the end of WWII, and kept going for years.), whereas, presumably, in the Marvel universe, the OSS operated as it did in the real world.

        I.e., an added threat of Hydra made an added intelligence service of SHIELD. So it’s not wildly insane to have them both exist.

        But the extremely weird thing is that SHIELD somehow got rebuilt into in an international agency…in the comics, they’re under the UN, in the movies, they’re under the ‘World Security Council’, whatever that is. (I don’t think that’s supposed to be part of the UN.) How the _hell_ you are supposed to have an international intelligence agency has not been explained. Whose interests are they serving?

        It makes sense when there are interplanetary threats, I guess. But that didn’t happen in the MCU until Thor 1, as far as anyone knows. (Technically, a lot of the Hydra super-science was from infinity stone fallout, but no one knew that at the time.)

        Actually, the extremely weird thing is that the MCU often forgets that SHIELD is supposed to be international. And would, technically, be a non-American intelligence service operating in the US.

        Which raises all sorts of really weird questions, like is the NSA okay with them spying on Americans? Does it help with that? Does it hinder that? What about detaining Americans without charge? What the heck is in this treaty we signed? How come we don’t know any of this stuff?

        *goes and joins the Rising Tide*

        Also, somehow they had their HQ, the Triskelion, on Theodore Roosevelt Island, which, ignoring the fact that’s supposed to be a national park…is that legally sovereign international territory, like the UN? They have the frickin George Washington Memorial Parkway going through their building, and they appeared to have gates on that! Are we really letting an international organization control our roads? Who let them do that? Who let them build all that underground in the river?

        Fun fact: The filmmakers tried to have the National Guard show up in the Avengers, but that entire thing fell apart when the National Guard said ‘And whose orders are we following?’ and the filmmakers couldn’t figure out what authority SHIELD had to do anything at all. (Which is weird, because a single line of ‘The governor called the National Guard out to repeal an obvious alien invasion’ would work. The Guard commander just deciding, by themself, to work with the Avengers, a bunch of civilians with superpowers, while a bit unorthodox, is perfectly reasonable.)

        And then the filmmakers actually put that scene in with the police, where the police basically say the same thing.

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  2. I’ve been watching that Sean Bean show, Legends, that I mentioned last week, and despite the occasional suspension of disbelief issue it’s holding up really well.

    Picture book of the week: Where’s Halmoni? by Julie Kim. A lovely graphic novel based on Korean folktales. Wry and sometimes pointy humor.

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  3. Finished The Punisher last night. I have to say, it might be my favorite of the Marvel Netflix offerings. While I liked all the other series to various degrees, they all suffered from the season being about 3 episodes too long. In all of the other shows, you pretty much think things are resolved around episode 10, only to find out No, there’s a bigger bad that needs to be dealt with by episode 13.

    The Punisher didn’t have this problem. I didn’t feel like it dragged anywhere and I also liked the sub-plot of Louis dealing with his PTSD and becoming a domestic terrorist. I will also agree that Frank has an amazing ability to recover from wounds quickly, but other than that bit of creative license, I loved the series and will look forward to Season 2.

    P.S. Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Daredevil are all supposed to have seasons in 2018. And the Marvel movie slate is packed for 2018. I am slightly worried we are reaching over-saturation but 13 year-old Mike keeps telling 42 year-old Mike to shut up and enjoy the ride.

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  4. I spend an inordinate amount of time on jujitsu…..working my cardio, drill and roll, or the class, or in a private lesson. My, now less fat, ,ass, is still to fat for the Blue Belt test and I need to increase my cardo endurance.

    On the plus side, I had key lime pie for thanksgiving and some 40 year old port. Somehow the GF managed to sneak off with half the remaining bottle.

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  5. Shakespeare in Love.

    Dragged this out for whatever reason. I still love it from the point where the opening of Romeo and Juliet starts, more “meh” before that. I’ve always wanted to ask the writers if they did that whole sequence first, then worked backwards to set everything up.

    Probably doesn’t hurt that I have a list of historical figures I want to have dinner with and Elizabeth I has been at the top of it since long before the movie.

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