Saturday, November 29, 2014


Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher [Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; Blu-ray: $19.99, DVD: $14,99] was released in March of this year as a direct-to-video anime. I got the movie via my local library system.

The basic plot is uncomplicated: the Punisher is tracking down and slaughtering terrorists putting high-tech weapons on the streets he protects. SHIELD is involved because the weapons are stolen SHIELD technology. The Punisher’s goals and those of SHIELD aren’t really in sync. Frank Castle battles the Black Widow, loses, and ends up in SHIELD custody. Castle and the Widow agree to work together to stop the terrorists, but it’s an uneasy alliance.

The movie was made by Madhouse, Inc., a Japanese anime company. The story is by Marjorie Liu, a New York Times best-selling writer who has also written for Marvel’s X-Men comics. The screenplay was by Mitsutaka Hirota, who has written for such animated properties as Pokemon and the X-Men.

The good and the bad of this feature:

The Punisher still doesn’t mix well with traditional Marvel super-heroes, though he and the Widow aren’t bad together. When the two first meet and fight, he’s shooting with seemingly lethal intent at the Widow. That seemed wrong to me, especially considering later scenes when Frank agonizes over having killed innocents.

The Widow is overly flirtatious through the movie and saddled with a cheesy “lost love” romance sub-plot. The resolution of that sub-plot is simplistic.


The voice acting is excellent with Jennifer Carpenter as Natasha, Brian Bloom as Castle, Eric Bauza as Amadeus Cho, Matthew Mercer as Iron Man and Hawkeye and Fred Tatasciore doing his usual terrific job as the Hulk. The animation is dramatic and dynamic, creating a constant (if grim) world for the characters. The stakes for SHIELD and the world become very high very quickly, which justifies neat guest appearances by Captain Marvel and other Avengers. We also get some fun guest turns by villains such as Baron Zemo, Graviton, the Griffin and others. Overall, the film delivers a satisfying story and conclusion. I recommend it.

I’m still weeks away from full-length and regular blogging, but, as time permits, I’ll post short bloggy things like this one. I’ll be back soon (hopefully) with more stuff.

© 2014 Tony Isabella

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