Avengers Confidential – Black Widow & Punisher (12A) / Director: Kenichi Shimizu / Screenplay: Mitstaka Hirota / Starring: Brian Bloom, Jennifer Carpenter, John Eric Bentley, Grant George / Released: Out Now
The latest Marvel effort to be animated by the guys at Madhouse, Avengers Confidential looks to give some attention to Black Widow (Carpenter) and The Punisher (Bloom), two characters often left in the shadows of Captain America, Iron Man, et al. After Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, interferes in a S.H.I.E.L.D. mission, he’s taken prisoner by Nick Fury (Bentley) and his organisation. Then, when the Leviathan terrorist group gets hold of some S.H.I.E.L.D. plans, Fury’s only option is to team The Punisher up with Black Widow in the hope that the feisty duo can save the day.
Avengers Confidential is a feature that certainly shows some promise, although it ultimately feels a little flat when all is said and done. Key to the film’s charm, though, is the use of erratic, violent lone-wolf Frank Castle. After appearing in a supporting role in last year’s Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, also from Madhouse, Castle gets to take centre-stage here. And with Black Widow thrown in for good measure, this animated fare shows off two of the darker heroes that reside within the Marvel world. Whilst Widow has a few moments to shine, it’s the dirty, brutal, and trigger-happy Punisher who steals the show. Widow takes her orders from Fury, whereas Castle has no hesitation in giving S.H.I.E.L.D. the finger.
The dynamic between The Punisher and Black Widow works relatively well, and Castle’s anti-authoritarianism and single focus makes for a refreshing change in a Marvel movie…
For the full review, head over to Starburst Magazine.