We need more Marvel animated features. There is a lot to like here. This movie takes two characters that aren't known for playing nicely with others and forces them to come together. We're used to the action in animated features being a little toned down. With the anime feel from Madhouse, we get a very stylized movie that doesn't hold back.
The movie opens with the Punisher. Immediately you might find yourself asking, is he a hero or a murderer? I mentioned the violence. This movie earns its PG-13 rating. We see people get shot, blood flying, and throats slashed. It's exactly what the Punisher is capable of. I was scratching my head at one point at just how fast he was capable of moving in one fight scene. But what can you do? His design is pretty solid and he plows through the bad guys.
There is some nice animation. I am a fan of most anime and there's something about the whole presentation. The lighting and color gives it all a different feel from the traditional animated features. Of course, if you're not a fan of anime, you might have some problems with this feature.
Black Widow's presentation had some problems. While the voice-acting for her was done well, it kind of didn't sound right for her. Of course she's really curvy. It's unfortunate but, of course, there are some that are okay with this sort of portrayal. It looked as if her waist was super-thin and being able to stand up against Punisher in a fight was impressive with no visible muscle tone. There's also a couple butt shots that had to be included for whatever reason.
The story deals with Nick Fury putting these two together to try to infiltrate and stop an organization called Leviathan. They each have their own motives and the story of each is fleshed out throughout the story. At some points, they end up working separately which makes it feel like we have two separate stories going on.
There are a lot of cameos in the movie despite being a Black Widow/Punisher movie. You'll be happy to see an army of different super-villains that pop up. Of course the Avengers do show up as well but it's interesting that, despite a certain Marvel Studios movie about to be released, Captain America was not on the scene.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray is a Conceptual Art Gallery. It was interesting to see a certain blonde female Avenger designed in both her old and current costume. It's a simple scroll left or right feature. (As I was watching on my PS4, for the life of me, I couldn't get out of the feature without turning off the disc and then restarting it.)
There's a nine minute feature, The Vigilante Vs. the Spy. We hear from Joe Quesada and others about the history of the characters in the comics and how they have had some team-ups in the past, they haven't been the traditional sort.
There's also a ten minute Espionage and Punishment feature. This looks more at the who the characters are compared to each other in the film.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. Marjorie Liu's story brought the characters together nicely and accomplished what the movie needed. There's plenty of action and drama. The characters have some depth added (more so with Black Widow) to make them more relatable. Some scenes got a little outrageous (Punisher fighting a squad of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents) and the inclusion of the Avengers at the end felt a little forced. But these are things expected in the movie. Black Widow's character design could have been beefed up a little but again, that's the style of the genre.
I would like to see more movies in this style. The anime gives it a different feel from what we're used to in comic book features. The fast paced and stylized action really moves things along nicely. Yes, there are some problems but it's a good movie to sit back, watch, and enjoy.