The Punisher is arguably Marvel’s darkest, yet most attractive anti-hero. For those of you that don’t know, The Punisher is a comic based around Frank Castle. The ex-marine turned vigilante following the massacre of his family that immediately caught the interest of Marvel readers. After appearing in an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man back in 1974, fans were instantly draw to the brutal world of the man who would bring a one-man war to the criminal world. A war where he takes no prisoners and the only mercy he gives is a quick death.
Frank Castle’s rise to popularity has been slow considering the numerous failed attempts to bring him into the public eye. The first attempt was in 1989 with a film starring action star Dolph Lundgren that failed miserably both critically and financially. The second time would be in 2004 staring Thomas Jane, and it was more acceptable to fans, but still lacking financial success. The final blow came in 2008 with Punisher: War Zone, starring Ray Stevenson, and that’s when Marvel threw in the towel for good reason.
Many thought they had seen the last of a live action punisher until the success of Daredevil, another anti-hero of Marvel that was produced into a series by Netflix. When it was time for season two, many fans rejoiced when they heard that Frank Castle would take part and he was being played by Jon Bernthal. Fans widely accepted the new punisher with open arms and a spin-off staring Bernthal was inevitable. The question is, did the Netflix series succeed where three films failed? The answer is a bloody, broken yes!
The Punisher takes off sometime after the season two events of Daredevil and Frank Castle has gone into hiding after getting justice for his family. Much like any soldier coming home, Frank is having a hard time adjusting to a quiet civilian lifestyle. Frank soon finds that the war he left behind didn’t just come back to haunt him, but also shed more light about the massacre of his family. With the help of a friend, Frank once again finds he must fight this war that never ended if he wants to put it behind him and put certain dreams to rest. It’s arguably Netflix’s bloodiest show that punisher fans would expect from their favorite anti-hero.
The show starts off with a bang but then slowly drags in a few episodes as it heads towards the finale. Once you hit two thirds of the way, the action really picks up and that’s when you want to start the binge watching. Jon Bernthal delivered once again, by bringing the methodical, brutal savagery of Frank Castle. What I love the most about the series is that it took the time to show the mental torment that Frank experiences as he attempts to find a reason to live. Fans will not be disappointed by this show, but they might be bored midway through.
There are several antagonists in this series that make it a mess for a few episodes, but the main antagonist is Billy Russo, played by Ben Barnes. Billy is someone who has a history with Frank Castle. If fans don’t recognize who Billy is, then I promise you that you will at the finale when you see the Easter egg. There’s also an appearance by fan favorite out of Daredevil, Deborah Ann Woll, who plays Karen, a former assistant turned reporter. The show also expresses certain political issues such as gun control and the treatment of soldiers returning home from war.
There was a lot riding on this show and fans were waiting patiently to see this in October, but because of the massacre that occurred in Las Vegas, it was pushed back a month. It’s been a long history of failures for this Marvel character; almost as horrible as the Fantastic Four franchise owned by Fox. Thanks to Netflix and great story telling, Frank Castle has gotten the treatment he deserves and fans can’t be more grateful. It’s a long but brutal, dark and deep story that grabs your attention and for that I give this series nine out of ten stars. The Punisher is a must see for anyone who is a fan of the character or Marvel in general, because this series does Frank Castle justice.