We’ve all had plenty of time to watch it now, and embrace it in all of its ass-kicking, gory, and deathly glory. It goes without saying, The Punisher was always going to be a huge success for Marvel and has definitely lived up to the hype!
We hadn’t seen Jon Bernthal as the iconic character since Daredevil Season 2 came out last year. Since then we’ve had Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders debut on the small screen. It’s been a long wait to see Frank Castle back on our screens, but I think we all agree it was well and truly worth it.
Here, we’ll be looking at the top 5 things we loved about the smash hit that was The Punisher. And of course, an obvious spoiler warning is in effect from here on out.
5. Something completely new
If you thought Daredevil was dark, then you’ll be given the definition of ‘blacker than night’ when you watch The Punisher. It’s bloody, unforgiving, and merciless, with a very real possibility that your favourite character won’t see the end of the 13th episode.
A stark contrast to the light-hearted, family fun Marvel movies, The Punisher was filled with gory horror not seen in any superhero movies, save Logan and Deadpool. Speaking of other superheroes, I think Netflix missed the opportunity to cameo none other than Matt Murdoch, aka, Daredevil in The Punisher series.
4. All new cast
An all-new cast meant all new characters for this series and they sure as hell deliver for the most part. Punisher sidekick and eventual friend, David Lieberman (Micro), played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach (The Lake House, Girls, Come Out and Play) became half of their dynamic duo. My personal favourite addition, as he helped provide some comic relief in the series as well.
Billy Russo, aka Jigsaw, Frank’s long-time friend turned enemy was much loved by fans as a central villain. Brought to life by Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian, Westworld, Seventh Son), he looks set to be the villain for season 2. Marvel went even as far as to have him go from pretty boy, to having a sliced face, thanks to Frank smashing him into a glass mirror. The studio is known for comic book accuracy, and they continue that here.
Homeland security agent Dinah Madani was a TV original character, with no comic book character to adapt from. Portrayed by Amber Rose Revah (Son of God, From Paris With Love, The Bible), it was a gamble that paid off immensely, as Amber absolutely nailed her role as the badass detective. Her and Castle effectively wanted the same thing, it’s a shame it took them so long to realise… Her co-worker Sam Stein might just have seen the end of the season. #RIP.
Many other characters helped make the show so great. Curtis, heading the therapy group for soldiers back home; Lewis, the deranged bomb totting murderer suffering from PTSD; and Rawlins, a dirty agent who gets more than he bargained for when he tried taking on The Punisher.
3. Real world-problems
It’s no secret gun violence is becoming a concern. So much so that Marvel cancelled their Punisher panel at Comic-con, and delayed the release of a trailer. It does make sense, and the series, whilst it does use guns (duh), also addresses the very real threat of domestic terrorism. We are then left to decide what makes Frank Castle so different from such a criminal.
Lewis Walcott, a soldier now coping with home life back in America, is used in an interesting way to almost demote Castle from an anti-hero figure to a villain. Of course, there is a clear difference between a man who kills criminals, and one who blows up civilians. However, the only line is that we know – or think we know – that Frank wouldn’t ever stoop to such levels and kill innocents… again.
2. I’m only human, after all
Frank is potentially the most human person of anyone with a titular movie or TV show in the MCU. He doesn’t have any powers, no special abilities to give him an edge. This is what we love about him; this is what makes him human.
He also suffers from PTSD, something many soldiers returning from war experience. This occurs on many occasions, from violent outbursts at allies, to times when he can’t think straight, in what may seem like a simple situation.
Bernthal does such a convincing act of this, only adding to his character. Some of the cast were in fact war veterans themselves and presumably would have spoken to Frank about the issue.
1. Bad-ass savagery
Let’s be honest, this is why we all watched the show. Seeing Castle mercilessly take down an elite squad of soldiers is what we had all been looking forward to. Using everything from guns to hammers, knives, and cars, Frank makes full use of everything he can get his hands on. The iconic primal roar he gives off in such scenes adds so much, further contributing to the show’s success.
The very first episode, seeing him use a hammer to beat down thugs. The car chase scene in episode 3. Or episode 11, bringing down everyone every soldier pitted against him with surgical precision. We won’t be forgetting the epic finale between Castle and Russo, bitter enemies who are incredibly similar, yet couldn’t be more different. My point is, there are countless times when we all thought: This. This is Punisher.
So there you have it. What were your favourite things about the show? How would you rank it among the other Marvel Netflix series? For an overview of the Punisher, click here!