“After the murder of his family, Marine veteran Frank Castle becomes the vigilante known as “The Punisher,” with only one goal in mind: to avenge them”. –IMDB
When I first heard Jon Bernthal was going to be playing the Punisher in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) I immediately agreed with the decision. Recalling his character, Shane from The Walking Dead, I knew this actor could pull it off.
Shane was a conflicted character known to show a range of emotions from loving and caring to raw untamed violence. This type of range came in very handy for the first two seasons of The Punisher on Netflix.
When Bernthal first appeared as The Punisher it was in Season 2 of a daredevil. In that season we mostly saw his aggressive side, although there were moments of warmth between him and Karen Page as well as some nice “buddy cop” moments between him and the series main character Matt Murdock/Daredevil. It wasn’t until the first season of his solo show that we got a better glimpse of that conflict inside the killer.
If you don’t know much about Frank Castle AKA The Punisher, he’s a vigilante like Batman, but he uses guns, he isn’t rich and he could care less about killing criminals. In fact, you could say he gets off on it. His wife and kids were murdered and he’s been taking his revenge out on ‘bad guys’ ever since.
Since I am talking about season 2 here, I’ll try and skip over more of the season 1 stuff, but there’s a correlation between the two seasons that I must point out. I’m also trying not to mistakenly give away any spoilers.
By the end of season 2, the one thing that stuck out in my mind was Frank’s relationship with kids. I feel like they are his sole connection with humanity.
In season 1 it’s his connection with a ‘friends’ wife and kids that helps Frank cope with the murder of his family at least for a while. Before his interactions with this family, he was just a vigilante killer using violence to ease his pain and revenge to keep him focused.
In season 2 he is again faced with the task of protecting a kid, this time a young girl who is a lot older than his daughter was when she was murdered. Throughout the season all the way up to the last episode, you can tell that Frank looked at this young lady as an older version of his own child. This type of affection is very interesting because it’s simultaneously Frank’s only weakness and his greatest strength.
He could have minded his business and not even gotten involved with this troubled girl, but as time goes on you realize that was never possible. It’s almost as if these situations seek out and find Frank. Maybe they do.
I don’t think a person or character like Frank will ever be able to totally get over the death of his family, but believe it or not, that is a good thing. If he ever fully recovers from his tragedy he won’t have a purpose anymore. With people like this, know-how that will end up.
As long as there is a woman or some kids to save, Frank will always have a reason to keep going. This means bad guys will keep getting wiped out, serving as an eye-opener to criminals who might be on the fence about continuing their current line of work.
While some people might feel that allowing one man to serve as judge, jury, and executioner is an irresponsible way to keep law and order, I can guarantee you their minds would change if a guy like this was their last, best hope of staying alive.
In this series, the character of Frank Castle is creatively given a realistic modern twist that was not seen in all previous iterations on film. In addition to his storyline, there are various other intertwined that are equally as interesting.
While there are some of those comic book moments that cause you to momentarily suspend disbelief, everything that happens is plausible and the acting and action sequences come across as authentic. That’s not an easy goal to accomplish with a viewer like me.
If I were to assume where his mind is by the end of this enjoyable season, I would say that Frank Castle has decided that he is probably going to hell if it exists. With the life he has lived he probably wonders if it can be any worst. He’s the type of guy who would probably argue with God on Judgement Day and you know what, he might just have a solid case.
After season 2 The Punisher was canceled by Netflix, but this most likely has something to do with the fact that Disney owns the rights to the character and they are starting their own competing streaming service.