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– by Michael Connally

 

Jon Bernthal’s appearance as Frank Castle (aka The Punisher) in last year’s Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix was a huge breakout moment for both actor and series. The conflict, tension, action, and general bad-assery of Bernthal’s Punisher was beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. The final scene of the season’s first episode, midnight on a Hell’s Kitchen rooftop sighting a scumbag through sniper scope — and the subsequent hand-to-hand battle with Daredevil (Charlie Cox) — set an explosive tone and attitude for the entire season. Bernthal conveyed strength, vulnerability, and (dark) humor while exuding a coiled-spring menace that made it impossible to know what he would do from one moment to the next. His performance was so powerful that barely a month after Daredevil Season 2 dropped, a well-earned (and highly-anticipated) spin-off was greenlit. We last saw Castle burning his house to the ground and providing cover fire for Daredevil in the season finale against The Hand — where this new series goes is anyone’s guess (and probably a major part of its appeal).

Bernthal conveyed strength, vulnerability, and (dark) humor while exuding a coiled-spring menace that made it impossible to know what he would do from one moment to the next. His performance was so powerful that barely a month after Daredevil Season 2 dropped, a well-earned (and highly-anticipated) spin-off was greenlit. We last saw Castle burning his house to the ground and providing cover fire for Daredevil in the season finale against The Hand — where this new series goes is anyone’s guess (and probably a major part of its appeal).

Frank Castle is certainly not the only hard-bitten, ex-military, anti-hero with a chip on his shoulder in the Marvel Universe (see: Wolverine). However, his appeal is rooted in his humanity and his struggles with PTSD (even though Castle vehemently denies this). The character also strongly resonates with active duty troops and military veterans, as perhaps only Captain America can lay claim. The Punisher is unlike any other Marvel character.

So, who is Frank Castle and what can we expect in this fall’s The Punisher? According to an interview with LA Talk Radio, one of the show’s directors Stephen Surjik, says that the upcoming Netflix series will express a more adult and mature tone than the other Marvel superhero shows:

“It is different than the other Marvel shows insofar as it is an adult drama. There are no superpowers. You know the Punisher is a character who is based on vengeance, fundamentally. His family was victims of some horrific thing, but the character himself is well-known and the way that they approach it is very different from the other shows.”

Ultimately, Frank Castle is just a man, albeit highly trained by the Marines and hardened in combat. However, his lack of super powers is hardly a weakness, it’s actually one of his biggest strengths. Nearly every Marvel hero is driven by loss or regret (generally crime-related), and a deep sense of justice. Castle is no different in this regard, but he stands out partly because of his take-no-prisoners attitude, which he definitively stated to Daredevil last season, “you hit ’em and they get back up, I hit them and they stay down.” That’s it, that’s his appeal, pragmatic and simple — The Punisher kills evil dead. Surjik is a veteran film and TV director (including episodes of Arrow, The Flash, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and The Defenders). He doesn’t have a lot more to say about The Punisher, aside from “It’s really good,” however, Surjik also talks about The Defenders andshares some insights regarding Marvel’s development processes on the other Netflix shows. It’s a long radio interview, but well worth the listen (click the “SOURCE” link below). What do you want and expect from Netflix’s The Punisher series? Let us know in the comments down below! The Punisher series hits Netflix in November 2017 (TBD).