On November 17th, Marvel’s The Punisher will make its worldwide debut on Netflix with 13 action-packed episodes exploring the trials and tribulations of everyone’s favorite vigilante. Having seen the first six episodes of Steve Lightfoot’s gripping series, I can personally say that The Punisher is the best Marvel Netflix show of the year thanks to a talented cast, intriguing narrative and a raw and unforgiving depiction of violence that perfectly mirrors what you would see in the comics.
One of the main reasons why this is a standout Marvel show is because of the incredible performance put on by Jonathan Edward Bernthal as Frank Castle / The Punisher. Here is some more insight on the talented actor and why I feel he is the perfect version of the iconic character to date.
Prior to Marvel selecting him for the role as The Punisher in the second season of Daredevil, Bernthal gained a lot of popularity for his portrayal of Shane Walsh on AMC’s The Walking Dead TV series. Shane was the best friend turned bitter enemy of Rick Grimes and the possible biological father of Judith Grimes. The character as a whole was very complicated but allowed Bernthal to channel emotions of jealousy, anger, and sadness all while having the charismatic personality of someone you want to root for but know is slowly losing their grip on reality. The end result of his emotionally charged performance on this show succeeded in echoing the sentiments of how an event as catastrophic as the zombie apocalypse can ruin the lives, relationships and mental stability of those experiencing it.
Since leaving The Walking Dead, Bernthal has had the pleasure of starring in several feature films including The Wolf of Wall Street, Fury, The Accountant and Baby Driver. While he has played interesting characters in all of these films, the role that seems to suit him best right now is that of Frank Castle aka The Punisher. Daredevil Season 2 gave us a brief glimpse into the character and how his thirst for revenge often crossed the line in others eyes including a like-minded vigilante in Matt Murdock himself. Bernthal has also described this version of The Punisher as an individual that resonates with law enforcement and military while also not caring if he offends anyone that may disagree with his actions.
Now in a spotlight series of his own, Bernthal has elevated the character to new heights by giving both new and longtime fans of The Punisher deeper insight into his backstory and how he operates daily on a day-to-day basis. We already know that Frank still hasn’t fully recovered from the loss of his family and the larger conspiracy that is uncovered throughout the season keeps these horrific memories fresh in his mind. What we do discover is that due to his past, Frank is very much a loner and finds it hard building relationships with others for fear that he may put them in danger later. The same point can also be said of his struggles to trust certain people and is a key reason why he chooses to keep his interactions minimal in most cases.
In portraying a character that is a bonafide badass, Bernthal does also succeed in showing Castle’s vulnerable side. By falling victim to his adversaries at certain instances, the audience is instantly reminded that Frank isn’t unstoppable and fully capable of being killed at any time. This brings a much-needed sense of realism and humanity to the idea of Marvel heroes, something that I fully expect to be depicted once heroes start dropping left and right at the hands of Thanos in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War saga.
While I’ve only seen half of Marvel’s The Punisher, I’m confident in saying that the show has already far exceeded my expectations in almost every way imaginable. Jonathan Edward Bernthal is the big reason why as his acting is nothing short of masterful and brings every aspect of Castle to life on the screen. If you’ve been following his career up to this point, then you already know what he is capable of and I can personally guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.
Marvel’s The Punisher debuts on Netflix starting on November 17th. Are any of you planning on checking out the show? Please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.