By the time the credits rolled on the final episode of Daredevil season 1, Hell’s Kitchen had seemingly found a savior in the form of blind lawyer Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox). The visually challenged litigator had finally donned his iconic red suit and took to the streets to dish out justice, but with season 2 on the way, it seems he still has trouble coping with the word “hero.” His existential crisis will only be compounded by the arrival of The Punisher (Jon Bernthal), a vigilante who does not share his sense of restraint.
Next to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Bernthal’s Punisher has become arguably the most highly anticipated superhero debut of the next year. He’s an iconic character with a lengthy cinematic resume, but he has never been truly done the justice (pun very much intended) he deserves. If Jeph Loeb — Marvel TV Executive VP — is to be believed, The Punisher’s time to shine has finally come.
Speaking with ComicBook.com, Loeb confidently declared that Bernthal had crafted a dark and faithful version of Frank Castle that will most certainly leave an impression upon audiences:
“Jon Bernthal has succeeded in his quest…His Punisher is extraordinarily memorable, in every way.”
That’s high praise when one considers that The Punisher is actually one of the most often attempted comic book characters on the big screen. By shifting The Punisher away from the limelight and into the status of a pseudo-antagonist, Marvel can delve into the darker elements of the character because he does not necessarily need to be likable or relatable. Unlike most Marvel superheroes, The Punisher has no issue with the wholesale murder of the criminal underworld; he’s a violent, borderline psychotic man who has earned the distrust of people on both sides of the law.
As a result of that characterization, it’s been hard to properly portray him as a protagonist. Between Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane, and Ray Stevenson, no actor has ever been able to hold onto the part for very long due to lukewarm box office performance — although Jane holds a certain cult status among fans for his portrayal of Frank Castle. Now, it seems Daredevil will correct those past errors.
Loeb went on to talk about how Elektra (Elodie Yung) fits into the narrative. He explained that it all boils down to a difference of opinion between these three violent people — Daredevil, Elektra, and The Punisher — with regard to how justice should be served on the streets:
“What’s fantastic about the story is, is that it’s created this enormous division in his life, because the woman that he once loved has returned, and she certainly has some issues with morality, and how you get the job done, and going on the other end of the spectrum is Frank Castle, who believes that justice needs to be served in a particular way.”
Based upon Bernthal’s previous roles, it would seem that The Punisher is in more than capable hands with him. Between his roles in projects like The Walking Dead, and David Ayer’s Fury, the actor has proven time and time again that he is a master of portraying dark, violent characters who firmly believe their way is the right way. Then again, compared to The Walking Dead‘s Shane Walsh, The Punisher is a whole new ballgame, so we will see in time if Loeb’s assessment of Bernthal’s performance is accurate.
Daredevil season 1 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Daredevil season 2 will debut on Netflix on March 18th, 2016, followed by Luke Cage season 1 later in 2016. Release dates for Iron Fist and The Defenders on Netflix have not yet been announced.