Films

The Punisher 101

The lowdown on Marvel’s greatest anti-hero

New to Netflix, Marvel’s The Punisher is the latest attempt to bring one of the darkest comic book characters into the light. Having been played on film by Dolph Lundgren (camp-y) and Thomas Jane (good), this new version looks to do a believable anti-hero in an age of do-gooding superheroes. This is what you need to know…

1 First introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man issue #129, The Punisher is Frank Castle, an ex-marine-turned-vigilante, driven by the murder of his wife and children at the hands of the Mob. He makes Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle look well adjusted.

2 In the Netflix version, Castle is played by Jon Bernthal, perhaps best known for playing Shane Walsh in The Walking Dead. Taking his cue from the 2012 Punisher short film, Dirty Laundry, starring Thomas Jane, Bernthal has a clear view of the character’s neurosis.

“He ain’t got a fucking cape. He ain’t got any superpowers. He’s a fucking tortured, angry father and husband who’s living in this unbelievable world of darkness and loss and torment.” In this TV version, his rage is linked to his background in the military.

3Castle was introduced into the Marvel Netflix universe in season 2 of Daredevil. The creative dynamo behind The Punisher series is Steve Lightfoot, an executive producer and writer on Hannibal. Lightfoot cut his teeth on TV stalwarts like Casualty and Taggart (“There’s been a murder”). But this is blood and guts on a whole new level.

4 In perhaps the only thing that The Punisher has in common with Beyoncé, the show was originally going to be a “surprise” drop. The announcement was going to be made at the New York Comic-Con in early October yet the tragic shooting in Las Vegas saw the series put on hold out of respect. The November 17 release date was confirmed two weeks later.

5 The score for the show has been written by Tyler Bates, the composer behind the Guardians Of The Galaxy scores. Yet perhaps the show’s musical anthem comes from its trailer song. Metallica’s ‘One’, from their album ‘…And Justice For All’, is the story of a soldier traumatised by the ravages of war and plays perfectly into the show’s themes.

6 Early word on the show has been strong. Film industry bible Variety raved, “In all, “The Punisher” is not just satisfying but surprising — an interpretation of Netflix and Marvel’s tried-and-true partnership that offers more depth and challenges to the audience than even the gritty world of Marvel’s Jessica Jones.” Vox added, “The Punisher, like Marvel’s very best Netflix series, gives its title character a bloody good introduction.”

Consider us excited….

Marvel’s The Punisher is on Netflix from November 17

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