Film Review: The Punisher (2017)

This show follows up from the second season of Daredevil (2015) on Netflix and tells the story of the events of Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), commonly referred to as his nickname, The Punisher. Castle deals with the trauma over his loss of his wife Maria and his daughter Lisa throughout the film, connecting to modern mental health issues. However, it also connects later to his role in the military, as Castle reveals that due to his role in many corrupt murders in Afghanistan and his later requested transfer out of the army, his commanding officer William Rawlins (Paul Schulze), known as Agent Orange, ordered his death, with Castle’s best friend at the time, Billy Russo (Ben Barnes), contributing to the order. However, Castle survives and seeks vengeance for his family, with violence surrounding most of the show series.

One thing I found interesting about the series is Frank’s methods towards achieving his goals. Although it is often perceived that “good guys do not kill” in many superhero movies/TV series, Castle crosses that line completely. He is perceived as a vigilante and uses brute force and murder to remove anyone who tries to threaten the safety of others, such as robbers, criminals, and gang members, just to name a few. His methods often come to the disapproval of cops, such as Brett Mahoney (Royce Johnson) and Dinah Madani (Amber Rose Revah), who strongly believe in finding ways to justice without resorting to physical violence and harm. However, both end up acknowledging that Frank’s methods are what they are and that they must let Castle be who he is since every effort to change him has failed miserably. His methods, while questionable, bring more complexity towards the question of morals and good against evil towards the story and to the characters.

Another thing I also found interesting about the series is Frank’s connection with his allies. Although Russo and Castle later fight due to Russo’s involvement in the death of Frank’s family, they used to be close friends prior to the murders and had a close bond with which many people, from school teens to adults, can relate to these days. Russo’s later betrayal deeply affects Castle, as Castle saw Russo as family and this brought the two to separate sides. Castle also ends up siding with David Libermann, also known as Micro (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) to bring Rawlins and Russo to justice, and bond over experiences in life and their partnership. While Castle can be seen as the brawns of the group, Micro makes up the brains of their dynamic, using his computer to hack into systems and gain information that can be used to further influence the success of their missions. Another character that connects with Castle is Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), who also gives information to Castle and shares a deep connection with Castle from the previous series Daredevil to the current show. Although Page is not featured as heavily as Russo or Micro, her friendship with Frank is clear throughout their scenes together.

Overall, this show is an interesting watch and I’d highly recommend anyone to watch it. This show used to be on Netflix, but moved to Disney+ along with more Marvel series, and even though it was discontinued in 2019, I hope that this new transfer gives way to more season of this show.