By Chloe Steinig
After being pushed back earlier this year in October in light of the Las Vegas shooting, Marvel’s “The Punisher” hit Netflix on Nov. 17.
The delay came as a surprise to fans, as The Punisher is essentially a mass murdering anti-hero. Yet it is his character that invites discussion on gun control, war, and post-traumatic stress disorder in a way that is so realistic it hurts.
Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) is a former Marine who is struggling with not only his time spent on the front, but with the murder of his wife and kids. He isolates himself from the world in every way possible, from not talking at his construction job to even standing outside the room but still listening to his PTSD therapy group. Once he realizes he is being followed by Homeland Security agent Dinah Madani (Amber Rose Revah), as he is presumed dead, he must come out of isolation to evade detection. Castle once again becomes the Punisher, as he was known during his time with the Marines, and begins the hunt for the person who killed his family while evading the government he once served for.
Micro/ David Liberman (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) is made out to be another villain chasing Castle, but they end up working together. They bond over their mutual distrust of government, as Micro is an ex-NSA analyst who was shot and presumed dead for leaking information. However Castle still runs the show, using his grief-turned-anger to get back at his family’s killer and to expose Anvil, a group of private contractors who appear to be supplying weapons to people who shouldn’t have them.
“The Punisher” is different from the handful of Marvel’s Netflix shows: it’s dark, bleak, and hopelessly pessimistic. However, it is impactful and very close to its source material. At 13 episodes, it sometimes drags, feeling a bit too long. Regardless, the fight scenes blow the rest of the Marvel shows out of the water, almost too hard-hitting at times. While it may lack the super-powered fantasy worlds of its predecessors, “The Punisher” is a harsh dose of reality, questioning what a hero really is.