Why The Punisher Could Ruin Daredevil

The trailer for the second season of Marvel's Daredevil has dropped, and it's finally given us a full view of Jon Bernthal's version of Frank Castle, the anti-hero that comic fans know as the Punisher. Season two promises to be a spirited debate between Daredevil and the Punisher over vigilante crimefighting ethics in Hell's Kitchen...except, instead of talking, the two will likely debate via punches, karate kicks, and bullets. Even though fans of the black-clad executioner have been disappointed time and again by various Punisher films, hopes remain high in this new age of Marvel... probably too high, which is why we need to think about how the Punisher could totally derail the series.

So much angst

Matt Murdock carries around enough oppressive angst and guilt for ten superheroes. The guy has to go for regular guilt-dumps at the confessional of his local church just so he can get through the week. By season two, despite accomplishing great good, Matt is still a very conflicted man, so when the Punisher shows up, dripping with his own psychosis and angst over the death of his beloved family, it may just be too much for an audience to bear. If the whole thing turns into a weepy, screamy episode of Maury, we're out. We're here for the battle of good versus evil, not wishy versus washy.

Too much violence

Daredevil's presence on Netflix means that it's been able to get a bit more violent than your general hero fare, going beyond Marvel's movies in terms of blood and graphic fight junk. Season one was exhausting to watch because each fight just turned into an unbelievable series of injuries, ranging from punches to ninja hooks embedded in guts, and not a single combatant stayed down once they were beaten half to death. The unrelenting fights have already reached the maximum amount of acceptably believable violence, but the introduction of a character who thrives on it may just push that suspension of disbelief over the edge.

Punisher is actually boring

Frank Castle, as far as comics are concerned, is usually a single-minded man with a huge collection of guns, and a whole lot of bullets that he wants to put into criminals to ease his pain. He's had lots of comic series, some action figures, and even a set of scratch-and-sniff trading cards that smelled like gunpowder. But, truth be told, he's not a terribly interesting character. He's written for an audience who wants to see grit and guns, and who buy Punisher skull stickers for their pickup trucks. In Marvel terms, he's a greyscale guy against the rainbow of the Avengers, and that's not very exciting.

We already have Civil War

Marvel's already doing an epic film about heroes fighting other heroes because of differing philosophies about how to fight evil, and it's a big deal. While the big conflict in Daredevil is more along the lines of whether or not murder is justified against recurring evil, seeing heroes fight each other instead of bad guys is the big theme of the next wave of superhero films, whether it's Deadpool punching Colossus, or Batman v Superman, or Daredevil versus Punisher. We haven't even seen these films yet and it's already enough of the same thing. Bring back the real bad guys, please.

Jon Bernthal

If the guy playing Punisher looks familiar, it's because he's the guy who started in on Rick Grimes' wife in The Walking Dead and couldn't let her go once Rick regained consciousness. It's hard to get a good read on whether or not Bernthal is a solid actor. That's because it's difficult to get past him being a sad-eyed thug and view him as any character but Jon Bernthal, also known as "the guy who posts pictures of himself giving the finger on his Twitter page between poorly punctuated cliches." Maybe that's a perfect intellectual match for the relatively simplistic Punisher, but it looks like a hard hill to climb.


Much of Daredevil's first season was filled with flashbacks to Matt Murdock's origin story, which is great for a series called Daredevil. There's a series about Punisher in early development at Netflix, but the studios haven't absolutely committed to the idea yet, waiting to see how fans react to his appearance in Daredevil first. As such, there's a possibility that a good chunk of Daredevil will be flashing back to what turned Frank Castle into the Punisher, instead of focusing on the current action. You usually can't have a compelling hero without an origin, but another origin story for a guest character in this series could slow the momentum to a crawl.


From the weird whispering of nursery rhymes to stalking a carousel, it looks like this Punisher is more of a secret creep than a tough, fearless vigilante. Honestly, if we didn't know who this guy was already, the second season of Daredevil could easily be about a guy with a weird nose who has a collection of children in his basement. The whole thing has a very weird Dexter Trinity Killer feel that's totally out of character for any Punisher ever written, so if we're going for explosions, let's just focus on explosions, and not weird allusions to the loss of childhood innocence.