ByKatie Granger, writer at
MP Staff Writer, come to bargain.
Katie Granger

Daredevil Season 2 production is officially underway as of last month in East Harlem, the highly anticipated second season of the runaway hit show predicted to premier on Netflix in "early 2016" according to the titular actor, Charlie Cox.

It was confirmed a while back that we're going to see The Walking Dead's Jon Bernthal making an appearance as popular anti-hero Frank Castle A.K.A. the Punisher, and though we're still being kept almost entirely in the dark as to plot details showrunner Marco Ramirez has described the upcoming season as “Daredevil vs. the Punisher.”

Exciting stuff.
Exciting stuff.

How does the Punisher fit into the MCU?

Daredevil forms part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which means that though the events may not always be directly related, everything that happens in Daredevil takes part in the same universe as that of The Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, Hulk and Ant-Man.

In fact, the events of The Avengers had a significant impact upon everything that happens in Daredevil, and there's loads of mentions of and nods towards that. Following the damage caused to the neighbourhood of Hell's Kitchen during the Battle of New York, also referred to as 'The Incident', criminal gangs (including the Russian and Chinese mafia and the Yakuza) have taken control of the area, and it is this rising criminal element that Matt Murdock/Daredevil fights against throughout season 1.

Both Daredevil and The Punisher have appeared in their own self-titled movies outwith the MCU before. The less being said about the 2003 Daredevil movie the better, the Punisher has had three cinematic iterations; The Punisher (1989); The Punisher (2004) and Punisher: War Zone, a 2008 reboot.

These films aren't directly connected, they star different actors as the titular character and they don't form part of the MCU, so they won't have that much of a narrative bearing on Daredevil season 2, but they do provide source elements of character that makes them worth looking at (until we get to see some more details about our new Punisher that is).

The Punisher (1989)

Who's our Punisher?

The one, the only, 80's action hero Dolph Lundgren.

What's the story?

The Punisher is a pretty typical 80's action flick, with plenty of blood, violence and ninjas. Frank Castle/the Punisher wages a one-man war against the mob as revenge for his families deaths, but when the Yakuza start showing up and kidnapping the children of the mob families he is forced to take up arms against them too, because the Punisher doesn't let kids get hurt even if their parents suck.

How was the film received?

"marred by cheeseball sets and special effects, lame fight sequences, and some of the worst acting ever to disgrace the screen." - Christopher Null

Not well, it received mainly negative reviews. It's often criticised for the fact that it has next to nothing to do with the comic book Punisher; the character omitting the elements of Frank Castle that made him a compelling character, and he doesn't even wear his trademark skull, tsk tsk.

The Punisher (2004)

Who's our Punisher?

This time round it's Thomas Jane taking the reigns, and he's proved to be an unlikely fan favourite.

What's the story?

2004's version is more of an origin story, chronicling how Frank Castle family man became the vigilante Punisher. After FBI agent Frank Castle is involved in an undercover bust that ends with Bobby Saint, son of crime boss Howard Saint, shot and killed, the mobster has Castle's entire extended family murdered, including his wife and young son. After nearly dying himself, Castle returns to take revenge on the police and agents who sold him out to Saint, as well as destroying Saint's business, family and life along the way.

How was the film received?

"The Punisher is so grim and cheerless, you wonder if even its hero gets any satisfaction from his accomplishments." - Roger Ebert

Again the film received mainly negative reviews, though some reviewers have defended it for it's more faithful adaptation of the Punisher, Jane's performance, and the old-school action style of the 60's and 70's that it embodies.

Punisher: War Zone (2008)

Who's our Punisher?

Northern-Irish actor, Ray Stevenson, who you may recognise also as Volstagg of the Warrior's Three in Thor and [Thor: The Dark World](tag:206462). Marvel-ception!

What's the story?

This film takes place later in the Punisher's narrative, five years after he's taken on that title. Near the beginning of the film the Punisher disfigures the vain hitman Billy "The Beaut" Russotti by throwing him into a glass crushing machine. During this fight the Punisher is responsible for the death of an undercover agent, which causes him to consider quitting as he tries to make reparations to the agent's family. Billy remerges, hideously disfigured, as the villain Jigsaw, one of the Punisher's archenemies. Swearing revenge on Castle, he goes after him and the dead agents family who the Punisher is now trying to protect.

How was the film received?

"You used to be able to depend on a terrible film being poorly made. No longer. The Punisher: War Zone is one of the best-made bad movies I've seen." - Roger Ebert

If you guessed mainly negatively... you'd be right, though it did receive more mixed reviews than it's predecessors. Again a lot of the criticism came from what fans perceived as a poor adaptation of the character caused by not staying in line with the source material.

So, judging from the way the Punisher has been received before, I think it's probably fair to say that if the writers do a good job of holding true to the original character, Bernthal should be just fine.

What do you think? Have your say in the comments or on our poll below.


Are you looking forward to seeing Berthnal's take on the Punisher?


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