This week, the Internet (briefly) witnessed the first look at the Season 2 teaser trailer for Daredevil, Marvel's first, and rather successful, Netflix series about the Man Without Fear. One of the biggest highlights of the trailer was the introduction of The Punisher, who is finally joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) after having a couple films of his own outside of the major franchise.
Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher, is a very controversial character, being considered a hero by some, and a villain by others. This is widely attributed to Castle's lust for blood. Frank Castle is a vigilante who gets rid of crime bosses, murderers and other criminals in rather permanent ways. Though he is doing good in the world by getting crime of the streets, his methods are very unorthodox in comparison to most other Marvel heroes who avoid killing unless absolutely necessary.
He may be a murderer, but he also does follow a code of sorts by only killing those who are deserving of death (in his opinion), especially those who are out of reach of the justice system because of how hard to catch they are. The real question in play here is whether Frank Castle should be considered a hero, a villain or both. Let's break down this controversial character and find out which profile best connects with The Punisher...
Option 1: The Punisher is a Hero
One can argue that the Punisher is a hero because of the good he does in the world. Many Marvel heroes avoid killing criminals out of a sense of goodness and mercy, yet these criminals will often return to bring back as much havoc as they did before. The Punisher is not held down by this sense of goodness and mercy and eliminates the threats permanently before they even have the chance to return.
One must also look at the reasoning behind Castle's actions. He is driven primarily by an uncontrollable instinct to take lives, which can be attributed both to his Special Operations training during the Vietnam War, and the sudden and violent death of his family by a New York mob which was severely traumatic for him. This combination of training in killing and witnessing the only ones he loved die gave Frank Castle the newfound instincts of murder, which he found to be both uncontrollable and unquenchable.
Though this is a bad instinct to have, Castle decided to put it to good use. He began using his instinct and his abilities to take out serious public and social threats. He killed, but only those who he felt deserved death. He used his circumstances to bring goodness into the world, which is certainly a great description of a hero if you ask me.
Option 2: The Punisher is a Villain
One can also argue that the Punisher is a villain because of how horrendously and viciously he takes out criminals. His methods are unorthodox to the point of being both illegal and heinously evil. Though some of the people he kills are certainly considered to be deserving of death, many of them are not. His killing is ruthless and often uncalled for.
One must also look to the reason why Castle kills so many people. He may kill criminals and murderers, but is he killing for the greater good in order to get them off of the streets, or is he using them as an excuse so he can find pleasure by spilling their blood? There is no denying that The Punisher has a merciless lust for blood and death, and it could be argued that him killing criminals is just his way of quenching his guilty pleasure.
He may try to excuse his actions by claiming they are for the greater good, but what the Punisher does is inherently evil and sick. He kills senselessly, just for the sake of murder. There is no way to possibly describe someone like that as anything but a villain.
Option 3: The Punisher is Both a Hero and a Villain
Castle certainly carries the traits of both a hero and a villain. He commits heinous acts of murder like a villain would, yet uses them for good like a hero would. He is given very unfortunate circumstances of instinctive desires for murder and instead of fighting the evil within himself, he uses this evil to try and do some good in the world.
The Punisher can easily be described as a necessary evil. His actions are evil and wrong, but they are necessary to maintaining a healthy society as he eliminates some of its greatest threats. Frank Castle is, in this case, both a hero and a villain, or an anti-hero as some may call him. His actions are villainous, yet his intentions are heroic. He is a combination of both good and evil, which is probably why we love him so much.
Now you choose!
We have now heard all three cases. The Punisher can be described as a hero because he uses his circumstances to do good in the world. To counter that, he can be also described as a villain because he senselessly murders people for pleasure. Or, he may be both a hero and a villain at the same time. But which one is it?
Which do you think is more likely? Is Frank Castle a hero, a villain or both? Be sure to cast your vote in the poll below! Also, comment your reasoning for your decision, or write your own post about it! Thanks for reading!