Marvel’s The Punisher is finally out on Netflix. It’s a series that came from the overwhelmingly positive response that Frank Castle received during his time in the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil. Castle is brilliantly portrayed by Jon Bernthal and because of this, he has received a ton of praise from critics and audiences. What makes The Punisher interesting and so beloved is that he is a violent storm of vengeance — an anti-hero willing to do what other superheroes can’t and won’t do. He is definitely entertaining in that regard, but there is something much deeper there: The Punisher is a truly damaged character.
The Punisher has been broken down. This example of a man at his end is a fascinating concept to explore. His damage makes him inherently fascinating, but this fascination is one of importance. It’s important to not only create damaged characters like Frank but to also analyze and look at the reasonings they have for being the way that they are.
Frank is a man who spent years fighting for the United States in some extremely dangerous places. Castle was pushed into a combat zone where he had to fight off enemy combatants for long periods of time. He was inherently gifted at murder, but a toll was definitely felt upon him. Frank did things he was not proud of and came back changed with post-traumatic stress disorder, an infliction that soldiers often face coming back from war. The things that they experience and witness are too much that their psyche can’t be the same afterward.
When Frank comes back to his family he is not the same man, but he still loves and holds onto them because they are the last shred of himself. Then the unthinkable happens as his family is literally taken away from him. This is what breaks him completely, sending him on his rampage. This doesn’t allow him to grieve properly and their deaths are what constantly haunt him. He is the epitome of the word “broken.”
Frank Castle suffers immeasurable PTSD. He’s constantly tormented by both his time at the military and the death of his family. This disorder is an affliction faced by many people. Whether it comes from military action or just traumatic experiences, this is a very real thing. It’s a disorder that has long-lasting psychological effects. It can be treated, but often times it does not and it goes unchecked.
Castle is the perfect example of a manifestation of a real-life issue. While it is obviously unfair to compare people suffering from PTSD to a mass murderer it still stands that Frank is a great person to exhibit the pain that those who do suffer from it feel. Frank is a great example to showcase that those that suffer often don’t get the help they need. They are often neglected and pushed to the side. He’s a voice for those who have none and a perfect character to push these traits onto.
Frank is also a representation of the isolation felt by soldiers when they arrive home. War is hell. There’s no easier way to say that. It takes a toll on everyone involved and it leaves the individual to sometimes find themselves changing and becoming a shell of the person they were before. Frank fits this. The Punisher is a character who does resonate with soldiers and while I have an issue with our military looking up to him as a badass because he kills I feel like he can still be used to ride the line of honesty and highlight true damage and pain.
Observing a completely damaged individual like Frank is important. It allows us to see someone broken. It allows for us to learn and have empathy to those that have been through hell. It’s crucial to look at a character like Frank and analyze him so that a situation like him can be avoided. An extremely harsh topic that has been surrounding The Punisher was the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It’s impossible to avoid discussing such horrendous tragedies. It could be an easy way to look at Frank and see his actions as a glorification of gun violence, but in reality he’s a cautionary tale. While he may be the hero in his stories, Frank can also be a tool to show how not to be like this. It’s a criticism of the ways in which gun violence is used as a means to an end. He uses that, but it’s a result of being broken. Not as a result of pure strength.
A damaged individual is an excellent character to highlight because he or she can be used to create an example of real-world issues. A truly damaged character has a reason for being the way that they are and while some of it is internal it’s often also external. The environment they live in plays a huge factor and with Frank, it’s obvious that being forced into situations of high stress and loss of loved ones has led him down this path. A damaged character can often show that we could even potentially make dark decisions and go down a darker path if we had similar outcomes in our lives. While I highly doubt that most people would be like Frank it’s just a great example of allowing us to feel empathy.
Frank Castle is not the only damaged character there is to offer. Film, television, and comics are filled with people who have been broken, but Frank has worked as a perfect example in this context and a perfect springboard to reflect not only the pain of a personal tragedy but also the pain of living with PTSD. These are important issues that deserve to be represented on screen.
The recent wave of mass shootings and other incidents are examples of how people can feel isolated in our society. Sometimes isolated because of tragedy and sometimes because of mental illness. These issues need to be explored and having fictional characters experience these real-world problems can actually be a major benefit. It’s a teaching moment in a piece of art that also works to entertain.
The exploration of Frank Castle’s Psyche is a fascinating area to dive into given he is a lot more complicated than what is seen at first glance. Emotionally complex and resonating characters are important in art, but they can also be used as tools to bring up excellent points beyond the confines of the screen. Marvel’s The Punisher gives us this in spades and absolutely deserves recognition as well as analysis.
So how do you feel about damaged characters and what we can learn from them? Let us know in the comments!
7 Reasons Why ‘Marvel’s Inhumans’ Failed
The premiere episodes of the ABC Marvel’s Inhumans has already aired with good ratings for ABC, stronger than the Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the final season of Agent Carter but this does not mean it is a success.
Marvel’s Inhumans has been dragged through the mud with critics, many lambasting it as the worst thing Marvel Studios has ever been involved with, and a serious low-point for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I have seen these episodes of Inhumans and I can honestly say that ever criticism is apt. It’s even more apt to say that Inhumans has failed as a series because of its incredibly low approval for its pilot episodes. So how did it happen? Who’s to blame? What reasons can be found to why something that Marvel Studios were trying to do for years has now been reviled by many?
This list is here to detail those reasons why Inhumans failed. Click Next to find out!