Wherever Frank Castle goes, hell follows. Out of all of Marvel’s popular superheroes, The Punisher has always held a unique space in the minds of people since his comic book debut 40 years ago. His take-no-prisoners style of justice taps into a darker reality much like our own, where only brutal and quick justice is the answer to the crimes committed.
For his current television incarnation, the character’s savage and bloody spirit is out in full glory in the highly anticipated second season of the Marvel/Netflix series.
Warning: spoilers ahead.
When we last saw Castle (Jon Bernthal) in season one, he had finally avenged his slain family and took down those responsible, which included his best “frenemy” Billy Russo (Ben Barnes).
Now having left New York City behind, he takes to the roads of the Midwest, aimless and free. But the quiet life is never in the cards for a man like Castle. A chance rescue of a teenage grifter (Giorgia Whigham) in a bar leads Castle down a path of dark conspiracy, unfinished business and a full embrace of a darkness within that he can never escape.
Season two embraces the crazy aspects of the comics in terms of its hyper violence and The Punisher’s knack for getting out of near-impossible fatal situations. But where character and story development were the great takeaways of season one, season two falls short.
The overall plot is too broad to let viewers commit to Castle’s new mission. The reintroduction of Russo struggling with the trauma left by The Punisher is interesting but drawn out too long over the 13-episode season.
However, Jon Bernthal again gives an amazing performance as Frank Castle and solidifies himself as this generation’s definitive version of the character.
Overall, this season of “The Punisher” is not as strong as the first but will surely please fans who wanted more of the bullets and carnage that may have been lacking before. Its cynical nature is more prominently on display, tapping into the vain which made this character so enduring.
If anything, this season leaves an open door of possibility of the kind of hell The Punisher can bring to those unlucky enough to cross his path.