‘The Punisher’ provides messy insight into gun violence discussion

Marvel fans received their first taste of Jon Bernthal’s Punisher during the first trailer for Netflix’s second season of “Daredevil” last year. Fans of the comics caught on to the character’s introduction rather quickly, and the season finale of “Daredevil” season two ended with fans knowing they’d be seeing more of Frank Castle. It wasn’t until April 2016 that Marvel and Netflix confirmed Bernthal would be reprising his role as the Punisher in his own upcoming series.

After binge watching the 13 episodes, sitting on the edge of my seat and struggling to keep down my lunch, I can say with certainty this is the best show to be developed by Marvel and Netflix.

The pilot has a slow start, reintroducing fans to the Punisher and showing us where he is shortly after the events of “Daredevil.” However, the episode ends with good old Castle doing what he does best, killing baddies and doing so without mercy.

The rest of the show continues to build, starting off slow as it introduces its audience to new characters and begins to unravel the mystery behind the real reason why Castle’s family was murdered.

That being said, despite there being a slow start, there’s not a single dull moment during the beginning episodes. Each episode manages to help the audience learn more about each character and their situation, along with the overall role they play in Castle’s journey.

The characters themselves are complex and interesting, Amber Rose Revah and Ebon Moss-Bachrach steal the show, and Ben Barnes takes on the role of the main antagonist amazingly. Though Paul Schulze was an interesting antagonist, it’s clear that Barnes as Billy Russo was meant to be the true villain all along.

The plot isn’t just the Punisher doing what he does best, if the show was nothing but him gunning down baddies the show would be one long, boring action flick. You almost have to work to see Castle doing his thing, and the payoff is great. Every one of Bernthal’s action scenes are suspenseful and fun to watch; it’s almost cathartic watching Castle kill these men who he and the audience know deserve what’s coming to them.

Going beneath the surface, “The Punisher” provides relevant and moving commentary on the treatment of veterans, gun control and domestic terrorist attacks in America. The depictions of veterans going through PTSD and showing an actual struggle with it was one of the show’s strong points. Usually in shows or films about veterans PTSD is widely overlooked, being seen by many as a joke. The arguments on gun control were objective and again, very relevant.

One thing I couldn’t get behind was the fact that the domestic terrorist in the show was mentally ill, suffering from PTSD. However, the fact that the domestic terrorist was a young, Christian white man was a breath of fresh air, especially considering how terrorists are depicted in the media nowadays.