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Does It Make Sense To Bring The Punisher To Disney+? – ScreenHub Entertainment – ScreenHub Entertainment

Recently, Variety ran a story that revealed that Jon Bernthal would be returning as Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher in Disney+’s Daredevil: Born Again series. Questions have already been posed about the tone of this new Daredevil show. The Netflix original was certainly dark and violent, but I think it can be toned down in such a way that it keeps the same spirit but without all the blood. But can the same philosophy be applied to The Punisher, the most violent character in Marvel’s roster? Let’s break it down.

Netflix’s foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was something of a weird experience. For one, we still don’t know 100% if what we saw was in fact, the MCU and it kind of doesn’t matter. Wilson Fisk’s return in Hawkeye showcased a different personality than seen before and Matt Murdock was much goofier in She-Hulk. So there is precedent for Netflix characters coming back and not being quite the same version as we’ve seen before. I think we can safely assume then that this version of Frank Castle will be, in some way shape or form, different than how he was in his own show and in Daredevil season 2. In the case of the Punisher, I think the knee-jerk expectation is that the depiction of violence surrounding the character will be heavily altered.

But then the question that arises is, why bother bringing Frank Castle back if you have to neuter him? By his very nature, Frank Castle is a hold-no-bars, horrifically violent individual who thinks taking out the trash is the only way to secure peace. Contrast that with Matt Murdock, lawyer by day, vigilante by night, who despite beating bad guys to a pulp, still hands them over to the courts at the end of the day for justice. Since Daredevil never kills, it’s easier to modify him for a Disney+ series. The Dark Knight has shown us we can do dark without the need for blood. So I’m less worried about the depiction of violence in Born Again. I’m fine with there being less blood, but I do hope we get awesome corridor fight scenes still.

[Credit: Marvel]

But Punisher thrives in the blood and carnage. Violence and mayhem almost define this vigilante. So it would seem counter to the character to have his violence sanitized. So there’s a few options to consider then for the Disney+ debut of the character. One, as previously mentioned, Disney will be forced to tone down the violence of the character. They may very well even have to remove the iconic skull symbol from his outfit, as the Punisher skull has been reappropriated by hate groups and the far-right over the years. Which is really ironic, at least according to Punisher creator Gerry Conway, who stated that the Neo-Nazi’s who’ve opted to use the skull as one of their symbols is counter to everything Castle stands for in an interview after Charlottesville. “They’re despicable human beings, and Frank Castle would have all of them in his crosshairs. The fact that white nationalists and Nazis embrace it is a tragic misunderstanding. It’s a misappropriation of the character and a blatant disregarding of reality. They literally do not know what they are fucking talking about.”

So a less violent and skull-less Punisher could very well be the outcome. But what’s the point of bringing him back if you do this? But I would imagine this is the ultimate outcome. This way, Disney can give fans a familiar Punisher, but keep him within the confines of what the streamer would allow. He can be dramatic and have action scenes, but won’t be coated in the blood of his enemies and he can just wear a black top. In the end, the spirit of the character remains.

The second option would be to embrace the Punisher. Kevin Feige recently said that Deadpool would be joining the MCU and that the upcoming third film, directed by Shawn Levy, will be the first R-rated MCU movie. So maybe Marvel and Disney are toying with the idea that not everything has to be kid-friendly, that it’s okay to produce content that’s more targeted towards adults. So if Deadpool can be tossing F-bombs and shooting up all the baddies in bloody fashion with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (last seen in his own R-rated romp of his own in Logan). If you’re bringing The Punisher back, why not just bring him back as is. Like Daredevil, he already has an established audience who will expect some level of consistency with the character.

[Credit: Marvel]

Personally, I think they should just accept the character. Disney owns Punisher through its ownership of Marvel and by his very nature, he’s a controversial character, always has been. But he’s quite popular, maybe sometimes with the wrong crowd, but enough that fans are excited about the prospect of his return. Maybe heads won’t go splat, but as long as Punisher offers compelling drama (akin to the rooftop episode in season two of Daredevil), great action scenes like the prison sequence, I think fans will be happy, even if it’s a hard TV-14. But if we can live in a world where the MCU will have a theatrical R-rated movie, perhaps there’s room for TV-MA as well.


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