There have been a few men that have played the Punisher and so far none of them have really nailed it. The hope is that Jon Bernthal will take that mantle and make it mean something again, and so far from the trailer it doesn’t look like he’s going to disappoint. He’s playing a version of the man in the black shirt that’s completely off the chain, ready to go nuts at any moment and kill those he’s become the sworn enemy of. That’s the Punisher.
In the comics the Punisher was always the guy that would go further than the rest of the heroes. In fact he didn’t even consider himself a hero most times, just a guy doing what he knew was right. He went after the worst of the worst a lot of times, taking down petty criminals and even bigger game when he had to. One of his biggest villains was one he shared with the likes of Spiderman and Daredevil, Wilson Fisk, otherwise known as the Kingpin. He had his other enemies too however, such as Jigsaw, who was actually shown in the attempt known as Punisher: War Zone.
Whether it’s not sticking to the source material or going by it so much as to make the movie corny and extremely over the top the Punisher has been a character that hasn’t had a decent outing until now. When Dolph Lundgren played the role it came off as though he was tired and strung out most of the time. When Ray Stevenson played him it was just a whole heaping helping of awful. When Thomas Jane played the role it was a little better, but it was still so amped up that it was hard to really believe the movie had any sincerity to it. Now that Jon Bernthal has a crack at it however we’re seeing something that truly resonates with the character.
The Punisher has only rarely exhibited any mad dog tendencies in the comics. Normally he’s calm, cool, and very collected. When he goes about his business of killing he’s still a rock, and doesn’t really start getting bent out of shape until later on. To put it honestly he’s one of the most cold-blooded killers in the Marvel universe. But that’s always been his M.O. throughout his long history. Ever since he first appeared in Spiderman #129 he’s been little more than a killer.
Between him and the bad guys though the biggest difference is that he’s the killer with at least a shred of a conscience. He won’t kill just anyone. He goes after those that are actively trying to harm others and that are breaking the law. Also, he goes after bigger bad guys and any that decide to target him. He doesn’t just go cruising around looking for people to kill. Remember, no mad dog tendencies on a regular basis.
The hope is that Jon Bernthal will be able to do for the Punisher what no one else has been able to do thus far, and that’s bring some credibility back to the role.
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