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‘The Punisher’ Is Here And It’s Filled With Guns, Violence, And Veteran Stereotypes
Brace yourself: Netflix’s The Punisher is finally here. After more than a year of Twitter and Instagram teasers, the much-hyped Daredevil spinoff starring Marvel’s most badass veteran arrived for streaming on Nov. 17... and he’s not alone.
In The Punisher, we get good-vs-evil plots, tangled moral dilemmas that are resolved with explosions and well-placed rounds, and a whole squad of military-veteran side characters — a smattering of cliches and stereotypes who are all trying to answer the same question: What’s a warrior without a war?
If you’re anti-hero Frank Castle, the answer is nothing. So you just up and start a fracas with some nefarious secret-agent types. For the other vet characters, it’s (a little) more complicated.
Task & Purpose received early access to the first half of the The Punisher’s premiere season, and just six episodes in, Frank Castle has already filled scores of body bags on his quest for vengeance. Be warned: There are a few spoilers ahead.
The show picks up immediately where Daredevil Season 2 left off, with Jon Bernthal of The Walking Dead fame reprising his role as Castle, the titular Marine vet who adopts the Punisher nom de guerre after his family is brutally murdered.
At first, their deaths appear to be little more than the tragic collateral damage of gang-related violence, but they’re revealed to be the machinations of shady government actors. Castle launches a search for the man directly responsible for his family’s death: a CIA spook known as “Agent Orange” who oversaw Castle’s off-the-books assassination squad in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
— The Punisher (@ThePunisher) November 14, 2017
Unlike other shows in the Marvel cinematic universe — Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, or The Defenders, to name a few — The Punisher diverges from the tech-heavy gadgetry or superheroics of its sibling series, relying instead on human greed and brutality to drive the story forward. It’s a gritty approach that grants the show its own distinct flavor of bloody vengeance-fueled rampage.
In terms of veteran characters, there’s Billy Russo, Castle's one-time battle buddy from their days in the Marines, played by Ben Barnes, who now runs a security firm called Anvil under the auspice of giving former gunslingers a new purpose. Then there’s Curtis Hoyle (Jason R. Moore), a combat-wounded amputee and former Navy corpsman who runs a support group for transitioning veterans, while also working a day job as an insurance salesman, and moonlighting as Castle’s personal physician and confidant.
And there’s more — including at least one Second Amendment-stumping vet convinced that the government’s out to disarm good patriots like him; a special operator who cloisters himself in the woods like a bow-toting hermit; and in one of the more egregious acts of stereotyping, there's a young post-9/11 vet struggling with traumatic memories who takes to sleeping in a foxhole in his backyard.
With all those earnest, addled characters running around, you could end up with a flat, unfunny Navy SEALs or Delta Force rehash. Enter David Lieberman (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), a former NSA analyst who goes by the handle “Micro” and teams up with Castle to uncover what really happened in Kandahar. Castle's a big brute. Lieberman's a tall beanpole. Castle takes fights head on. Lieberman plans methodically and manipulates from afar. What’s a comic book universe without an “unlikely duo”?
This pair’s back and forth is a play on a common-enough stereotype: Non-operators lack discipline and never want to get their hands dirty, which is why they need a real man to show ‘em how it’s done. Welcome to TV’s Grunt vs. POG showdown, only this pogue is a nasty desk-riding cyber-spy civilian.
The veterans in The Punisher are many, and they are a mix of tragic heroes, broken men, and war profiteers all searching for new meaning and purpose amid a sense of alienation from apathetic civvies back home. Fair enough, but it’s up to viewers to decide whether the show’s portrayals of vets reflect reality as it is, or reality as they want it to be.
Nobody should want their reality to be this nasty and brutish, but if you expect your entertaining fantasy violence to come with a butt-load of moto and action, you’re in the right place. Frank Castle certainly keeps his promise of dealing out punishment, not justice, to those who wronged him.
The Punisher begins streaming on Netflix Nov. 17.
One year in, Army Futures Command is fully up and running. Here's some of the new tech it's been working on
Army Futures Command will reach fully operational status just before the newest gem of the Army's modernization plan sees its first birthday on August 24th, officials announced on Tuesday.
AFC Commander Gen. John "Mike" Murray told reporters at a technologies showcase on Tuesday that the command will be fully operational on July 31st before showing off everything AFC personnel have been working on over the last year, from night vision goggles and robotic vehicles to new air- and missile-defense capabilities.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) has been told to stop using the Marine Corps' emblem and the 1st Marine Division's motto in his campaign literature, Corps officials confirmed.
The Marine Corps Trademark Licensing Office has sent Hunter, a Marine veteran, a cease and desist letter telling him to quit using the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblem along with the phrase, "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy," on a fundraising mailer that accuses his political opponent of having links to terrorism, NBC News first reported on Wednesday.
Army recruiter allegedly solicited girls as young as 10 for sex while calling himself 'Colorado batman'
Arapahoe County sheriff's deputies have arrested a U.S. Army recruiter for investigation of soliciting girls as young as 10 years old for sex after he allegedly sent selfies calling himself "Colorado batman," the sheriff's department reported.
An Army appeals court has rejected Bowe Bergdahl's claim that President Trump's public description of him as "a no-good traitor who should have been executed" and other comments on the disgraced soldier's case constituted unlawful command influence (UCI).
The Marine Corps must update its parental-leave policies to give new moms and dads time with their newborns, the service's new top general wrote this week, including considering a full year's worth of leave for women who've had a child.
"These outcomes should never be in competition to the extent that success with one will come at the expense of the other," Berger wrote. "Our parental/maternity leave policies are inadequate and have failed to keep pace with societal norms and modern talent management practices."