More Marvel! What can I say, it's a MARVELous kind of year! I was originally going to talk about the Netflix Daredevil series for my "D" post, but it made more sense to focus on The Division being I dedicated another blog's entire A to Z theme on the game. Considering this entry had yet to be determined, I thought I'd focus on the Punisher, an anti-hero of Marvel comics I've long been a fan of. An anti-hero that has been reborn (live-action wise) within the Daredevil series (which I honestly don't know if included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
This hasn't been the first time the Punisher has been adapted from the comics, though. There have been roughly four actors who have portrayed the character on the big and/or small screen.
The first was in the 1980's by Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, Universal Soldier, The Expendables). I have to be honest, despite liking the actor — having seen him in many movies throughout my childhood — I don't remember much about this movie.
I think there was a van and lots of guns? I'm sure I liked it, but it just didn't stick with me...
The next actor to take on the role of Frank Castle was Thomas Jane (Thursday, The Mist, Dreamcatcher, Deep Blue Sea). I was really excited to see this adaptation, because I was already a fan of the actor and John Travolta (Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction) was also attached to the project as the main villain. While I really enjoyed Thomas Jane's portrayal, I felt the film was plagued by editing issues. There were supposedly large budget cuts and filming complications which took a toll on the final product. For what they had to work with, however, it was a decent movie and I thought Thomas Jane really fit the role.
I was very hopeful for the sequel that never came, but Jane eventually went on to reprise the role in the short film The Punisher: Dirty Laundry alongside Ron Pearlman (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy).
And if I didn't remember much about Dolph Lundgren's movie, I know nothing about Ray Stevenson's (The Book of Eli, Dexter, Thor). I think the fact that Thomas Jane turned down reprising the role of Frank Castle is what turned me off from Punisher: War Zone. He was highly interested in the character, but had issues with the direction the script was going.
The most I know about this movie was the drama on there being a female director attached to it. Apparently that was an issue.
Also, I should say that out of all three actors for these movie adaptations, Ray Stevenson most resembles how I envision the Punisher from the comics. I haven't heard many good things about War Zone after the fact, but I think I'd still like to see it.
Many of these depictions are good, but dare I say, the Daredevil iteration may be one of the best! And this is coming from someone who loves Thomas Jane's version. After witnessing Jon Bernthal's incarnation of the character in Season 2 of the Netflix Original series, however, I'm not sure how easy it will be to see Frank Castle being tackled by anyone else. He looks and feels the part.
This time, with Marvel/Disney having the film licensing back under their control, the character has the proper budget and team it. Using the Netflix platform, Marvel Studios has gone a generally darker/more raw route with their comic series. The first season of Daredevil was gritty, but it doesn't have anything on Season 2. It is hyper violent and in your face brutal. The Punisher plays a large factor in this. In fact, I never thought of the character as being so unhinged as portrayed in this adaptation. While it may turn off a lot of people, it's bound to make long-time fans of the Punisher excited to finally see a more fleshed out, no holds barred version of one of Marvel's best known antiheroes.
If you haven't checked out the Daredevil series yet, I highly recommend it! Actually, all of Marvel's Netflix series (I should take my own advice and get on Jessica Jones). There are more coming down the pipeline, all loosely connected (though, again uncertain if viewed as part of the MCU).
Are you familiar with the Punisher character? Have you read the comics or seen any of the movies? If so, which are your favorite and why? Was/Is there an actor you thought would make a good PunisherHave you watched Season 2 of Daredevil? If so, what were your thoughts and opinions of it?
*Try to avoid Spoilers please!*