The Punisher... How to make it right...

The Punisher... How to make it right...

The Punisher can work... Me and many of my fellow comic book fans believe that. But how?

Frank Castle, one of the greatest comic book characters of all time. He has no powers, just the special training he recieved as a US Marine to wage his war on crime. Honestly, I'm surprised that he still hasn't been done properly on screen. It seems like each of the three movies has some potential, but always falls short for one reason or another. The first crack at the character came in 1989 and starred Dolph Lundgeran as the title character. But rather then a former soldier, he was a cop. The movie dragged on, and the action was subpar(IMO). Then, there was the 2004 version which starred Thomas Jane(the actor who was born for the role), but the film suffered from a bad script and poor direction. However, it touched on the comics' history, what with the addition of characters like Joan, Mr. Bumpo, Spacker Dave, and the Russian. But despite it being a personal favorite of mine, I see it as a flawed masterpiece. Then came War Zone... Dear God. Okay, I loved the way the film was shot, the fact that we finally saw Frank go up against his arch enemy Jigsaw, but the performances were lousy, and it dragged on as well. However, the violence and action scenes rocked.

What I'm saying here is how can we create a version of the character that is the equivalent to the Dark Knight or Iron Man? How can we show the character as he's truly meant to be? Marvel has the rights back, but its clear they're going to keep Frank out of the movies for awhile, as the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy are all the rage. But I do have a few ideas on this possible film to set it apart from the mainstream universe, as well as keep it interesting.

Set it in the 1970s. Those were the heyday of the vigilante/action hero, and brought the grittiness that we've come to associate those films with. That would really make it a different experience from both past Punisher attempts, and the Marvel Universe at large. Besides the Watchmen and league of Extraordinary Gentlemen, you don't see too many comic book period films.

We need to truly get to know his family and feel a connection so we can feel what he feels. In all previous attempts, we only saw his family for but a few minutes before the action commenced. I'm talking central characters to the piece.

Some connection to the Marvel Universe at large is necessary, but not essential. Put in a Stark Industries poster, or something to let the audience know that the Marvel Universe does have an extremely dark side.

This goes with the family idea; let's see Frank before he becomes the gun slinging vigilante in full form. I'd also like to see Frank's time in Vietnam shown to some degree. Born is a great example of how to show Frank's last days in country, and it would be interesting to see that a big part Frank's mindset stems from his time over there. Like his war on crime, Vietnam was an unwinnable conflict, but soldiers liked Frank kept fighting despite knowing that it was a lost cause. This is Frank's approach to his war on crime.

With Daredevil back at Marvel Studios, it would be awesome to see his and Punisher's rivalry on the big screen to really set apart just how different Frank is from the other heroes of the Marvel Universe.

And finally, there's potential for Frank to encounter the Avengers in a later film, much like the Ultimate comics, where Frank is recruited as a member of Nick Fury's black ops squad.

That concludes it for me. I had to get my ideas for the possibilities that a Punisher film done properly possesses, and with him back at Marvel Studios, the sky could be the limit for the character. Thank you for reading for those who did.
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AC1 - 12/25/2012, 5:18 PM
I've recently started reading PunisherMAX, which is probably the best Punisher series, and I still don't think anything we've had so far in films has even been close to the high quality of the MAX series. They all seem way too 'violence and action over story', which is not the way to go with this character. Sure, the violence and action are necessary, but the story has to come first.

And, while I thought the short film was kind of entertaining, I still don't think it is valid enough to justify Tom Jane returning to the role, although he is the best of the actors who've portrayed Frank so far. Besides, with Punisher back at Marvel I doubt we'll see Frank on the big screen for at least another decade.
Jollem - 12/25/2012, 5:20 PM
my favorite punisher flicks in order

war zone
2004(extended cut)

the short doesn't count as a film, but i dug it
Tainted87 - 12/25/2012, 8:17 PM
Set in the 70s, eh? Sounds good I guess. I like period movies, but only when there's the full immersion.

Violence is subjective. We don't need to see Frank bashing in the brains of gangbangers with a bottle of bourbon, nor do we need to see him blow the face off of an unarmed hitman.

I like to compare the Punisher to Mad Max - mainly because the two are very similar characters. There is also 'Manhunter' and the more faithful adaption, 'Red Dragon'. The two were filmed nearly twenty years apart, but the more recent one isn't made exceptionally gory. It's more about innuendo and discussed violence than the actual act itself. The characters' disgust of the violence is what makes it feel more real than what you're seeing.

Now I'm not a Punisher fan by any means, I mean I haven't even read a single Punisher comic or publication before. But it doesn't take a fan to know that over-the-top gore, exploding heads, and punched-in faces isn't required to demonstrate how brutal the character is.
johnblake - 12/25/2012, 9:19 PM
i thought thomas jane was THE PUNISHER, as a punisher fan i thought that he perfectly captured the character. my only wish was that they made a sequel cause we all know how warzone turned out. id say that they should just throw the thomas jane punisher in the mcu. it be so easy to reference him in a movie or escpically the shield show.
superpooper - 12/26/2012, 1:31 AM
Ray Stevenson was the best choice to portray the Punisher so far. Tom Jane sucked. That being said, I don't think we'll see the Punisher in a movie again for some time. There's been three attempts and all three fell short. As a superhero/cbm he's just not flashy enough. He doesn't have any superpowers or flashy costume per se, and stacked up against the other heavy hitters we have that now dominate motion pictures (Batman; Iron Man; Spiderman) he just doesn't stand out. Now doing a TV series on AMC or it's that's something I could see happening. He needs a series. He's perfect for television and I think that a hugely successful series could be made.
LEEE777 - 12/26/2012, 1:46 AM
TOM JANE was the perfect Punisher.... [email protected] though sucked so much it ain't funny...

Got faith in a TV show, Punisher's at home there, be cool 2 have JANE back, awesome on HBO but wont happen :(

Think best way is total unknown, keep it real, though a S.H.I.E.L.D cameo might be cool and lots of vigilante action we all know and love, then we have a winner!

Also 100% no supporting cast every week, it'll let the show down, he's a loner basically. Thinking maybe a Microchip later on and that's it. Yeah he was used in [email protected] but that movie don't count, he was totally jipped an butt fricked for his first ever appearance in that piece of crap.

If they ever did brink it back to the big screen later on, Mike Zeck's Punisher mini series set on Rikers Island would be fantastic to adapt and happy holidays :)

LEEE777 - 12/26/2012, 1:47 AM
Cool read, oh yeah a DD vs Punisher gotta happen! ;)

Thank frick FOX ain't got DD no more.
race2076 - 12/26/2012, 2:05 AM
Leee777, did DD revert back to MARVEL?
Xandera - 12/26/2012, 2:13 AM
Nice write up!
I agree with most of what your saying, but I think you're also right in saying that we won't see this for awhile yet.

@race2076 - Yup... DD is back with Marvel

@LEEE777 - LEEEEEEEEE! When did you start back on CBM??? Haven't seen you on here in a long time. A HBO TV show would be sick! Can only hope and wish that something like that happens. Good to see you kickin around again, ol' bud!
DCjohnny - 12/26/2012, 2:17 AM
I liked both punisher movies and I would love to see another movie on punisher... but I don't think marvel will ever make a movie on punisher again ... and same is for deadpool, fox will never make that awesome character movie ...
sharkman03191 - 12/26/2012, 2:20 AM
@dcjohnny They will eventually. Hollywood is running out of ideas and fast.
Xandera - 12/26/2012, 2:21 AM
@dcjohnny - I honestly hope FOX doesn't make Deadpool, so the rights end up back in Marvel's hands. I'd rather wait to get a decent DP movie than end up with a FOXed up piece of shite movie.
sharkman03191 - 12/26/2012, 2:21 AM
@ Intruder As much as I hate to say it, short films just don't count, although I'm inclined to agree with you. Tom obviously knows the character.
sharkman03191 - 12/26/2012, 2:24 AM
One thing I forgot to put in the article... GET THOMAS JANE BACK AS THE PUNISHER!
CorndogBurglar - 12/26/2012, 2:52 AM
Tom Jane didnt feel threatening enough for me.

Warzone was a joke. I hate when people say the action and violence were great. Not when it was done so comically and over the top.
Jolt17 - 12/26/2012, 3:01 AM
Great write-up. Your idea about setting it in a different period than the modern day is interesting, and his Vietnam background indeed could serve as a whole new layer to the story. I'd like to see it be done that way.

And personally, I think Ray Stevenson is the perfect Frank Castle, Punisher: War Zone as the movie he stars in aside. But nonetheless, Thomas Jane was great in the role as well...but I'll always be open to seeing new talents in CBM roles. We've seen how it works like charm. So whether Stevenson or Jane will be back, or they'll get someone entirely new, I'll be fine.
fortycals - 12/26/2012, 3:28 AM
Nice write up. I really like the idea of making it a period piece. You could take the movie places they havent taken it before. Have the first act be his last battle in nam, and coming home. Second act, could be trying to adjust and his family being killed. Third act becoming punisher, out for revenge. Doubt we would see another punisher movie for a very long time though.
Hawksblueyes - 12/26/2012, 5:03 AM
Ironically, there are two absolutely perfect Punisher movies that were both made in the 70's. They're called Death Wish 1 and 2.

If any of you youngsters haven't watched these two films, you should check them out. Charles Bronson kicks ass in these movies and the only thing lacking is the name Frank Castle.

Also... HEY LEEE! It's great to see you my friend. Hope all is well in your world.
DCjohnny - 12/26/2012, 5:53 AM
my opinion is that marvel studio will never make dark and R rated movies... so if the movie rights are going back to the marvel studio , we will never see those character movie ever again ... and marvel is very busy with the avengers series ... even if the movie comes out it will be a decade or 2 ...
PapaEmeritus - 12/26/2012, 6:48 AM
That is simple: make it rated R and bring us this on screen:

THIS is the Punisher IMO.
Ray Stevenson owned as Castle, shame that the movie was so badly written.
Jolt17 - 12/26/2012, 7:29 AM
And LEEE! Where have you been!?
ladder7 - 12/26/2012, 8:06 AM
as the years went by i didnt really care for thomas jane much anymore my choice would rather be ray stevenson now i liked both punishers but i can see a new take on punisher showing his past origins past present being a vigilante for over 30 yrs and all in one movie if possible but with ray stevenson he really embodied frank castle more so but i liked janes version as well
ladder7 - 12/26/2012, 8:11 AM
i liked dirty laundry but jane for some reason keeps making himself run away from being the punisher where he just pranced around before finally doing something i always feel like hes trying to take the character away from the source material at times no offense i like jane but hes not charles bronson much respect for him though-great actor
SentinelofLiberty - 12/26/2012, 9:04 AM
Nice write-up. If they try again at the Punisher, I would hope for whoever makes it to take a good look at Man on Fire. Provides a decent template.

MY dream scenario...have the Punisher make some kind of cameo in the next Spider Man movie, as a nod to the character's first appearance. Then, as others have said, make it a Showtime or HBO series in the style of The Wire.
superbatspiderman - 12/26/2012, 9:37 AM
I think that they should make a movie that is similar to the video game that came out after the Jane movie. I thought that game caught the feeling of the Punisher and that is why it is one of the best Comic book games ever.
Wallymelon - 12/26/2012, 12:36 PM
dude i completely agree! i think they should do like a 1970's sorta crime thriller blaxploitation sorta dark gritty films with daredevil heroes for hire and the punisher. I know that was a terrible run on sentence lol... anyways.

if marvel knights made there own underground hero team sort of thing it could tie in to the avengers later on. Have Sam Jackson as nick fury in the 70's would be killer. If they made some R rated tarantino esque films I would be sooo down. Keep these vigilantes dark as hell! Definitley not going to happen though haha. pipe dreams.

this was an awful comment lol, terrible writing. i apologize...
darkness - 12/26/2012, 2:25 PM
war zone was so bad that i love watching it now...ray was good as castle but the hearts with thomas! let him do another, r rating, a real directer, real story
VinceP98 - 12/26/2012, 8:44 PM
I thought that Ray Stevenson had the look down and the dramatic chops for Frank Castle, but Tom Jane brought the love of the character to his performance. Unfortunately, he was saddled with a lame and unnecessary attempt at updating the background. Stevenson was saddled with a half-baked sequel.

To me, the best way to do the character is to build it as an edgy cable series on FX or AMC (think Sons of Anarchy), maybe even Starz/Showtime (think Dexter or Spartacus). This way, it can build over a few seasons and then culminate in a film that can be folded into the Marvel film universe. Doing it this way will allow time for non-comic fans to become accustomed to Frank Castle. The reason the films don't work is because Castle is hard to love without sufficient development and 1 hour 45 minutes just isn't long enough. One plot line isn't enough to explain him without it being a simple revenge flick that distinguishes Frank Castle from every other action hero.
Gannicus33 - 12/26/2012, 10:20 PM
I liked all of the movies but I think war zone was the best one so far. Felt like the real Punisher. I will send an e-mail to Marvel and ask them if there will be more movies with Frank.
sameoldthing - 12/27/2012, 4:10 AM
Jane did a solid job portraying Frank & Stevenson looked dead on like The Punisher..both did well in mediocre films that had a few cool moments.

The Punisher HAS TO BE ON A CABLE HBO,Showtime,Starz..etc.
TV show will provide the best method to showcase the vigilante as we know from the comics.
Base it off the MAX series & it would be brutally good.
lro385 - 12/27/2012, 8:36 AM
Are you people nuts?Stevenson was way better as Castle.The coldness that he approached the situation with was what made that film.Although I will concede that Jane did an admirable job with the script he was given(and a much larger budget than war zone)Castle needs to be portrayed as a cold,non-feeling individual.The first thing that needs to be done for a new movie is hire Ennis to write it and let him go with it and not water down his book like they did in 2004 version.Give me a Castle who shoots Micro in the face to save him and walk away.
VinceP98 - 12/27/2012, 2:03 PM
I don't think Frank Castle is unfeeling or even cold. He has the ability to shut that off, but not ignore it completely. His dealing with the consequences of what he does is what would make for compelling drama. If he has no feeling at all, no one in the general film-going public will like him. "War Zone" was too cold and, thus, alienated everyone outside of the comic book community. "The Punisher" was too emo and, thus, alienated the comic book community. The best way to go about it is to strike a balance between the two. Sort of like the way "Dexter" has done. Dexter Morgan is a cold-blooded killer who is starting to see that his actions have human consequences. Frank Castle, in a film or television version needs to be a killer who IS the consequence of the actions of others and knows it, despite seeing the evil in it.
Bread - 12/28/2012, 10:35 AM
@Vince I completely agree with you. Frank needs to know that he IS punishment
Bread - 12/28/2012, 10:39 AM
As to the idea of having it take place in the 70's, I'm completely on board for that. 70's New York was a dangerous place, and I think that a noir feeling Punisher film would be great. Much like the planned Daredevil movie that Joe Carnahan was going to make before the rights reverted back to Marvel. Also, I've never thought of having Vietnam scenes in a punisher movie, I love that idea!
sharkman03191 - 1/4/2013, 11:01 AM
Indeed. Vietnam, IMO, is integrel to the character. So much so that I was extremely upset to see that they bounced the characters timeline in the recent series showing him wearing desert camo, hinting that he's now an Iraq/Afghanistan vet. It just doesn't work for the character.
sharkman03191 - 1/4/2013, 11:02 AM
Plus, who wouldn't want to see Frank dish a little hell on the Viet Cong or the North Vietnamese Army?
Lockjaw - 1/15/2013, 6:26 AM
Include the Punisher in the same universe as others!

2012 Amazing Spiderman (Lizard)
2014 Amazing Spiderman 2 (Electro)
2016 Amazing Spiderman 3 (Hobgoblin, death of Gwen)
2017 Punisher (Kingpin)
2018 Daredevil (Kingpin)
2019 Crime & Punishment (Spiderman, Daredevil, Punisher, Kingpin)
2020 Heroes for Hire (Chameleon)
2021 Man Without Fear (The Hand)
2022 Spectacular Spidermen (Jackal, Kaine, Scarlet-Spider, Venom)
2023 Alias (Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Zebediah Killgrave, Matt Murdock, Punisher)
2023 Daredevil Reborn (Kingpin)
2024 Ultimate Spiderman (Venom, Carnage)

bigbenzilla - 6/4/2013, 4:15 AM
So Frank is pretty much the only comic I collect. And I have to completely agree with the original post. I have been preaching "time piece" for a while. Also I agree that keeping him away from other heroes but mentioning their world for now would be perfect (watching a Jack "The Devil" Murdock boxing match on T.V. before cutting to breaking news of a released felon?). Flashing back to events in Born when they correlate to what's happening now would be awesome (for instance, like when lundgren shot up the yakuza after the elevator, flash back to the "sappers in the wire" scene from Born). Also a big factor is INNER MONOLOGUE. This would help appease both crowds. What is actually said reflects his stoic "squash my emotions", vs. what is thought, which shows how stuff actually bothers him. Noir style suits this guy. Thats it, sorry for the long post, but this is one close to my heart.
Oh! one last thing, video game rights should go to rockstar (Grand Theft Auto) as it has been said, the man that does a sandbox Punisher game deserves a special place in heaven.

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