Howdy people of the north, south, east and west, and welcome to Day #9 of Month of Superhero Film Reviews 2! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best, average and worst comic book adapted films. Today I’m going to be reviewing one of the more forgotten Marvel films of the last ten years; The Punisher.
So I’ve actually seen parts of this film before, and the reason I say parts is due to the fact that I’ve caught parts of the middle and the last two-thirds of it in the last year. I’ve almost seen the whole of this film, but haven’t watched it the whole way through just because of the lack interest. It feels appropriate to watch this film now considering that we just confirmation of our next Punisher in Daredevil season 2.
The story can be summed up as the following:
“The Turtles and the Shredder battle once again, this time for the last canister of the ooze that created the Turtles, which Shredder wants to create an army of new mutants.”
The story is decent for the most part. At first it felt a bit too whimsical and cheesy despite it’s adult subject matters and rating, I know that there has to be built up towards this dark turn in Frank Castle’s life but feels a little to cliché and cheesy for my liking. On top of that this film even though it is dark, I don’t feel like it commits to its source material and still tries to be in line with a 12 rated film with these themes and violence touched upon but never fully delved into like Watchmen or Dredd. I feel like this film was made before its time because it came out during the superhero film explosion just when comic book films were starting to get really good with Spider-Man and both Blade, X-Men films, but I don’t think that the world was ready for this kind of comic book film yet, and I think it would have fared better in the post Dark Knight world where these more serious and darker comic book characters are starting to be taken more seriously and are being handled by people who really know how to translate the material from the comics to the big screen. There is one scene in this film that involves the of two characters and I won’t say who but it was very reminiscent of Mad Max and those who have seen that film will hopefully know what I’m on about.
Now let’s talk about the cast. Thomas Jane is really good as Frank Castle/The Punisher. Jane a great screen presence, he’s likable yet intimating and while I’ve never read any of the comics, this incarnation of the character is how I would imagine Punisher to conduct himself. John Travolta as Howard Saint is pretty good too, Travolta is great at playing a villain as he has the right kind of menace, body language and style to pull off a character like this even if he does go a bit over the top. Laura Harring is gorgeous as Livia Saint and she does well, I also like Roy Scheider as Frank Castle, Sr. and Will Patton is pretty decent and frightening as Quentin Glass. And then there’s “The Odd Three”, Frank Castle’s neighbours, Spacker Dave, Joan and Bumpo played by Ben Foster, Rebecca Romijn and John Pinette. Each of them have their own quirks, but I would say that Dave and Joan have the most relevant screen time and interaction with Frank and I think Foster and Romijn did well with their roles.
Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually the film is decent with some nice action scenes and violence, but nothing to write home about. As for the soundtrack by Carlo Siliotto it feels incredibly out-of-place in this film and sounds like it belongs in the 90’s, possibly the 80’s in some kind of western film. Some of the tracks sound okay, but it feels like this film would have benefited from a more modern and upbeat sound, something a little dirtier and aggressive.
And lastly how does it compare to the comics? While I’ve read comics with the Punisher in them, I’ve never really read any of the main series Punisher comics so I couldn’t possibly answer this question unfortunately.
So to conclude The Punisher is admirable if somewhat flawed attempt at bringing the Marvel character to life. There are some things I did like when it comes to some of the fight scenes and the main performance from Thomas Jane is great, but overall the film is incredibly joyless, infrequent with its commitment to the dark nature of its source material and at the end of the day just doesn’t have that wow factor that would make it a memorable comic book film.
Rating: 6/10 (not bad but not great either)
That’s 10 reviews done, only 20 more to go. So have you seen The Punisher and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!