Happiest of Mondays fair friends! Today I have the absolutely enormous pleasure of hosting one of my favourite people on this planet for the Marvelous Monday blogathon. I hereby introduce my bestie Zoë, who not only rocks, but hosts an awesome blog over at the Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger. If you haven’t yet followed her, do yourself a favour and hop over. (If you are interested in picking up a movie, check out the available movies here and let me know!)
So when my best Chemistry Kidney decided to start hosting Marvellous Mondays, I thought it was a fantastic idea. I got even more excited when she said she would be opening it for anyone and everyone to participate if they wanted to. I mean really? Hell yeah, I was so in! I get to talk about The Punisher yet again? I wanted to. Granted, there are plenty other films on the list, and granted, I have written about it before (on my site and for Genre Grandeur), and granted, I should probably find a way to get this film out of my system but do you know what? I don’t think I will. I love it, and if I get to wax lyrical about it from time to time, then you better be sure that I am going to. I watched this movie when I was younger and I absolutely fell in love with it. Maybe it spoke to something in me when I was younger, but it has remained with me ever since, and I cannot shake it. That’s totally fine with me.
I know that I am definitely in the minority for loving this movie, but hey, you don’t always have a choice, right? Moving along from all that, let me get to the movie…
“I leave this as a declaration of intent, so no one will be confused. One: “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” – If you want peace, prepare for war.”
– Frank Castle
SYNOPSIS: Special agent Frank Castle had it all: A loving family, a great life, and an adventurous job. But when his life is taken away from him by a ruthless criminal and his associates, Frank has become reborn. Now serving as judge, jury, and executioner, he’s a new kind of vigilante out to wage a one man war against those who have done him wrong. – viaIMDB
I think I absolutely love the fact that this is darker than most comic book movies. I love the fact that it is focused on the antihero. It’s certainly something different. I have no idea why the comic book world hasn’t delved into the world of the antihero more. I mean granted, we got Spawn, and I liked that, and I am one of the few that has a really soft spot for Constantine, but why is this not a genre that gets more attention? I know I would watch the hell out of them.
The Punisher is something that builds on itself pretty quickly, but at the same time not too fast as to leave you behind. I liked that. It doesn’t really lag or get boring anywhere for me, and I enjoy the journey each and every time. Starting off simply enough with a sting gone wrong, meeting Frank Castle, seeing his white-picket-fence-life, you see it ripped away from him, and it is cold to witness. Seeing what happens next, for me, is thrilling. The broken man who rises up and fights back, exacts what vengeance he may, and tries to rebuild some semblance of a life while doing so. It is so interesting for me! Also, I loved the outfits in here – or maybe I should be more specific and say that I think Castle’s Punisher outfit was pretty badass.
One thing that I thought was just excellently executed was John Travolta as the villain. I think he portrays a very satisfying villain, and he made it onto my Top Ten Comic Book Movie Villains that I compiled a while ago for my dear Eric’s site, though it seemed he was not a very popular choice. I don’t know why that is. Travolta brought the goods to the table. He was cold, he was odd, he worshipped his wife, he loved his sons, he was ruthless, and he loved power. When his façade started to fray, I was really impressed with how he handled it all. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him play out (to perfection) the path that Frank had laid bare for him, tearing his own life apart on his own, what with Frank just sitting back and watching how it came to be. That was cold.
Overall, I enjoyed the acting. I think that everyone did a mighty fine job bringing their characters to the screen. I really liked Quentin (Will Patton), I thought he was a great fiend, and I actually took a shine to him. James Carpinello’s portrayal of the twins, John and Bobby Saint, was a little wooden maybe, and he didn’t actually say much but it was probably better that way. I thoroughly enjoy Ben Foster and I feel he is an incredibly underappreciated actor, and he played Dave very well. John Pinette was great as Bumpo, and Rebecca Romijn played Joan well, too. So the cast was alright and kept things moving along nicely, too.
Considering this movie didn’t have a killer budget, the effects were really good. I had such a blast (and it remains one of my favourite scenes) when Harry Heck walks into the diner that Joan works at and sings In Time. The song is beautiful, but the statement that the song was written for Frank and that he, Heck, would play it at Castle’s funeral was a little unsettling. Their showdown after that build up was a little bit of a let-down, but only if you separate the scenes. I wished for a little more time with them together, but alas, no such luck.
Thomas Jane is an interesting actor for me. While he is no DiCaprio or anything like that, he can carry a lead role, but as Ruthsays, maybe a little handsome-but-vacuous. He isn’t bad at all, though, but he also isn’t gripping. His Frank Castle is certainly one of my favorite roles of his, and when I was younger I just thought he was a real hottie with his dark (not blonde) hair. Plus that attitude?Sullen and angry and dejected and on a mission? Why would that not appeal to me? My evidence…
I know that there are numerous gripes about this film. For one, the movie really doesn’t look at Castle too closely, and his development. It probably would have been nice to see more of that, but I could understand how and why he ended up where he was, ready to take down the Saints. You don’t need to be a full-fledged psychologist to understand why it affected him so deeply. For two, there was a little humor injected in here that I understand is not a part of the comic books. What people don’t tell you is that it is so seldom that you actually forget that it was there in the first place.
I am going to close down this post with something that Tim linked to me when I posted my review of The Punisher. This really awesome little clip, so if you want a few more minutes to revel in the glory that is Thomas Jane as Frank Castle, I would highly suggest you go and check this out.