Marvel’s Punisher is a character who has endured his share of hardship when it comes to portrayals on film.
Originally rolled into other media through a low-budget limited release, almost direct-to-video film starring Dolph Lundgren, the character would spend most of the 1990s making guest appearances in animation before finally getting another crack at the big time with the 2004 feature film The Punisher starring Thomas Jane and John Travolta.
The 2004 version failed to make an impact at the box office.
Contrary to popular belief, it was a money-maker for Lionsgate, but with a $33 million budget and a worldwide take of $54 million, it was hardly the setup for an extended franchise of films.
Four years later, the studio would try again with a reboot of sorts. This time around, Ray Stevenson took the lead role, while female director and kickboxing champion Lexi Alexander handled the directing chores.
The result was another box office disappointment in spite of the film being closer to the heart of the comic books than its predecessor. Punisher: War Zone grossed just $10 million against a budget of $35 million.
Still, Marvel would not give up on the character and decided in 2012 to let Fox have a chance.
While the network was unable to pull off the task, The Punisher found a home at hungry-for-original content Netflix and premiered officially in Daredevil Season 2, this time played by The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal.
For the first time, the character won raves from fans and critics alike and led to the inevitable green-lighting of a television series starring Bernthal and once again produced by Netflix as part of the streaming giant’s The Defenders saga, which also includes Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones.
With excitement for The Punisher at an all-time high, an enthusiastic Twitter fan has posted the fan poster to end all fan posters and whet that appetite for vigilante justice.
— BossLogic (@Bosslogic) April 7, 2017
The poster was created by BossLogic and captures the essence of what made Netflix’s version of the character work. Its use of darkness and steel blends with the grisly imagery of a skull being shot to pieces to imply this is not going to be your typical superhero programming.
If Bernthal’s appearance as the character in Daredevil Season 2 is any indication, the series will be taking an R-rated approach to comic book storytelling, which is pretty common for the character, who has been interpreted by the likes of irreverent comic book writer Garth Ennis through the critically acclaimed Punisher Max series — a “mature readers” line of books.
In the previous outing, Bernthal’s Castle rips a number of gangsters to shreds culminating in the now infamous scene where he takes out an entire cellblock of criminals that Kingpin has arranged to have kill the vigilante.
It’s brutal stuff within the series of a character (Daredevil), who has historically been the subject of PG-13 material, and it’s an ominous precursor of what fans can expect when The Punisher hits Netflix later this year. As for what’s out there in an official capacity, take a look at this Netflix-produced poster, and decide which one you think is the best.
— The Punisher (@ThePunisherMCU) April 6, 2017
As for Bernthal, if you aren’t into watching him as The Punisher, you probably won’t be that enamored with his next film, Shot Caller, which according to IMDb, finds him playing the role of a newly released prison gangster “forced by the leaders of his gang to orchestrate a major crime with a brutal rival gang on the streets of Southern California.”
The film has “strong bloody violence,” so it’s not much of a departure. As for The Punisher, are you eager to check out Netflix’s take on the character? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Netflix]