Best On Screen Versions of the Punisher
After delivering several highly praised on screen version of Marvel superheros, Netflix has stumbled as of late with their superhero properties. Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the Defenders all saw a drop in viewership and critical acclaim. However 'The Punisher' seems to have righted the ship.
It is one of the mostly highly praised shows to ever debut on Netflix. And I, being both a huge comic nerd and Punisher fan, would have to agree. The show is fantastic and worth multiple viewings. But, a lot of people are proclaiming that Jon Bernthal is the greatest on screen Frank Castle. And that I have to disagree with. Jon is very, very good. He does a great job playing the role. But, he's not the best.
While everyone else was binging out on Turkey and gravy over the Thanksgiving holiday, my spent my time rewatching and reliving everything Punisher related. Here's my list and assessment of the best on screen Punishers.
1) Ray Stevenson - Punisher: War Zone
While this film has its issues, looking back, this is probably the most accurate on-screen showing of Frank Castle/The Punisher. The film shows Frank's ruthless side. It shows Frank's loving and compassionate side. If you remember how every movie during this time frame had random parkour, over done makeup and weird stylistic tones... its really not a bad film and shows Frank Castle in the best light.
2) Jon Bernthal - Punisher on Netflix
Coming in a close second is Jon Bernthal. Being a huge Punisher fan, my biggest problem with Bernthal in the role is that you never really get to see Frank's viciousness or his tactical ability. The producers and Bernthal really play up Frank's need for other people, which shows a depth to the character that we've never really seen before. But, in doing that, you lose a lot of what makes Frank Castle the Punisher.
3) Thomas Jane - The Punisher
A lot of people loved Thomas Jane as the Punisher. Me...not so much. Not only is the movie just not good. And Jane, in the movie, doesn't really show or convey any of the traits that make up Frank Castle or the Punisher. However, Jane does get bonus points for the independently funded YouTube Punisher film 'Dirty Laundry'. I think if we got to see that version of Frank Castle on the big screen, Jane may have gone down as the best on screen version of the Punisher.
4) Dolph Lundgren - The Punisher (1989)
Can we just agree that this movie is bad all the way around? While Dolph looks like the Ultimate killing machine, the film sort of glosses over everything that makes the Punisher a fascinating character. The movie has some cool moments. But, in the end, is not a very good representation of the character or Frank Castle's story.