December 5, 2008

Friday At the Movies: Punishment

Punisher: War Zone opens today across the land, and like many of you, I, will not be seeing it. The fact that I'm not excited for this film, is a little heartbreaking for me because I consider myself a mid-level Punisher fan; I've read his comic, seen the other movies, played the video games, OK so But with this recent film, I can't help but wonder if this character has overstayed his welcome.

The character who was first introduced in 1974, really became popular in the 80's. He was the prototype embodiment of1980's vigilante justice, a fictional counterparts to the Bernie Goetz of the era. His origin is basically the same as Batman (family killed by parents, seeks vengeance), but unlike Bats, Punisher has no problem icing fools like a baker (ZING!).

Yet, vigilantes aren't that cool anymore. With this rise of Barrack Obama, suddenly people really don't need the bullet, cause the ballot actually worked for once. People don't want insane violence because it dominates the news (terrorist attacks and two wars raging). What do they want, apparently vampire romances, and heroes like James Bond and Batman, who are violent, yet know their limits. Unlike the 80's, where excess reigned supreme, looks like this Punisher just doesn't belong anymore (just so you know I spared you from a lame, he should be punished joke)

1 comment:

  1. Tim, you're foolish. Listen, we've come not to expect greatness from Punisher. He's a testosterone fantasy, a day dream of mayhem. His origin is an excuse, unlike Batman's which seems more like a driving force. But, with that said, there is some enjoyment in bloody fantasy. It doesn't have to be perfect or even brilliant. Just kinda cool. Punisher: War Zone was this. The villains are utterly entertaining, and IMHO, overshadow the 'hero' of the tale. Looney Bin Jim and Jigsaw are badass and devilish, at least once they get going. Now, listen, there are plenty of flaws here. Punisher waves to a little girl (I get what they were trying to do, but the story doesn't work and it just felt silly), Jigsaw gets utterly furious when people call his brother Looney Bin Jim, insisting his name is James, only to take on the mantle of Jigsaw a few breathes later. The opening fight scene is awesome, right up to that damned unnecessary and jarringly unrealistic chandelier spin. So, listen, we can't expect these movies to be The Dark Night. Some of these characters just aren't gonna reach that level of genuine genius. But they aren't really meant to. Something about this Punisher movie works on a level the others don't have. Given, Jane's Punisher works on levels this one doesn't even try to look at. But take it from me, Ben Kaye, fellow comic geek and film buff, and at least give Punisher: War Zone a watch. There are some great, punishing moments in there. I 'oooo'ed and I even laughed. Listen, I know going to the movies is expensive, and to waste it on sub-par films is painful. I'm not forcing you to go see this one, but I'm asking you to give it a chance. It's not perfect, but let's face it, none of the Punisher films have ever been. This one's decent though. Just keep in mind that this is Marvel Knights' New York, so things aren't exactly realistic. But there are some great Punisher moments. Watch it with a fairly open mind, at least at the comic nerd appreciation level.