Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge success and a risk that worked to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so the company is clearly willing to use their back catalog with a more obscure property so why can’t we have another Punisher Flick. A movie that fans can say is genuinely good, not just better than what came before. Director Jonathan Hensleigh’s Thomas Jane starring Punisher film may have been the worst screen adaptation of the character, but Jane was great and wants to come back to the character ,as evidenced by his Dirty Laundry short from 2012(oddly the best screen version of Frank Castle). This property would be perfect for a Knights or MAX line, as he has been in the past.
The Marvel Knights and MAX lines handled darker, more violent characters and content, distancing itself from the more accessible characters and situations. I don’t know why we couldn’t have this on the big screen as well. Thomas Jane turned down the disappointing Punisher War Zone film because he wanted a better movie. Phil Joanou’s directed Dirty Laundry shows that Jane still has the character in his blood and will step up when its a good project. He’s also pals with Nick Bradstreet and even voiced the Punisher for the 2005 XBOX PS2 game, that was written by Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti. Jane has a handle on the character and aside from the the original film version has surrounded himself by people who know the character when he’s been given the opportunity to. Hell he has walked the floor at SDCC and hung out with Nick Bradstreet there.
Jane’s 45 now, and while Frank Castle makes a great grizzled old man the clock is ticking down to see this solid actor in a deserving Punisher Film. Marvel could easily create an offshoot for darker properties and the world of the Punisher could even cameo Nick Fury and Black Widow. And if you don’t think he deserves another shot compare Thomas Jane to Wesley Snipes and the many reports of his overall douchebaggery on the set of Blade Trinity and it seems pretty unlikely we’ll see him as the Daywalker anytime soon.
Despite this Snipes said his return to the Blade franchise is “looking good.” And also told MTV, “”I’d be open to it. You know I think we got some stones left unturned and there’s some latitude for us to build on. I’d love to get back in the suit and do some things that I’ve learned how to do now that I didn’t know how to do then. I think we’re better at making that kind of a film now. You know, some of the things that we did in the early parts of the franchise were experimental and now they’ve become customary in a lot of The Avengers films and other comic book adaptations.”
Snipes and Blade had a solid run together. The original cost roughly 40 million and went on to gross 131 million dollars. While the budgets for the next two installments rose, each managed to remain profitable. I am a big fan of Snipes as the titular hero and even enjoyed Trinity despite some glaring issues with every aspect of the film. One key issue that would kill a direct sequel to Trinity is the unclear ending of the film. The Unrated and theatrical versions have very different endings.
Expendables 3 was Snipes last theatrical outing after incarceration and straight to video rubbish, and while the film failed to meet the commercial success of the other installments, Snipes failed to make an impression in the film as well. Newcomer and old dog Antonio Banderas was the film’s clear standout.
While Jane still has Frank Castle in him, I would like to see Blade return to the screen without Snipes. Spike TV’s failed Blade series showed the character could gather interest without Snipes. While the series lasted only a single season, the debut episode was a ratings boom. It was the overall quality of the show drove interested viewers away.
Like most comic book characters Blade is bigger than the actor who inhabits the role, and now is the perfect time for Marvel to reboot the series. Doctor Strange could appear as he is a major force in the Avengers as well as the man who put the Night Stalkers together. Maybe a Hannibal King flick would be a good starting point with Blade and Frank Drake playing a role similar to Scarlett Johansson Black Widow? And if it all works out we could see Blade and the Punisher together.