The Punisher ★★★★

2018 Superhero Rewatch: In which I return to superhero movies I've seen before to see how time has treated them.

This film, the second effort at bringing the Punisher to the screen, is underrated in my opinion. First off, Thomas Jane is great in the role. Second, although I typically feel origin stories slow a movie down, this one does it well. It actually amplifies the tragedy from the comics. The scene of the Castle family massacre is moved from New York to a gorgeous beach in Puerto Rico, and instead of killing just Castle's wife and kids, it's an entire family reunion. Finally, instead of the Castles dying randomly because they happened to witness a crime, it's personal. They're targeted in retaliation for a mob boss's son, who died in an undercover operation Castle ran. Again, I normally find it unnecessary to explicitly tie the hero's origin in with the villain of the movie, but in this case it works.

Some stuff, admittedly, doesn't work. I don't see the logical sense in Frank announcing to the world -- especially John Travolta's character -- that he's still alive. And while the Russian was a lot of fun in the Ennis/Dillon comics the movie draws its inspiration from, in live action he just looks silly.

But overall, I like this movie. It's a shame Jane never got a sequel, because I think he could have been great.