Last weekend, I watched Keanu Reeves’ latest action movie, John Wick. After taking some time to think about the film, I couldn’t help but realize the two directors — David Leitch and Chad Stahelski — would be the perfect people to bring Frank Castle into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, there might be a Punisher easter egg in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but we’re talking about the anti-hero’s big debut.
John Wick is a very straightforward action movie about a man who has nothing to lose. The plot feels like it could be something from a classic Sly or Arnold action movie, but what helps it stand apart from the gazillion other generic shoot ‘em up films is how well everything is executed. From the emotion to the stunts to the cinematography, John Wick avoids becoming just another “man against the mob” movie and manages to leave a lasting impression. When Frank Castle finally gets his own project — whether it’s on Netflix or the big screen — the team behind John Wick has what it takes to create an awesome Punisher experience.
Don’t continue if you don’t want John Wick spoilers that are already revealed in its trailers!
There’s a few strong parallels between John and Frank’s stories. John Wick is about a former hitman who left his career because he fell in love. Unfortunately, the woman he fell in love with has a terminal illness and eventually, she passes away. All that John Wick has left in life is his car (I’m not a car guy, but it’s pretty impressive) and he seems directionless. Then his doorbell rings and he has to sign for a delivery. What’s the package, you ask? An adorable puppy. Knowing she would eventually die, John’s wife arranged to have him sent a companion after her death; something that’ll make sure he still has something to love and isn’t alone in his grieving. Sadly, a Russian mobster’s son and his goons break into John’s home, kill his beyond cute dog, and then steal his car. Why’d they do that? Simply because John refused to sell his car when he bumped into them at a gas station. Now John has only one thing on his mind: revenge.
As for Frank, you all know his story, right? A skilled soldier whose family is slaughtered by the mob during a nice picnic. Frank them embarks on a mission to rid the wold of scum. Sure, there’s a ton of differences between the two leads, but at the end of the day, both men are emotionally scarred by criminals and then seek revenge. Again, it’s not the most original story around, but we’ll soon explain why John Wick’s team made it great and how they could use a similar approach to make Punisher great, too.
Yes, Keanu Reeves’ fantastic performance plays a big role in what makes John Wick worth seeing. The script may seem silly to some and in the wrong hands it would have been, but Reeves fully embraces it and dominates the role. Reeves is a key element in making John Wick memorable, but it’s worth noting Marvel Studios is known for their spot-on casting. Every hero has been brought to life phenomenally by their respective actor or actress. There’s no reason to believe it would be any different when it comes to casting Frank Castle, one of their most well-known anti-heroes.
Even though the trailer reveals the tragedy John Wick endures, the handling of the scene is still emotional. Instead of busting out of the gate with big action, this is a movie that establishes an emotional connection and turns into a character-driven story. It’s not just a forced tragedy so we can get a lot of really, really fun action sequences. The handling of it is heartfelt and we get glimpses of his thoughts to help us understand what he’s going through. It’s not heavy-handed and loaded with exposition — it’s subtle and effective. They spend just the right amount of time building up the character and tension before all of the shooting begins. Seeing as Frank Castle has such a well-known story, that’s exactly the kind of approach the guy needs. It doesn’t blow your mind with any twists and turns and it doesn’t go over-the-top in an attempt to make you cry; it simply focuses on character and makes you understand the emotional weight he’s carrying. Someone shouldn’t watch a Punisher movie and only be impacted by the shooting. They should make us care about Frank and root for him as he faces seemingly impossible odds. Even though we all know what Frank goes through, it still needs to hit us like a ton of bricks. Well, that’s exactly how they made me feel about John Wick. It didn’t just thrive because of cool action scenes — it also thrived because of character.
Before we talk about the handling of the action, there’s another thing that makes John Wick special and it would benefit a Punisher story: Worldbuilding. Writer Derek Kolstad gave this directors a familiar world but packed it with new elements. Instead of hitting us with all of the tropes you’ve come to expect from a movie about a guy who has lost it all and is now taking on the mob, John Wick begins to establish a whole new setting — one which is somewhat silly yet treated in a way that makes it all so much fun. Just like Guardians of the Galaxy, it doesn’t stop to explain what it is and why it exists. It expects you to pay attention and knows you can put together the pieces on your own. There’s a hotel where criminals stay and it’s agreed that no one can conduct “business” on its premises. It’s here that the world begins to unravel and we see there’s so much more potential in this universe as we meet new characters and continue to see how “business” is conducted. If they could do this with a mob movie, imagine what they could accomplish with the Marvel Cinematic Universe? We’ve seen HYDRA and other villainous organizations, but what about the street level criminal element? What about the gangs in New York? What kind of scene is Jigsaw running and how has it managed to avoid drawing attention? We’ll likely begin to see that in Netflix’s Daredevil series, but this team has proven they can take a familiar world and turn it into something interesting and refreshing. They can see what went down in Daredevil’s series and expand it. What if Jigsaw is one of Kingpin’s competitors? Or what if he’s just one of the many other organizations working for the big man? What if Daredevil is then thrown into the mix as Frank wages his war against criminals? There’s so many ways they can tell a story about the Punisher while also adding a little more depth to Marvel’s world.
If Frank Castle’s going to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he needs action scenes that’ll wow viewers. It shouldn’t be overly violent — that just wouldn’t mesh well with the rest of the universe — but it shouldn’t feel watered down, either. Both of John Wick’s directors are former stuntmen and it really shows. They’re able to make us believe John Wick’s the ultimate badass. From the intense and swift grappling to using pistols with uncanny precision, the action scenes are consistently thrilling. It’s tempting to go on and on about the handling of the stunts, but why not watch a clip and judge for yourself? In the below clip, John tactically takes down 8 goons. It’s never gruesome or over-the-top; it just shows how calculating and focused the lead is. Something like that is critical in a Punisher movie. If he’s going to inhabit a world with Daredevil and Thor, we need to believe he’s one of the most gifted and cunning human combatants on the planet. We need to think he could find a way out of an encounter with one of the famous heroes or villains. Also, considering the following clip isn’t gory, action like that should be able to receive a PG-13 rating — something Marvel Studios would obviously want. If you really enjoy the clip, click here for another one. Scenes like those feel perfect for Punisher, don’t they?
Given the opportunity, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski could create a Punisher story that’s character-driven, emotional and full of exciting action. We all know Frank’s story by now, but they have what it takes to make it engaging and leave you wanting more. As if that wasn’t enough, John Wick proves they’d be able to successfully add new layers to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, too. If Frank Castle is going to become part of the evergrowing universe which includes great characters like Captain America and Iron Man, he needs a compelling and fun debut; not just a generic movie which happens to include a lot of action. John Wick‘s directors? Yeah, they can do that.
Do you think John Wick’s directors would be a good choice for a Punisher movie (or Netflix series) or is there another director you have in mind?
ETERNAL WARRIOR: DAYS OF STEEL #1 (of 3)
Written PETER MILLIGAN
Art by CARY NORD
Cover A by BRYAN HITCH (SEP141680)
Cover B by RAFA SANDOVAL (SEP141681)
Variant Cover by CARY NORD (SEP141682)
B&W Sketch Variant by CARY NORD (SEP141683)
Swords! Savagery! Steel! Valiant’s immortal champion returns with an all-new adventure from master storytellers Peter Milligan (Hellblazer) and Cary Nord (Conan)!
The Eternal Warrior…Gilad Anni-Padda, the Earth’s Fist and Steel…is forever charged with guarding the Geomancer and securing the Earth’s safety. After completing another brutal mission, the Earth’s undying guardian is approached with a cryptic task: fi nd and save a baby — in whose hands might rest the fate of an entire people. But the Eternal Warrior is no nursemaid…and, to complicate matters, a thousand Magyar invaders want the baby dead. At the edge of civilization, can history’s most expert killer keep one precious life alive?
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale NOVEMBER 5
BLOODSHOT#25 (ANNIVERSARY THROWDOWN!)
Written by PETER MILLIGAN with HOWARD CHAYKIN, DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI, DUFFY BOURDEAU, JUSTIN JORDAN, and DANIEL KIBBLESMITH
Art by LEWIS LAROSA with HOWARD CHAYKIN, MANUEL GARCIA, ALL BARRIONUEVO, RAFER ROBERTS, and BART SEARS,
Cover A by LEWIS LAROSA (SEP14 1694)
Cover B by AL BARRIONUEVO (SEP14 1695)
Variant Cover by RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE (SEP14 1696)
Throwback Variant by DON PERLIN (SEP14 1697)
Variant Cover by BRYAN HITCH (SEP14 1698)
A murderer’s row of all-star talents is going all-in for an oversized, 48-page milestone anniversary blowout chronicling the classified history of Valiant’s most dangerous, most brutal, most relentless hero – BLOODSHOT!
Meet the man behind Bloodshot – or is he? – when one soldier’s untapped killer instinct takes over in a feature-sized lead tale of blood, guts, and heart by Peter Milligan and Lewis LaRosa! PLUS…an all-new story by comics master Howard Chaykin! The original BLOODSHOT launch team of Duane Swierczynski and Manuel García join forces again for an all-new adventure! AND…Duffy Boudreau and Al Barrionuevo take you on Bloodshot’s journey from the end of the line with H.A.R.D. Corps to the Colombian jungle where Unity found him! Along with many more bonus stories and artwork, a complete cover gallery, and more!
$4.99 | T+ | 48 pgs. | On sale NOVEMBER 5
THE DEATH-DEFYING DOCTOR MIRAGE #3 (of 5)
Written by JEN VAN METER
Art by ROBERTO DE LA TORRE
Cover by TRAVEL FOREMAN (SEP141706)
Down in the darkness!
Below the veil of the living world, deep in the lands of the dead, Dr. Mirage fights her way through the evils and monstrosities that besiege the spirits. But the real monsters live in the world above, where a sinister hit squad tries to put an end to Mirage’s mission — permanently.
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale NOVEMBER 5
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG: THE ONE PERCENT #1 (ONE-SHOT)
Written by RAY FAWKES
Art by JOE EISMA
Cover by JUAN DOE
Bull Mask Cover by RIAN HUGHES
Bear Mask Cover by RIAN HUGHES
Way Too Gold Variant by JUAN DOE
Remember Occupy Wall Street? We don’t, but we know you lost and the villainous One Percent won!
Now, in the wake of their greatest victory a new vicious brand of One Percent rises to the top of the class, and this time there will be no one to BAIL OUT their enemies. Don’t miss this wealth of elitist entertainment introducing a brand new villain into the Archer and Armstrong universe! (That will be $3.99, please.)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | ONE-SHOT | T+ | On sale NOVEMBER 12
Unless you were living under a rock, it was hard to miss the announced movies that Marvel revealed a few days ago. Some were more anticipated than others but all seemed to get the internets buzzing about them all.
We decided to poll our readers to see which announcement they were most excited for and here are the results:
Download Image here.
From Bela Lugosi to Count Von Count (and Chocula for that matter!), Dracula is one of the most popular and frequently interpreted characters in pop culture.
Most will know that the undead fiend first appeared in Bram Stoker’s novel, but here are 8 things you may not know about the world’s most notorious bloodsucker.
It’s long been believed that Dracula – Bram Stoker’s now classic novel – got its name from the notorious Vlad, Prince of Wallachia.
DC Comics’ Digital First prequel comic to The Flash TV show continues with Chapter 5 next Monday, featuring Flash trying to escape a band of circus freaks. Click through our gallery slideshow to check out our exclusive preview of the upcoming issue, then let us know your thoughts in the comments.
The Flash: Season Zero Chapter 5 Preview
Held captive by a band of circus freaks, the Flash’s attempt to contact S.T.A.R. Labs is thwarted–and the origin of the dastardly Mr. Bliss is revealed!
Written by Andrew Kreisberg, Brooke Eikmeier and Katherine Walczak
Art by Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur
Color by Kelsey
Our latest Character of the Month, Oliver Queen, a.k.a. Green Arrow, has done pretty well in the Battle of the Week segment. He took a firm win over Black Widow, barely beat Elektra, and took down Bullseye. But now he faces his final challenger: Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. Winter Soldier. Is Oliver’s accuracy and variety of trick arrows enough to drop Captain America’s former sidekick? Or is Bucky just too talented to lose this one? The community’s been talking about this match since Monday and the poll is now closed. According to the voters, Winter Soldier wins!
According to many of the voters, the DC archer overcame his previous challengers because of his accuracy and the fact a fair number of his trick arrows can serve as game changers (especially the boxing glove arrow). He may not have been as agile or as gifted in hand-to-hand combat as his enemies, but it was his skill with projectiles which allowed him to barely defeat Elektra and overcome the talented and lethal Black Widow and Bullseye. But his plethora of arrows just wasn’t enough to save him against Marvel’s Winter Soldier.
So, why did Winter Soldier win and the others didn’t? Oliver may have what it takes to keep Bucky on his toes, but the combination of Bucky’s skill, physicals, and weaponry means he has what is required to eventually close the gap and land some effective hits. We’ve seen Bucky catch and even shoot Hawkeye’s arrows before, so he’s experienced when it comes to battling talented marksman. His pistol means he also has the ability to keep Oliver on the move at a distance. And what if he hits the bow? That’s spells big trouble for Green Arrow. Then there’s the fact Bucky has impressive stealth capabilities — something which can play a role in a city at night — and he’s a better martial artist. A trick arrow delivered at just the right moment can turn the tide, but Bucky’s advantages will make it an uphill struggle for Ollie.
The marksman may have lost, but he wasn’t totally obliterated. As you can see, he put up a bit of a fight in the poll.
- The Winter Soldier 56%
- Green Arrow 41%
- Too close to call 3%
Now, let’s read what some Comic Viners had to say about this brawl.
“Gotta go with Bucky on this one. As good as Ollie is, Bucky has had a lot of experience between his Cold War days, and his time as Winter Soldier in the present, as well as being Cap for a while. He can be ruthless, but he’s calculating and precise. He’s a soldier, assassin, warrior, and Avenger. He’s gone toe to toe with some of the most viscous characters in the MU, and come out on top. Not to mention if he gets in a good punch with that arm, it’s game over. Ollie is no slouch but if you take everything that his last three combatants had, and then role it into one, you get Winter Soldier.”
“Bucky has a lot of experience fighting wars and working as an assassin/spy. He is familiar with shields, swords and guns. His cybernetic arm also has plenty of tricks up its sleeve, (EMP, enhanced strength,) so to speak.
GA is an acrobat, a skilled swordsman, (but he prefers archery,) and has been known to shoot an arrow straight down the barrel of a gun; so Buck is going to have to rely on hand to hand combat.
Now both guys are great h2h combatants, experienced in several forms of martial arts and both guys are extremely stealthy/fast. And an EMP arrow wouldn’t take out Buck’s arm. GA has other arrows he can use, Buck is stronger than GA, simply put, this can go either way.
Too close to call.”
“Both are assassins and very skilled at stalking in close and complex settings. This was tough because I believe the Winter Soldiers comes off as more intimidating because of his past and persona but I sided with the arrow because his time in the game(more experience) although Bucky technically is older, Arrow has been battling longer. I dont know if the vine thought this through before they set up the battle but the similarities of the 2 story lines is creepy. That dynamic duo relationship Arrow has/had with Arsenal(Red Arrow) / Speedy is similar to Cap and the Winter Soldier. In one story line Speedy loses his arm and gets it replaced by a bionic arm. In either case I think Arrow’s experience outlasts Bucky’s skill and strength. Great battle.”
“Green Arrow is a tricky opponent thanks to his arsenal of high-tech arrowheads but he is primarily a distance fighter who relies on his gimmick of shooting his opponent and incapacitating them. He’s great at it. World class even. But up against the Winter Soldier, he’s at a severe disadvantage.
Even if GA gets lucky and say shoots an electro-arrow or whatever and disrupts Bucky’s cybernetic arm; I have seen Bucky fight without his arm entirely so I can’t believe that it would slow him down that much. He’s trained himself to fight without it so it wouldn’t totally incapacitate him like some other people have suggested.
Not to mention that Bucky isn’t just a distance fighter, he’s also excellent at moderate or even hand-to-hand ranges.
And while Green Arrow is fast and can shoot multiple arrows so that he can engage most people with guns and win; I do not believe that he can do so with Bucky who has demonstrated that his reflexes are good enough that he can shoot arrows out of the air or even catch them if he was so inclined. In essence, Ollie is going up against someone who is every bit as good as he is with a gun as he is with a bow.
So basically Green Arrow’s best ability is effectively nullified or countered. If anything, he’s at a disadvantage since his bow is a fairly big target and Bucky is sure to shoot to damage or disable it leaving Ollie with a hunk of reinforced plastic that is a badly shaped club and no way to fire off his arrows except by throwing them. Against a speeding projectile like a bullet? He’s screwed.
Green Arrow is an excellent hand to hand combatant but he is definitely not in say Batman’s league in hand-to-hand combat who I think is easily in Captain America’s level which Bucky has demonstrated he can fight at as well. He’s also better than Green Arrow is at exploiting the terrain so GA has no advantages there either.
Overall, the Winter Soldier has too many advantages with fewer weaknesses to exploit than Green Arrow does.
WINNER: THE WINTER SOLDIER!”
That’s it for Green Arrow’s time in the Battle of the Week! His time as the Character of the Month may be coming to its end as well, but that doesn’t mean you should stop putting the Emerald Archer in great fights. So, head to the Battles Forum and start creating some fun matches for Ollie.
Tonight, Constantine returns with an episode that introduces a remarkable relationship and character–Angélica Celaya’s Zed. We spoke with Celaya about how closely the show’s Zed will reflect its comic book counterpart, and whether she may may be destined for some pretty divine things.
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read EARTH 2: WORLD’S END #4 yet and do not wish to know what happens, stop reading!
Source: DC Comics