Monday, July 22, 2013

I'm THIS Close to Just Writing My Own Punisher Movie...

Just so when the new one Marvel is making comes out, if it's bad, I can answer the question "could you write a better one?" with a resounding "YES!" and "Fuck you!"

Here are the things I'd do differently:

1. Frank would exist in the Marvel Movieverse with all the other heroes. While the projected film is planning to do this already, I would make it far truer to the comic. Other heroes would be mentioned, but not appear. Except for one: Daredevil. I would use Garth Ennis' take on Punisher vs. Daredevil from Welcome Back Frank in which Daredevil attempts to stop Frank from killing a mobster his alter ego represents in court. Frank lets Daredevil beat him in a physical fight, only to knock him out with an ultra-sonic sound generator and chain him up to teach him a lesson. I do this because I fucking hate Daredevil.

2. Frank would be a Vietnam veteran. I know this would make him like 70, but I'll explain that away in a moment. Vietnam is important for Frank. He calls it the "war where he was born" It's also a metaphor for his entire war on crime: an intractable quagmire against a ruthless, seemingly unlimited enemy in their territory. No matter how badass Frank is, he will never win the war. But he will keep fighting it because it's his war. Most law enforcement would assume that the current Punisher is a protege of the first, rather than the same person. However, there would be two people who knew the truth. GW Bridge, a SHIELD agent assigned to capture Frank, and Gen. Fury, who secretly supports Frank's war and gives him supplies and weapons.

3. Frank would have a vaguely supernatural explanation for his longevity. This was addressed in the Born series of comics, also by Garth Ennis. Frank was the sole survivor of a Marine base called Fort Valley Forge near the end of the war. It was Frank's third tour and he was a recon captain. During his time there, he is internally dialoged with a dark voice that never identifies itself but seems highly interested in keeping Frank in the killing business. It mocks Frank's attempt to be happy about going home, and tells him he'll only be happy with a war that never ends. It promises Frank this war, for a price. Frank differs at first, until a legion of VC attack the fort. Frank then agrees to the voice's terms, when it offers to keep him alive, in exchange for a price to be named later. Frank is found by a recon patrol days later, covered in blood, holding a broken machinegun standing on a mountain of VC corpses. He's the only survivor. He only hears the voice again when he sees his family, and is reminded that there would be a price to pay. In Welcome Back Frank, he references the often (and rightly) maligned Zombisher series, in which the Punisher died and was brought back by angels to do their bidding. They wanted Frank to correct mistakes they'd made on Earth by being lazy and letting demons influence criminals. Frank does it for a while, then tells them where to go. They show him his family in heaven then thrown him down to earth as a mortal thinking it will be worse than hell for him. They were wrong, and Frank promptly resumes his war. I'd find a way to mix these two into one origin, making Frank still a normal human without any powers, just ageless. He can still die, of course. Whether he will stay dead is a matter of interpretation for the audience.
4. Frank would face relatively super-powered enemies. The crime lords he deals with would get tired of their normal flunkies getting the ass killed out of them, and would turn to the burgeoning super-villain world for help. They would present a challenge for Frank, but they'd be outclassed because Frank is Marvel's Batman. With training and preparation, he can beat ANYONE. In an alternate universe, he defeated Magneto by shooting him in the head with a rubber bullet. In another, he killed The Hulk by tagging him with a tracer, following him until he turned back into Banner, then shot Banner while he slept. In the regular Marvel Universe, he defeated a trio of Daredevil, Spiderman, and Wolverine by tricking them into fighting the Hulk. He also defeated Dr. Doom. That's right, Dr. Doom. The guy who once beat the Silver Surfer got beaten by The Big Nothing. No, Frank couldn't beat Spiderman in a fist fight. But if he had to kill Spiderman for some reason, he wouldn't get into a fistfight with him, just like if Spiderman had to fight Galactus, he wouldn't throw webs at his face.

5. Anybody saying Frank isn't right for a Marvel Universe movie because he doesn't have any powers is an idiot who can eat my stool. Guess who else in the Marvel Movieverse doesn't have any powers? Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and technically Iron Man and his first two badguys. Frank is WAY more badass than any of them. During the Secret War, Nick Fury considered putting Frank on one side of Latvia with all the guns and ordinance he wanted and the Hulk on the other and telling them to meet in the middle. During the Civil War, Captain America had to reluctantly allow Frank to help because he was literally the only person on the planet capable of successfully breaking into the Baxter Building to hack their teleporters to free the imprisoned heroes in the negative-zone prison thingy Reed Richards had built. Also, Frank killed Stilt Man. Fucking STILT MAN beat Spiderman. TWICE. And Frank killed him. With a Bazooka. He then waited until about fifty costumed villains attended a wake for Stilt Man at a bar in Queens, poisoned them, barred the door and burned down the bar. Oh he also defeated the Rhino, and did so in a way that the Rhino wound up helping Frank fight (and beat) the Wrecking Crew. Yes, the Thor villains. That Wrecking Crew. And he won. With the Rhino.