As I type this, Netflix's second season of Daredevil is just four days away. FOUR days! And what is so amazingly awesome about this particular season is that The Man With No Fear will be joined by none other than the Punisher himself, and the deadly Elektra. With Matt Murdock's arrival on the Hell's Kitchen scene as the demonic Daredevil, Wilson Fisk's downfall and incarceration, and the Yakuza thought to have been driven out of the city, a power vacuum of epic proportions has been opened; and through that vacuum comes The Hand, an ancient and evil mystical organization of ninjas from Japan, whose only objective is control of power.
So, while we drag our feet through another work week until Friday, how about catching up on some flicks featuring the three scrappy, street-level combatants in the meantime?
1. 'Daredevil' (2003)
OK, I know, I know. Not necessarily the Daredevil movie many people wanted, right? While 2003's Daredevil from New Regency Pictures and writer/director, Mark Steven Johnson, starring Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, and Colin Farrell, wasn't up to snuff with critics and many audience members alike, it's worth an honorable mention.
It had its moments amongst the campiness and questionable dialogue. Despite the film's many shortcomings, Ben Affleck did what he could with what he had in the script, and turned out about as solid a performance as could be squeezed from such a film. Whether you have your qualms with Affleck or not, it's hard to deny that he was one of the best parts of the movie, portraying a lost and broken Matt Murdock. And the suit, you can't forget how kick-ass the suit was. Oh, and Michael Clarke Duncan as Wilson Fisk. I mean, c'mon!
2. 'The Punisher' (1989)
If you feel like dropping back a few more years for some real retro comic book movie action, then check out 1989's Dolph Lundgren-starring flick, The Punisher. A very familiar story plays out in this iteration of Frank Castle. Castle, an ex-cop, loses his family to mobsters, he himself, being legally declared dead. From beyond the grave, he strikes back against the mobsters, taking names and kicking asses.
If you want to see a whole bunch of practical, late '80s action movie goodness with none other than Dolph f#$%ing Lundgren as the mother@#$ing Punisher, then wait no further. Also, the full movie is available on YouTube.
3. 'Punisher' (2004)
Skipping ahead back to the new millennium, we have two more Punisher movies, both very different from the each other. One year after Ben Affleck donned the red mask as Daredevil, Thomas Jane slipped on the skull and blasted his way through goon after goon leading up to John Travolta's Howard Saint, a drug smuggling crime lord with a heart, cold as ice. While not the most faithful adaptation of The Punisher comics, the film has it's moments in its loose and grounded adaptation of the antihero gunslinger. Oh, and it has Seether. A whole lot of Seether.
4. 'Punisher: War Zone' (2008)
Out of all the previous live-action Punisher movies, my personal favorite has to be Ray Stevenson's portrayal of the character in 2008's Punisher: War Zone. A more traditional Frank Castle, Stevenson's massive frame and dead-behind-the-eyes performance through most of the film gives us the most intimidating Punisher on the big screen to date. While the story of War Zone didn't pan out as smoothly as 2004's Punisher, the over-the-top, comic book action and appropriate, gory violence pulled the gloves off Castle in a big way.
5. 'Elektra' (2005)
A sort of pseudo-sequel to 2004's Daredevil, Jennifer Garner's Elektra was unfortunately and arguably the weakest of the early, new millennium Marvel films. I really like Jennifer Garner, so it sucks to say that, but her Elektra was really not all that great.
It wasn't really her acting either, it was just the characterization of Elektra all around, going back to the 2004 Daredevil movie. Even Terrance Stamp as Stick couldn't save the movie, as Hollywood did what Hollywood does best in these kinds of films: throw in a romantic, average joe interest and let the character of Elektra quickly diminish into obscure, B-movie disappointment. When it comes to movies however, I'd say try everything, at least once.
What Marvel material would you recommend leading up to March 18th and the return of Daredevil? Watch the trailer and let us know below in the comments!