What’s it about: Ex-FBI agent Frank Castle’s (Thomas Jane) entire family is murdered by the orders of mob boss Howard Saint (John Travolta) after his son is killed during one of Castle’s last jobs. After losing his entire family, Castle makes it his mission to take down Saint and his entire posse.

Who’s in it: John Travolta, Thomas Jane

When it came out: 2004

How come you haven’t heard of (or just seen) it: Compared to some of the other Marvel comics-turned-movies, this was a bit of a sleeper hit. It may have flown past your radar if you were distracted by the glamour and glitz of the Spider-Man franchise, which came out around the same time.

Why you need to watch it–immediately!

  • I find it’s a lot darker compared to some of the other Marvel movies, but it just makes things more interesting
  • John Travolta as a villain is one of the best kinds of John Travoltas (coming in second only to drag-and-dancing John Travolta in Hairspray)
  • Unlike so many of Marvel’s characters, we get the chance to see an antihero–he’s not someone who is doing good for the sake of doing good but rather seeking revenge after his family is brutally murdered. It’s an interesting turn in the Marvel world
  • Even though it’s a lot darker, it still has that Marvel world-feel–you get the sense that you’re still watching a “superhero” movie, complete with Stan Lee’s touch
  • This song was on the soundtrack, causing me to replay it again and again (and again) for months after the movie came out
  • The final scene. So bad. So good.

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