Some superheroes just don’t have what it takes to make it as a movie star. They may work great on the printed page, but something about them keeps their movies from being as satisfying.
Of course, that’s not going to keep Hollywood from trying…and trying…and trying…
People like the Hulk because he’s a big green guy that smashes stuff. That’s really all there is to it. Unfortunately, smashing stuff is very expensive — even with a huge budget a Hulk movie can only afford a few minutes of Hulk being Hulk. As a result, a lot of time has to be spent on boring stuff like Bruce Banner’s childhood or Edward Norton looking angsty.
A good movie generally requires some sort of story arc — we want to see the characters grow, or at the very least achieve something meaningful by the end of the movie. There is no arc for the Punisher though. He’s just a guy who witnessed his family’s murder, went crazy and became a serial killer. There’s no growing, or happy ending for Frank Castle — killing the bad guys he’s currently after doesn’t really achieve anything aside from allowing him to move onto his next victims.
The Punisher works fine in a serial format like comic books. I could see a Punisher TV series on HBO or AMC being decent, but his movies always just feel underwhelming and pointless.