Seeing what Marvel has become over the last 10 years it’s hard to believe that back in the ’90s, the general public was about fed up with superhero films. Coming off of Spawn and those god-awful Batman films with Kilmer and Clooney, the superhero genre was doomed. That was until Snipes’ Blade came along – and after 20 years, premiering on August 21, 1998, I believe that this film holds up to this day.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of Blade, it’s safe to say that this film may need to be looked at once again and see how it holds up. Sure, you can tear apart the CGI and maybe some cheesy dialogue here and there, but this is a film that stepped out of its comfort zone, yet it knew exactly what it wanted to be. Although the film didn’t destroy the box office, one of the reasons for this was its R-rating. Looking back now, it definitely needed that, but it did limit its audience.
The Action Sequences
If you’ve seen Blade, how can you not forget that rave opening scene? After all of the superheroes films I’ve seen, this opening sequence is by far one of the greatest intros to any comic book movie. After that cop is crawling on the ground trying to get away from the blood, all you see is him stumble on what we see is just a black trench coat and there we get the full glory of Blade. Watching him wreak havoc on vampires was incredible and the hand-to-hand combat was top-notch for its time.
Although the CGI wasn’t the best in the film, you’ve got to admit that watching the vampires turn to ash was a pretty neat move, but I still wonder to this day why some burnt to ash quicker than others. That being said, all of the action scenes leading up to the final fight between Deacon Frost and Blade was a sure treat.
Wesley Snipes’ Portrayal as Blade
If you ask anyone who knows about Wesley Snipes, they’re probably going to think about Blade, or White Men Can’t Jump. At least that’s what I thought as a kid, but maybe that’s just me. One of the greatest things about Blade is that Snipes brought his A-game when it came to this character. I was never a big Blade comic reader, but it sure felt like he portrayed Blade how he needed to be. Throughout the film, you see his frustration with vampires and humans alike and you really start to feel for the guy once you realize he is a hybrid of both species and seeing what his mom went through.
One other thing they got right for the film was giving Blade a grounded origin story – which it didn’t need 2 hours to tell. Telling the audience that he has all the strengths of a vampire but none of their weaknesses (besides the thirst), really sets up the rest of the film if you think about it. Snipes portrayed this character with so much depth and it didn’t require him to be a “superhero” for us to understand that.
‘Blade’ Set The Stage For Future R-Rated Marvel Films
It only took nearly 20 years since Blade, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that Deadpool and Logan wouldn’t be what they were it was if they weren’t R-rated. Fox took a leap of faith and it sure paid off by delivering Deadpool with a similar, yet different approach to how Blade was introduced on the big screen. As I mentioned earlier, in order for Blade to have an R-rating, it had a limited audience back then as opposed to if it was rated PG-13. This goes back to New Line Cinema taking a risk and doing what I thought paid off in the long run, although many critics didn’t like it, and probably still don’t. But, you have to remember that this was before the MCU and what it represents now, however, I believe Blade could hold its own if it was released in 2018 as an R-rated film.
Looking back at the last 20 years of Marvel films, Blade surely does stand out among others, including in the MCU. As a film, I feel that this movie is overlooked and not given the proper respect it desires. I’m not saying this movie should have been nominated for an Oscar or two, but it does need to be talked about a lot more than it has in the last couple of decades. If I could describe this film in one word, it would be: Awesome. Blade is so much fun, and if you can get past the CGI, this film may surprise you if you haven’t seen it at all, or haven’t seen it in a long time. Seeing Blade fight vampires non-stop in the film was pure pleasure and I think they delivered on that level. Don’t get me wrong, the film is not flawless, but it does belong in one of the best Marvel films out there, especially for an origin story. I also look forward to seeing Blade again on-screen, hopefully making his debut in the MCU on a Netflix series.