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There may be cringe-worthy moments, but Blade ages exceptionally well.
The story of a villain turning on his allies isnt something new by any means. However, the wayBladeincorporates the Marvel Comics villain and some of his storylines, and adapts it to the big screen, making it stripped down and more palatable for the average moviegoer, was incredibly fresh for the time, and something were much more used to seeing today, like with Loki. Loki sure does love betraying his friends.
The character Blade on his own wouldnt make for an exceptionally interesting movie. Hes a daywalking, half-vampire who kills other vampires. Where this movie shines is with Deacon Frosts story. Hes a younger vamp who finds the ways of the vampires in charge to be apathetic and complacent with their role in society, so by reading into some old vampiric prophecies, Frost brings in a changing of the guard by destroying the elders and empowering himself with La Magra, the blood god.
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Bladedistinguished itself because it wasnt trying to be a superhero movie. It wasnt trying to be the precursor to the Marvel-movie factory.Bladewasnt even trying to be a good comic book adaptation because it was more concerned with being a cool vampire movie. When it was released, Americans were at the tail-end of a vampire-craze, which started withBram Stokers Draculaand gave us such films asInterview With A VampireandFrom Dusk Till Dawn. However, being that it was the end of the era,Bladewas surrounded by rushed and poorly made vamp films that were the real-life equivalent of your grandparents learning about memes: its a cute attempt, but theyre doing it wrong. For its time, thats why it stood out: it was surrounded by really bad movies.
Blades 20th Anniversary: A Marvel Movie That Still Holds Up
Bladeturned 20 years old on August 21, and while that may be hard to believe, a look at any CGI scene in the movie makes its age pretty obvious. However, two decades later,Bladestill holds up as a great comic book movie. Additionally, the movie is still a ton of fun, even though it feels very much a product of its time.
In many ways,Bladeis better than many comic book movies from the past decade. Theres no origin story, and viewers arent bogged down with the same heros journey tale theyve seen time and time again. There is no call to arms for Blade. Hes already killing vampires, and hes really good at it. This is yet another reason its so watchable two decades later–it puts us right into the action, as Blade isnt a complicated character. The audience doesnt need an expositional scene of Blade running through all his powers and why he is like he is: its sprinkled throughout the film, rather than treating the viewer like a simpleton who wont understand whats going on without an explicit explanation.
Sure,Bladeis one of the few comic book adaptations from the mid-to-late 90s thats watchable in 2018. If youre ever wondering how comic book movies got so popular and what started the superhero craze, look towardsBlade, as it is the movie that kicked off this current trend withX-MenandSpider-Manfollowing in its footsteps a couple years later.Bladeis currently available for purchase on Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, Amazon Video, and YouTube. For a couple dollars more,you can buy all three Blade movies, on Blu-ray, on Amazon.
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And like most movies from the late 90s,Bladecontains a rave scene, but at leastBlademakes it interesting with a rainshower of blood. What makes this movie work is that it effectively mixes genres and doesnt take itself too seriously. There are a few witty one-liners laced throughout, but unlike later Marvel movies,Bladeisnt trying to be a comedy.
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It became a template for how to create a superhero movie that isnt cheesy or handcuffed to its source material. Sure,Bladecontains some incredibly cheesy moments, like when Blade and a vampire are throwing multiple roundhouse kicks at each other like two people practicing their capoeira routine for their upcoming showcase on a Travel Channel show. There is also the fact the CGI has not aged well, and while the movie relies much more on practical effects, a scene towards the end of the film where winged skeletons fly around Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) wouldnt have held up in 2001, let alone 2018.
In 1997, the fourth installment in the Batman movie series,Batman & Robin, came out and was panned by both critics and Batman fans. It was the second Batman film directed by Joel Schumacher, and for many comic book readers at the time, it felt this would be the last attempt at a comic book movie for the foreseeable future. The bright lights, dayglow attire, and atrocious costume design coupled with an asinine story made audiences hate superhero movies. Despite the reception, New Line Cinema releasedBladein August 1998. This was the first adapted superhero movie to star a black actor that stepped away from the source material, as others in that specific genre–likeSpawnandSteel–came off as goofy or cheesy as they were more direct translations.
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The film didnt destroy box office records. While it cost $45 million to make,Bladeraked in$131 million globally; however, this was a rated-R movie, which limited its audience.Many critics hatedBlade. Some didnt like the movie because it wasnt enough of a horror film, others for it not being more likeInterview With A Vampire, and some spent too much time comparing Blade to screenwriter David Goyers previous work,Dark City. What they, and even those involved with the film, failed to realize is thatBladewas a complete reboot to the superhero genre.