1998’s Blade is arguably the first modern superhero movie. Unlike many 90s superhero projects, it took the character seriously and respected the comic book source material. It’s still a great watch, though I think Blade II inches it out as the better movie.
The sequel saw horror master Guillermo del Toro take the helm and the visuals saw a big upgrade, with Snipes’ Daywalker battling Reapers (incredibly gross-looking mutant vampires) who threaten both the human and vampire worlds. The action was kicked up a notch, the cast boasted Ron Perlman, Donnie Yen, and Norman Reedus, and Snipes was clearly having a blast in the role.
Now, del Toro has reflected on making Blade II as part of a CineFix retrospective on his filmography. He said:
“It was absolutely a blast. It’s when I started to want to experience huge changes from one movie to the other. I really almost came to the system of not repeating the same movie consecutively. I wanted a huge change. If The Devil’s Backbone is chamber music, Blade II is black metal. It goes to what I think is the essence of action movies, which is very close to the musical genre. You basically have musical numbers tied by a story that is very melancholic…”
He went on to talk about how he wanted to bring something different to superhero movies:
“When I did Blade and Hellboy it was sort of a counter to everything that was being done, it was a time in which superhero movies were not that dark and I wanted to make them dark and make them adult. I loved the first Blade and I thought I could add a layer of savagery. I had interest in the superhero movie when it was not pursued by the large industry. I like to do things that are counter to what is being done.”
Blade II would prove to be a high watermark for Snipes, with 2004’s Blade: Trinity a substantial downgrade in quality. But the story may not be over yet. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits screens in May and there are rumors that we may get a glimpse of Snipes’ Blade somewhere in its universe-hopping story.
Whether that proves to be true or not remains to be seen, though we know that Mahershala Ali’s new take is coming to the MCU relatively soon. We’ve already heard his voice in Eternals, so a dramatic big screen entrance can’t be far away.
More on the various versions of Blade as we hear them, though if you want to revisit Blade II it’s available to rent in all the usual places.