Blade: The Marvel movie before the MCU

Wesley Snipes. Images courtesy of Marvel Enterprises / New Line Cinema

Suppose we release Blade (1998) in its entirety today, uncompromised in its storyline, themes, action sequences, violent content, profanity, and starring Wesley Snipes (“Blade“) at the same age he was at the time of ‘Blade’s’ release. In that case, we are in for an incredible experience, as this movie was groundbreaking in every aspect of comic-based movies.

I can still remember when I first got to watch ‘Blade’ on VHS, then later on HBO Asia, which made me feel so old already, but what a movie that was, because it made Wesley Snipes embody the role of Marvel’s half-breed vampire hunter like only he can. Was Wesley Snipes’ “Blade” the only way to go in hindsight? Yes! Wesley Snipes not only physically resembled how the comic book character appeared in Marvel Comics, but he had the building and the skills for it because, just like how Wesley Snipes in real life is a practitioner of martial arts and can do his stunts, “Blade” was a martial artist, so the parallels are there. Wesley Snipes portraying “Blade” was as believable as it gets in terms of comic-based portrayals on the big screen.


‘Blade’ was not only an action-packed film; it also featured a captivating storyline that delves deeply into “Blade’s Underworld.” As a half-vampire with all the powers and none of the weaknesses of a vampire, “Blade” has become a kind of one-of-a-kind paranormal action figure, both a threat and an ally to the human race. Indeed, “Blade” is one of his kind in Marvel, making his transition into having his solo movie a perfect choice because there was no other movie at the time. The creation of Marvel Comics’ “Blade” comic book character and the movie’s production under New Line Cinema marked numerous pioneering moves.

What is great nowadays is that more people have shown appreciation for ‘Blade’ as a movie and for the starring role of Wesley Snipes in it. The truth is, the film holds up and is even more entertaining than certain movies that have come out of the MCU. ‘Blade’ was a mature film, rated R, yet it maintained its entertainment value, compelling you to immerse yourself in the story. It was not only interesting but even if you were unfamiliar with the Marvel comic book character, it would not take away from the sense of enjoyment you’d get from watching it.

As awesome as ‘Blade’ was as a movie, it is also a time capsule to what was happening in the late 90s, from the black trench coats, Oakley shades, trance music, and choice of production. ‘Blade’ was also the first movie to use CGI to show slowed-down or slow-motion bullets, a full year before ‘The Matrix’ would do so. The visual style, cinematography, and cutting-edge action sequences in ‘Blade’, starring prime Wesley Snipes, would also inspire imitators and other “vampire-hunter” types of movies.

New Line Cinema deserves a ton of credit for being the one to put out ‘Blade’ because the late 90s was not a good time for comic book-based movies; in fact, none were being made or released after the debacle of the previous ones made in the late 80s to early 90s. And, no, movies like ‘Mortal Kombat’ were not counted because they were based on a video game. The truth is, comic book-based movies were not in demand at the time, and most movie studios did not see them as profit or something worth investing in, but somehow, through all that uncertainty, doubt, and negativity, a movie like ‘Blade’ got greenlit and made. Now, we can all be thankful it was made because we can look back and see how great that movie was.

‘Blade’ is no longer some little-known, obscure, or below-the-radar movie from the late 90s; it is a movie that opened the doors or floodgates of Hollywood into being more accepting and open to comic book-based movies because ‘Blade’ was a commercial and critical success. Thankfully, the film did not fail, and it was profitable enough that the movie studio earned money without losing any. In the end, as long as the movie earns a profit and does well at the box office, it does not matter what its genre is, what it is all about, or what it is based upon.

Wesley Snipes. Images courtesy of Marvel Enterprises / New Line Cinema

Given the current state of the MCU and the unsatisfactory response from moviegoers, the likelihood of a new ‘Blade’ movie happening anytime soon or at all seems remote. Realistically, the kind of moviegoers we have now may not be able to accept or tolerate the amount of blood and violence in it, and watching a Marvel Comic Book character that is as cool as “Blade” may just be too much for most of them to take. They would rather have their “Ant-Man,” “Captain Marvel,” and “Eternals,” who are pretty lame, boring, and too “preachy” characters. Let’s face it, we watch movies for entertainment, not to receive lectures or instructions on social norms or behavior. That is why ‘Blade’ will always bring me back to simpler, happier, and more normal times. If people want the MCU to be entertaining again, then get rid of the activists, socio-political people, and hidden agendas behind the scenes.

I just can’t imagine anyone else being “Blade,” because Wesley Snipes is “Blade” for all intents and purposes. It is akin to Hugh Jackman being “Wolverine.” Can you imitate Hugh Jackman’s “Wolverine”? And no, not some silly variant, but an actual actor portraying “Wolverine.” The answer is “no.” Indeed, time and time again, it has been proven that there are actors of a rare breed who are born to portray a certain character on the big screen, and decades later, everyone agrees and no one can argue that fact.


Everyone, think of this. A few years later, the impact of ‘Blade’ would lead to the global release of ‘X-Men’ and ‘Spider-Man’ in cinemas all over the world. If it weren’t for ‘Blade,’ those two said movies were most likely not going to happen anytime soon. ‘Blade’ planted the seeds for this to happen. It deserves a lot of praise.

Even today, ‘Blade’ remains superior for what it is. Yes, sure, there are dated references and some floppy CGI, but the action sequences are still awesome! They kick the ass to the max.

If you haven’t seen ‘Blade’ yet, I urge you to do so. Wesley Snipes was in his prime, doing some of the best work he has ever done in ‘Blade.’

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.

Your subscription has been successful.

Lastly, ‘Blade’ is the epitome of what a vampire hunter should be. Dangerous.


TAGS: blade, Wesley Snipes

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.

“}]] Wesley Snipes portraying “Blade” was as believable as it gets in terms of comic-based portrayals on the big screen.  Read More