My exposure to Marvel Comics’ Blade has mainly been in the movie Trilogy staring Wesley Snipes, I know very little of the Comic character created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan. Blade debuted in 1973 in The Tomb of Dracula number 10, which I have been told is a wonderfully written series. His mother, a London prostitute, was bitten and drained of blood while she was nine months pregnant. This passed on a vampire enzyme which made Blade immune to vampire bites. In the beginning he had no other superhuman abilities. His look wasn’t quite as hard core, but was inline with the time he was created, sporting a 70s style afro and a colorful (sometimes a bright yellow or green) overcoat. His blades were also made of teak. Like most characters, his costume and look changed to reflect the era. But that is the comic books, and this article is about the Movies and Television series.
The Black Panther was not the first Marvel movie with a black actor as its main character. It is arguable that the first of the modern Marvel movies was Blade, which proved that a super hero movie could be a success. It paved the way for the X-men movie two years later. Although not part of the MCU, the 1998 movie saw Wesley Snipes’ Blade having the same general origin as his comic book predecessor, but not only was he immune to the bite of a vampire, but he had all their strengths and none of their weaknesses, giving him the nickname “Daywalker”. Well, almost none of their weaknesses. He still had the thirst for blood, but suppressed his murderous tendencies with the help of a synthetic serum. His costume updated to black leather and wielding a variety of weapons. Blade attempts to stop Deacon Frost, the vampire that killed his mother, from summoning La Magra, the Blood God.
The follow up 2002 film has Wesley Snipes returning to the roll, but this time battling mutant vampires called the Reapers, hell bent on eradicating both humans and vampires. Directed by Guillemo de Toro, the movie is visually stunning but lacks any character development or depth to the story.
The third and final film in the trilogy aptly named Blade: Trinity and also starred Mr. Snipes. This movie introduces us to Dracula (Dominic Purcell) and Hannibal King played by fan favorite Ryan Reynolds. This movie was just fun to watch, although critically panned, I really enjoyed it. Especially Ryan Reynolds comic performance. He steals every scene he is in. Dominic and Ryan both go on to play other superheroes. Ryan, of course, goes on to play the DC hero Green Lantern and the Marvel character Dead Pool. Dominic plays Heat Wave in the Arrowverse shows, specifically Legends of Tomorrow.
All the movies are fun, with great fight scenes and a dark and brooding lead actor, some great supporting cast members and wonderful visuals. The societal constructs of vampire human relations is interesting and complex, which causes the scripts to be a bit clunky when handling exposition. But overall the movies are exciting and thrilling with enough plot twists to keep it interesting.
In 2006, Spike TV gave us Blade: The Series. I have only seen one episode, so my feelings are limited. From the start to the finish, the series felt low budget. Blade is played by Kirk Jones, better known as “Sticky Fingaz”. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the charisma to really pull off Blade. Instead of an emotionally dark and brooding character, he just seemed stiff. His costume didn’t look quite right, almost like a store-bought outfit that wasn’t tailored to the character. The acting from the supporting cast wasn’t really any better. It could quite possibly have gotten better as it progressed, but the pilot just didn’t grab me enough to continue watching.
A new movie to introduce the character into the MCU will star Mahershala Ali and will be written by Stacy Osei-Kuffour.