I think it might be safe to say that the current wave of Marvel based movies started with Blade. Up until it came out the superhero movies were mostly DC comics based. This paved the way for the X-Men movies, which kickstarted it even more. The biggest surprise about Blade being so big is that it was more adult focused. I also don’t remember the comic book connection being that big of a piece of the marketing. Before this the character of Blade was in Spider-Man: The Animated Series from the 90s.
This movie works as a good entrance point for the character of Blade because you don’t have to deal with a lot of the weirder aspects from his comics history, most especially the 70s stuff. That streamlining comes from David S. Goyer being such a fan of the source material. Blade has more of an action movie feel than the sequel, which has much more of an action horror feel to it. It has horror elements in it which are done to great effect with Stephen Norrington’s directing. Together the pair made an incredibly dynamic movie, that still holds up.
Wesley Snipes had such a grasp on the character in this movie that there isn’t any of the awkwardness that some people have in their first times playing a role. I’m sure that’s because he added a lot of his personality to the character. It also helps that he’s supported by a great cast. Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N’Bushe Wright, Donal Logue, Sanaa Lathan, and Udo Kier. Dorff and Logue play such fun villains that they help make the movie even more memorable. The weirdest thing in this movie is the sexual tension between Lathan and Snipes, which is weird since they played mother and son.
The CG effects in Blade are surprisingly good still, even now. That comes from them not lingering on the shots. Even the weird skeleton spirits look surprisingly good. The exploding vampires were done in interesting way, because it looks like puppets and compositing were both used along with CG. The action and stunts in this are amazing. The fight scenes shine even with the weird flashy editing. The music by Mark Isham is really good.
Blade is a kickass superhero movie that continues to do so after all these years. I’m continually surprised by at how well these movies hold up. I’ll be doing the third movie next and I honestly don’t expect it to hold up nearly as well. You can stream Blade on HBO Max until the end of the month. I give Blade 8.5 sunglasses out of 10.