After being set up in the post-credits scene of Eternals, Blade is set to enter the MCU and its titular vampire-hunting hero carries a lot of potential for a change of pace in storytelling. Born as a Daywalker, half-vampire half-human, Blade is a character who can suit a story with a darker tone and more gray morality than most MCU heroes to date. To make the most of Blade’s first movie appearance since Blade: Trinity in 2004, the story would do well to learn from the successes and failures of other recent movies and shows, both in the MCU and elsewhere.
MCU stories are no longer hesitant to explore the supernatural side of the Marvel mythos, with characters like Blade and Moon Knight being introduced to the canon. At the same time, with characters like Wanda Maximoff, MCU writers are dipping their toes into the different moralities Marvel protagonists can have. After arguably trying too hard to make characters like Thanos appear to have moral justification for villainous actions, Wandavision looked from the opposite angle, showing that heroes can be similarly villainous in some situations. Following these acts, Blade could introduce an interesting anti-heroic element to the MCU.
Blade is a dhampir, born to a human and a vampire. This gives him many of the strengths which make vampires so formidable, like superhuman strength, speed, and healing. At the same time, he’s immune to vampire bites and hypnotic powers, while being able to walk freely in daylight. As a master of a variety of martial arts fighting styles, from jeet kune do to capoeira, Blade uses his abilities as a vampire hunter. With the introduction of Blade and the supernatural horrors he fights, there are a few things that screenwriters will hopefully be keeping in mind.
MCU Blade Shouldn’t Try To Outdo The Original
The first Blade movie, released in 1998, is a cult classic. Critics may not have been kind to it, but audiences widely enjoy it for what it is – action-packed vampire-slaying mayhem. MCU writers will have a slew of decisions to make when adapting the sword-wielding Blade, but it would be wise to look at the Daywalker from a different angle. Just as Batman has been reimagined multiple times, it’ll be interesting to see a different take on Blade. That’s not to say that the 1998 movie cannot serve as inspiration. However, its famously campy tone, questionable CGI and signature style would arguably clash with the rest of the MCU. As a result, a fresh approach is paramount.
A Blade Movie Needs A Clear, Focussed Story
As a character introduction, Blade should ideally have a firm concept, good pacing, and a clear idea of the kind of story it intends to tell, while not trying to squeeze too much in. Eternals failed arguably because of its own ambition by taking enough story to fill a limited TV series and putting it all into a single movie, leading to many criticisms focussing on things that weren’t given enough attention due to lack of time. Similarly, capturing the right tone is important to avoid the problems in movies like Man Of Steel, which suffered from tonal problems leading to a confusing movie to watch. Striking the correct balance between overlong and convoluted, versus light-weight and inconsequential is a tricky balancing act for a character that already has an established cinematic legacy. Given the inherent complications in joining a franchise as multi-layered as the MCU, it’s vital that the new Blade is able to stand on its own two feet as a solo venture.
The Origin And Backstory Can Be Skipped
The original Blade abandoned the comic backstory of its main character, focusing on its own story instead. It’s a brash move, but it can pay off. Superhero movies do not always need to show an origin. With some characters, their backstory is understood so well that it is not really necessary, but other characters simply do not need a backstory. Blade (1998) starts with a cold open, leading to a fight scene which ends up as a literal bloodbath. Fragments of backstory are revealed here and there in the movie, but never more than is actually relevant to the story being told.
Several recent movies have done this excellently. MCU Spider-Man’s backstory still has not been shown, and nor is it needed. Similarly, The Batman told a compelling story without the need for the kind of repetitive flashbacks which make movies like Man Of Steel so confusing to watch. Iron Manthe MCU’s first movie, was an origin story in itself, and many debut movies like Doctor Strange copy this format, but a character like Blade is better shown as an established hero from the start.
Blade Should Minimize Any Tie-Ins
Shared universes run the risk of getting tangled up in themselves with too many references and setups. Many of the weakest superhero movies are those which pay more attention to setting up the expanded universe than to their own story. These include the likes of Iron Man 2 spirit Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Based on Blade’s voice cameo at the end of Eternals, it’s likely he’ll cross paths with Dane Whitman (aka Black Knight), but any crossover characters and setups should be used carefully and sparingly, especially while establishing Blade as a new character. Otherwise, the movie risks repeating past franchise mistakes.
Blade Needs Strong Characterization
Characters are the most important part of stories, but actual characterization is startlingly often overlooked in action movies. The story should revolve entirely around Blade and it should give a good idea of who he is and what his motivations are. As a superhero movie, the most important thing is always to empathize with the main character.
Again, The Batman does this excellently, by giving a picture of Batman’s view of the world and, most importantly, how his view changes during the course of the story. A hero should have a compelling character journey, where they learn and grow. Similarly, Thoroften considered a waste of potential and one of the MCU’s weaker movies, has a similar character arc with Thor needing to learn how to be a better version of himself by the end of the story. Blade should mirror this formula by focusing less on the protagonist’s incredible abilities and more on how he develops as an individual. Only then will he become truly relatable for audiences.
Blade Should Be A Street-Level Hero
Much of the MCU Phase 4 focuses on cosmic scale forces and threats. Loki is all about time travel, Doctor Strange’s appearances have all concerned the multiverse, Eternals placed a strong emphasis on the god-like Celestials, and Thor: Love And Thunder will involve a murderer of the gods themselves. While the high concept sci-fi and fantasy stories are exciting and fun, the MCU should not forget to tell stories based on city streets, where superhero comics originally began. As a vampire hunter, Blade is the ideal character for this kind of story.
While not everyone’s familiar with Blade’s earlier movies, Blade will definitely bring the potential to push MCU stories in an interesting new direction. As a combat-focused character, it’ll be interesting to see how he eventually interacts with other heroes like Spider-Man and Moon Knight, and what role he may play in stories going forward. Fans will no doubt be hoping that he’ll start on the right foot, with a sharp, character-oriented introduction and a compelling first movie.
Next: Everything We Know So Far About MCU Blade
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- The Marvels / Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023
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