Blade responds by smacking Reinhardt twice in the face, then attaching an explosive to the back of his head and telling him that he'll use it if Reinhardt acts up again. That's the two-act structure to every Blade scene: 1) Some motherfucker tries to ice skate uphill. 2) Blade handles it.
When Blade does gain more allies in (the thoroughly mediocre) Blade: Trinity, he's quick to point out that his struggle is not a joke. Ryan Reynolds, showing up here long before Hollywood thought of him as superhero movie material, wears a "Hello, My Name Is" sticker with the words "FUCK YOU" written on it. To that, Blade responds, "You think this is a fucking sitcom?" First of all, I'd really like to know what sitcoms Blade watches. Second, it illustrates that if you want to be an ally, you have to be ready to take it seriously. Approaching it with ironic detachment is a slap in the face.
Yet despite all of this, you didn't see the mainstream press heralding Blade as some kind of bold risk. Even the positive reviews were based around statements like "What is unusual about the film is the way it combines high-tech violence with the more up-close-and-personal violence of vampires" (yep, you really nailed it, Gene Siskel, and may God rest your soul). The negative reviews spouted shit like "Filter out the gloss, the gore and the insistent techno score, and all you're left with are the gleaming pecs and bulging biceps of Wesley Snipes as Buff The Vampire Slayer." You get the sense that 20 years ago, an R-rated, wide-release movie in which a black Marvel superhero beats the shit out of a white cop was considered boring.
Which would almost imply that we've gone backward since then, that Black Panther feels like a trailblazer because it does indeed have to re-blaze the trail. Blade came along at the tail end of the Clinton years, a year before the box office would be dominated by parables about mediocre white males having a crisis of identity (American Beauty, Fight Club, The Matrix). Since then we've seen regression, not just in terms of race relations but also in what kind of risks movies like this were willing to take. Twenty years later, a movie like Black Panther (and a show like Luke Cage, while we're at it) feels like a bold slap in the face to the Trump Era.
I'm not trying to take anything away from either of those. I'm just saying that two decades earlier, there was a Marvel superhero movie that featured goddamned Mobb Deep on the soundtrack.
Daniel has a Twitter. Go to it. Enjoy yourself. Kick your boots off and stay for a while.
Real talk the whole Blade soundtrack is pretty killer. Dig in.
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