This is the second in my series, examing 50 comic book movies from the year 2000 on. Check out the first in the series X-Men. There were no major comic book films in 2001 (unless you count Josie and the Pussycats), so we'll move straight on to 2002.
The Film: Blade II (2002)
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Producers: Peter Frankfurt, Wesley Snipes, Patrick Palmer, Ari Arad
Production/Distribution: New Line Cinema
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Pearlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus, Thomas Kretschmann, Danny John-Jules
Plot: Blade teams up with Vampires to stop new mutation of vampirism. Damiskinos revealed to have created the mutation. Blade defeats the mutants.
The film is, obviously, the second in the blade franchise which began with Blade in 1998. That film was one of the darkest and grittiest superhero films that had ever been seen at that time, and Blade II continued this. Blade II's R rating meant that it was seen by a more adult audience, and it benefited from this as it was allowed to stay closer to the comic book source material in tone. This was also Guillermo del Toro's first mainstream english-language release. Introducing audiences to his trademark style. In many ways, the first two installments of the Blae franchise have become cult films for their tone and intense action.
Blade II received mixed reviews from critics at the time of its release. The action was praised whilst the story and dialogue was criticized. As mentioned earlier, it has become a cult film, with fans attracted to the well choreographed fight scenes in particular. Its critical reaction has also improved over time. Blade II is a better film than its critical reaction suggests, but the complaints are valid. The films violence makes it an acquired taste.
Rotten Tomatoes: 59% rotten (56% from Top Critics, 68% Audience)
Budget: $50 million
Box Office: $155 million
Blade II is violent, bloody, action packed and quite good. Whilst the story and dialogue leave a fair bit to be desired, but it is good for what it is. The movie benefits from its R rating, which allows the film to do whatever it wants. This film is an interesting precedent for how future R rated comic book films (Deadpool) will travel. Blade was really the start of the modern superhero genre, and whilst this sequel is mostly better, it is not without faults. A real film for the fans.
3 Lessons from Blade II
1: R rated comic book films can still make a profit.
2: If the source material is violent, keep the film that way.
3: People can sometimes forgive a poor plot if the action is good.