Earlier today, Movie Creed Live reported that Marvel Entertainment is considering three new TV shows: Moon Knight, Ghost Rider and Blade. Now, before we get too excited, we've got to remember that this is still only at rumor stage; it's yet to be officially confirmed. But if the rumor's true, we're in for an exciting time.
Perhaps the most interesting side of it all is that — much like Daredevil — two of these characters have had films before. How will Marvel handle this?
Back in the 1990s, things looked grim for the future of superhero movies. DC's hugely successful Batman franchise, launched so effectively with the 1989 Batman film, fell to the cheese and slapstick of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. DC's Superman franchise, too, seemed dead in the water. Meanwhile, Marvel had been selling film rights to anyone who'd be willing to front the cash — the company was struggling to stay solvent. Unfortunately, the reality was that nobody was remotely interested in these films; the studios who bought the rights kept toying with ideas, but nothing ever came to fruition.
New Line Cinema purchased the rights to Blade and began to germinate the idea. "Blade was the least likely to succeed," Avi Arad, a key figure of Marvel Studios at that time, recalled in 2006. "That was the first time it seemed clear to Hollywood that the Marvel franchise was something special." But in spite of Arad's comments, the first Blade film began to come together.
New Line played fast and loose with the character, choosing a dark and dangerous tone for the film. The company ultimately produced a superhero movie with so few comic book trappings and so much violence that it was R-rated (no, Deadpool wasn't the first R-rated superhero film). That first Blade was an absolute hit, and suddenly the world sat up and took notice. When Bryan Singer chose the style of the X-Men franchise, he based it on Blade; that's why his superheroes didn't wear spandex. Ultimately, the truth is that without Blade we probably wouldn't have gotten the X-Men films, or Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, or even the MCU.
My hope is that Netflix will choose to honor the history of this franchise. Instead of rebooting, take Wesley Snipes up as Blade once again — he's said that he's willing. Choose a plot that continues his story (retrospectively meaning the MCU began in 1998!), and give us a plot that we can revel in. You can even go with Marvel Comics' plans for Blade the Hunter.
Unlike Daredevil, the Blade trilogy gave us a series we loved. Honor it, and continue it.
In contrast, Ghost Rider has a bit more of a checkered past. Nicolas Cage was cast in the starring role in 2007's Ghost Rider (he was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actor). The film was heavy on CGI and low on characterization, and IGN viewed it as the worst comic book movie of the decade. For all its criticism though, I find the spectacle and concept of the film very much enjoyable. I don't think it's a good film by any stretch, but it has enough good elements in it to merit an occasional rewatch.
Ghost Rider performed well enough at the box office to merit a sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. The sequel performed even better, but received even worse reviews. Rotten Tomatoes' critics consensus pretty much says it all:
With a weak script, uneven CG work, and a Nic Cage performance so predictably loony it's no longer amusing, 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance' aims to be trashy fun but ends up as plain trash.
The fans have little love for the two Ghost Rider movies, so I see little value in revisiting them. In this case, I think Netflix would be wise to reboot — start the story afresh, unveiling a new iteration of the Spirit of Vengeance.
So there you have it — two more cinematic characters who could well be entering the Netflix arena! But there are dramatic differences between Blade and Ghost Rider, differences that mean I rather hope Netflix will handle them very, very differently.
What do you think? Would you like to see Blade begin again, or Cage return as Ghost Rider? Let me know in the comments.
[Source: Movie Creed Live]