Nothing But Memory

Marvel Movies Project: Blade II

The third film in the Marvel Movies Project is also the first of many Marvel sequels: Blade II (2002), in which we rejoin Blade and Whistler in a new adventure.

Blade II movie poster

Yes, Whistler, thought dead at the end of Blade, actually sort of survived his self-inflicted gunshot wound. Sort of, because Whistler is now a vampire and being held captive by some other vampires. Blade’s first order of business in Blade II is to find him and administer what I assume is the cure for vampirism developed by Karen inĀ Blade. Once Whistler is back in action, he, Blade, and their new ally Scud — who, in Whistler’s absence, has taken over as Blade’s weapons guy, but he’s younger so he knows more about technology — are approached by a group of elite vampire assassins called the Bloodpack who want to join forces with them in order to defeat a new breed of super vampire called Reapers. Why are these vampires interested in killing other vampires? Well, because the Reapers feed on regular vampires. A further twist: the Bloodpack was formed with the purpose of killing Blade himself. Awkward.

Having decided that the Reapers are a worse scourge on humanity than the regular vamps, Blade teams up with this squad of people who want him dead. One of their leaders is Nyssa (played by Leonor Varela, the original Marta from Arrested Development), a scientist vampire who is the daughter of a vampire nobleman. Nyssa, it turns out, is pretty nice for a vampire. She’s also pretty pretty, and she becomes the closest thing Blade has to a love interest this time around. Nyssa is a fairly interesting character; she’s a scientist, she’s a good soul, and she makes a daring decision to go against her father and sacrifice her own life at the end of the film. But, she’s no Karen Jenson from Blade. I don’t understand why Karen didn’t make it to the sequel. I liked her.

Anyways, Blade and the Bloodpack discover that sunlight is the only conventional vampire-killing method that works on the Reapers. With help from a sunlight bomb developed by Scud, they start taking out the super vamps. There is a very long sewer battle sequence, and then it is revealed that the Reapers are actually a creation of Nyssa’s father Damaskinos, who has been conducting genetic experiments with the goal of creating a vampire without weaknesses. (Another result of his experiments: a bunch of vampire fetuses in jars. Ewww.) Blade’s blood, naturally, would be of great use to Damaskinos in this project so, just as he did in Blade, our hero finds himself being bled. After being rescued by Whistler, Blade takes a dip in a blood pool and emerges even more awesome than before. Carnage ensues, the Reapers are defeated, and Blade goes back to killing regular vampires. Bonus: the elite squad of killer vampires specifically created to kill Blade has been completely eliminated through a combination of Reaper activity, suicide, and being killed by Blade.

Maybe it’s just the fact that I love Buffy, but I spotted some Buffy similarities in Blade II, just as I did in Blade — the main one being that the super vamps are quite similar to the uber vamps in Buffy‘s regrettable seventh season. Blade II came out in March 2002; Buffy season seven started in September of the same year. Perhaps Blade II provided some inspiration for the Buffy team. In what may be a gesture of solidarity between slayers, Blade II seems to pay tribute Blade’s little sis: I can’t help feeling Blade’s sword-grabbing power shot is a nod to the almost identical shot of Buffy from “Becoming, Part 2” (an episode which also features a character named Whistler).

Blade and Buffy take matters into their own hands.

But it could be my imagination.

The other thing with obvious ties to Blade II is Hellboy: Guillermo del Toro directed both movies; Ron Perlman, who played Hellboy, also plays Blade’s Bloodpack nemesis Reinhardt (he’s the one holding the sword) in Blade II; Hellboy creator Mike Mignola was a concept artist on Blade II; and Scud wears a B.P.R.D. t-shirt throughout the movie.

I didn’t think Blade II was quite as good as Blade, but it has its moments of greatness. The last half hour or so, after Blade regains his full strength and starts kicking ass again, is the best part. Wesley Snipes, it must be said, is a total badass, and his performance is definitely one of the highlights of the Blade films.

By contrast, there is very little badassery involved in the performance of the lead actor in our next Marvel movie, which came out less than two months after Blade II in 2002: it’s Spider-Man, the first film to feature the wall-crawling character who is probably Marvel’s most popular creation (and my personal favourite).

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