Blade: Why It Needs To Be An R-Rated Film

Spoilers for Marvel content, in general.

Blade MCU
Proposed title card for the MCU’s upcoming Blade film

There has only ever been a handful of superheroes in Marvel comics that incorporate brutally violent measures to vanquish their foes, such as the likes of Deadpool and The Punisher. While a character like Deadpool may still retain much of his appeal if his violent actions were to be significantly toned down, the same cannot be said for an anti-hero like The Punisher, whose most recent incarnation on the short-lived Netflix show felt like just another run-of-the-mill action series without the teeth required to showcase the unique quality it often displayed in the comics: the character’s unapologetically violent nature.

Speaking of teeth, you can imagine our surprise when Kevin Feige dramatically announced at Comic Con 2019 that Blade would be joining the MCU at some point in the future. As much as we are eager to see Mahershala Ali’s portrayal of the half-vampire character on screen, there is also a lingering fear that the Daywalker might end up being entirely unrecognizable for most fans of the comics and earlier Wesley Snipes films. This is due to the fact that it was later confirmed that the MCU’s Blade would be a PG-13 film. Of course, it needs to be said that we have no qualms about movies of that rating, as it has been proven that the MCU has excelled in providing such content with said rating to viewers over the last decade or so.

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That being said, the issue with Blade being produced as a PG-13 film harkens back to our earlier point about The Punisher: the character requires teeth. To state the obvious, we do not mean literal teeth, but the creative freedom to express the character’s more sadistic side. Despite the late 90s and early 2000s Wesley Snipes films being generally panned by critics, audiences, on the other hand, were quite receptive towards the film, praising its dark tone and use of violence, much like the comic that came before it. While there is definitely a clear argument to be made about why films should be less violent in recent times given the magnitude of barbarity we see on the news every day, it does not take away from the fact that making Blade a less brutal, less vulgar reboot of the vigilante hero is a mistake. Much like Frank Castle, Blade is a dark and violent character, and it is these factors that make him unique to audiences.

Therefore, in order for the MCU to most effectively do the character justice, the studio should accept the character’s legacy as a violent anti-hero figure and produce a film that respects the way the character has been personified in the past. In the same way that it has been confirmed that Deadpool 3 is to be Marvel’s first R-Rated movie, there should not be any hesitancy on the studio’s part to do the same for the leather-clad, sunglasses-wearing half-vampire. This is not to say that the film will not perform well without the character’s violent nature, but it certainly would make Blade a less unique film in the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Blade Fan Art
Fan art depicting Mahershala Ali as Blade

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