5 Lessons Blade Taught Studios About Superhero Movies (They Have Clearly Forgotten)
5. The First Movie Doesn't Have To Be An Origin Story
Studios and filmmakers want audiences to empathize with their main character as much as possible, and it stands to reason - the more the audience feels for them and understands their journey the better. That's primarily why superhero franchises tend to start with how the character becomes a superhero, and why they tend to follow a strict formula. The first third of the film establishes the person as they were before receiving their "heroic calling" via a radioactive spider-bite, a mugger killing their parents, or a hologram of Marlon Brando. The second third of the movie is the character figuring out how to go about their journey as a hero and the final third is the hero doing battle with their arch nemesis. But it is this overemphasis on establishing the hero's beginnings that have led to the current crop of superhero films feeling repetitive: Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, and many more follow the exact same story beats - audiences even sat through Spider-Man's origin twice in a decade. This repetitiveness may not have taken away from their quality as movies on an individual basis but together they feel very, very similar. Blade is one of the more unique superhero films that finds a means to incorporate the origin into the story without making the movie about the origin itself. Audiences are introduced in the very first sequence to this mysterious society of the undead and the even more mysterious hunter they all fear. It is a perfect lead-in to the character and audiences are swept up in his story immediately as the pieces of who he is unfold throughout the film. It is a great way to establish the hero and give the audience a full adventure without waiting through the too-familiar beats of an origin.
Daniel is a writer/artist/filmmaker currently overseeing post-production on his film Avenging Disco Vampires. He is also the co-creator of the all-ages comic book series The Adventures of Nightclaw & Prowler published by Old World Comics.