Comic book film veteran David S. Goyer took up the director’s chair for Blade’s final film after writing the first two films in the vampire slaying franchise (both reviewed as part of the Marvel Blogathon. Here and over here). Not much stayed the same over the course of three Wesley Snipes action flicks with a new director each film and a revolving door of villains and secondary characters but Goyer’s writing is one of the few steady features. Yet even with the same writer and source material, Blade: Trinity is as different from Blade II as that second film is from the first. Finally Blade lives in a world where police exist and a leather-clad, sword-wielding, machine-gun-toting, caped man can’t run around cities incinerating people. Whistler offers a cop-out to this problem reminding us that Blade’s vampiric victims crumble into ash, leaving no trace of Blade’s handiwork.
The relationship between Blade and Whistler should be far more moving but instead we settle for spoon-fed monologues by Whistler reminding us that Blade is “like a son” to him. This partly stems from the film’s place in the series. We already know Blade and Whistler, and have seen Whistler literally die and Blade scour the world for him, even going to Russia to find his mentor (yes Russia. That’s how desperate he was to find him).
One aspect of Blade: Trinity that briefly guides the story involves a psychiatrist analyzing our hero much like in “The Dark Knight Returns” graphic novel. Take Blade or Batman’s actions out of the context of their respective fictional worlds and they obviously sound like two murderous lunatics. Lunatics capable of fighting a small army with gadgets and pecs that make you wonder if Hulk Hogan even lifts.
Pecs aside, the action is hard to follow at times, either with the flashing lights of the police station where Blade is held, or an obscene amount of flash cuts. At one point Jessica Biel inexplicably shoots a powerbox shutting off all the lights in the building where the final battle takes place. I could practically hear the vampires shouting, “Oh you think darkness is your ally? The shadows betray you, because they belong to me!” Seriously, these are vampires. Darkness is their thing, like intrinsically, canonically and by definition, their thing. But most recent action movies prefer shadows and darkness to bright Mexican standoffs. At least Blade: Trinity avoids overusing CGI for the most part. Near the end of the movie it does overindulge in special effects but it benefits from technical improvements made by the industry in the two years since Blade II.
Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds join the cast giving this film more star power than the first two combined. Reynolds turns out to be a great contrast to Wesley Snipes’ stoic demeanor punctuated only by
creepy hilarious smiles. I couldn’t help but imagine Reynolds speaking as Deathpool:
Hannibal King: Welcome to the honeycomb hideout.
Blade: How do you bankroll this operation?
Hannibal King: I date a lot of older men.
Reynolds and Jessica Biel do more to carry the film’s dialogue than Snipes, who struggles to deliver even a small paragraph of lines without sounding out of his depth. Many will protest against Reynold’s juvenile quips and one-liners. Say what you will but his jokes worked for me, re-injecting humor not seen in the series since King Horik in Blade. Goyer understands what Reynolds brings to the film and uses him to an often tiring degree, not because of his delivery but because of the fast clip he is plugged into the film. Still, I laughed out loud during Blade: Trinity more than I have in several recent comedies.
Blade and Whistler’s operation expands with the addition of Biel and Reynolds but honestly Blade never feels as dangerous as the vampires in the series allege. He kills dozens of vampires at a time, slashing them with silver stakes, bullets and of course his katana. But, as Ryan Reynolds reminds us in this film, he can kill hundreds or thousands a year and not make a dent in the vampire community. There’s no way he could single-handedly take down their extensive infrastructure or do much more than trim their vast population. No matter his chances, it’s still fun to watch him try.
Bottomline: Very different from the first Blade and more like its action movie contemporaries, Blade: Trinity ends the series on a good note and gives the franchise a fitting third film, unlike X-Men and Spider-Man.
Flashback/Backslide’s Marvel Blogathon continues Thursday, February 12th with a review of Fantastic Four (2005)! Check out the most recent entry in the Blogathon; a review of Spider-Man 2 (2004).
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