Long before Marvel rolled out its ambitious and entertaining Cinematic Universe of superhero films, the comic book protagonists were often out there fighting without the backing of other famed superheroes. Blade, the part-human, part-vampire protagonist played by Wesley Snipes, is a superb example of that lone-wolf mentality.
The Blade trilogy, released in 1998, 2002 and 2004, didn’t achieve the same celebrity as later Marvel series like “Iron Man” and “Avengers,” though the films did draw a dedicated cult following. They also offered us a pioneering superhero decades before the comic book film genre gave us the Afrofuturist mega-hit “Black Panther.” Snipes covered some of this with Slate in a recent Q&A.
Tonight, the Parkway Theatre will be screening the first two pieces of the trilogy back-to-back on 35mm film. The first movie introduces us to Blade, a vampire hunter endowed with his nemesis’ powers (plus some sorcery-inspired weaponry), and the secret war between his kind, the “daywalkers,” and the vampires. The second, directed by newly minted Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, follows Blade navigating that war a couple years later, trying to protect the world from a vampire-led genocide campaign.
“Blade” screens at 7 p.m., “Blade II”at 9:30 p.m., Parkway Theatre, 5 W. North Ave., (443) 438-6144, mdfilmfest.com/film/blade-blade-ii-double-feature, $16 for both ($8 for Maryland Film Festival members), or $10 per film.