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A lot of people would argue that Spider-Man 2, starring Tobey Maguire, is the best of the Marvel movies outside of the MCU. And I’m not going to argue with those people. Spider-Man 2 is probably the most enjoyable and groundbreaking Marvel film that wasn’t made under the Marvel/Disney banner. But if you ask me, Blade 2 will always be the best Marvel movie outside of the MCU, and it’s not even a contest.

Last week, I spoke about how the first Blade movie still holds up today. And now, I want to gush over the second movie (and if I get the okay from my editor, then I’ll talk about how Blade: Trinity is the Godfather Part III of superhero films next week). And while yes, I’m well aware that the discussion of which is the best Blade movie will be a moot point once the MCU reboot with Mahershala Ali arrives, let’s just bask in the glory of the current best Blade movie for a while, okay? Because here are 5 reasons why Blade 2 is one of—if not the—best Marvel movies outside of the MCU.

Blade and the crew

Blade 2 Is Even Better Than The Original

It might not seem possible, given how much fun and enjoyable the first movie is, but Blade 2 is even better than the original. I think it’s the story, which finds Blade leading a team of vampires to stop an even deadlier group of vampires called the Reapers. What made the first Blade so good was not only its awesome action and surprising humor, but also its relationships. Kris Kristofferson returns as Blade’s guide and weaponsmith, Whistler, but this time, he’s joined by even more unique personalities, such as a pre-The Walking Dead Norman Reedus as another weaponsmith. Donnie Yen and Ron Perlman also make appearances in a vampire group called The Blood Pack, which was actually a group trained to kill Blade, but is now going to be working for him.

Of course, tension rises between the Blood Pack and Blade, which is why the movie is so thrilling—you never know when Blade is just going to decide to dispose of his new teammates. The action is also even better than in the first movie’s, and the music is just as pulse-pounding and hard-hitting as the original’s, if not even better. Really, Blade 2’s biggest strengths is that it’s just the first movie, times 2. Who could ask for anything more?

A creepy vampire

It's Still The Closest To A Horror Movie That We've Ever Gotten From Marvel

Even though the upcoming Morbius will likely be billed as a horror movie, it definitely wasn’t the first Marvel property to go the horror route, since Blade 2 certainly fits into the action/horror genre. And it’s all because of the aforementioned Reapers, which are freaking scary as hell.

You see, the Reapers are like these super vampires, and they have this feature where their mouths stretch all the way open in the most horrific fashion possible. It’s like the Predator, but ten times worse. Plus, the Reapers never let up, attacking in packs like really fast zombies. They also have this weird walk where they can climb up walls backward like that scene in The Exorcist when Reagan spider walks down the stairs. It’s just nightmare fuel. And in a Marvel movie no less. Amazing!

Wesley Snipes on the left

The Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher In Blade 2

The first Blade was a very small and even personal film. Deacon Frost was a mega-bad vampire, and he bit Blade’s mom, so he had to pay. Cool. But Blade 2 is all about the fate of the world. Because the Reapers are hungry. Super hungry. And they have an insatiable appetite for lesser vampires. Normally, Blade would be all like, well, that’s your problem, or, good, they’re making my job all the easier. But the issue is, what’s going to happen once all the vampires in the world are eaten up? Then, the Reapers are going to go after humans, and that’s where Blade comes in.

Which is why Blade 2 is so awesome. It takes the small-scale conflict of the original and multiplies it by about a million. Blade is still the baddest character in the movie, but this time around, we get a sense that maybe he really can’t do it all by himself. Maybe, just maybe, he will have a serious challenge that even he alone can’t conquer. He does, of course, and with the greatest roundhouse kicks in the business (and Donnie Yen’s, as Snowman, didn’t hurt either). But this seemed like a genuine challenge for Blade, making the story super engaging. And it still holds up today.

Wesley Snipes

Blade 2 Definitely Earns Its Hard-R Rating

It always amuses me that people often mentally skip over the Blade series and jump right to Deadpool and Logan when it comes to Rated-R superhero movies. But Blade got there first, and Blade 2 especially made sure to get a lot of mileage out of that hard R-rating.

Characters say the F-word. A lot (apparently over 30 times, but who’s counting?). Vampires get blown to bits, and people do drugs. There are also prostitutes and naked women on posters. I mean, Blade might be a character from a comic book, but this does not feel like a comic book movie in any way, shape, or form. And that’s why it rules.

Blade doing target practice

Guillermo Del Toro's Stamp On Blade 2 Is Undeniable

Last but not least, and correct me if I’m wrong, but Blade 2 is the only “comic book movie” that was made by a director who actually won an Academy Award for his directing. Granted, Guillermo Del Toro won the Academy Award after he made Blade 2 for his artsy movie, The Shape of Water, but all the hallmarks of Guillermo Del Toro can still be found in Blade 2. Because the man just loves his monsters.

Take for example the Reapers. The first Blade movie was content with vampires with pointy fangs and that was about it. But not Guillermo Del Toro. The monsters take center stage in the sequel, and they’re just as hideous and interesting as anything in Hellboy or Pan’s Labyrinth

Or take the dark, but comical tone. It’s the same as the original’s, but there’s an added sardonic element to it that makes it feel somewhat different and even a little acerbic. But at the heart of it, it’s still incredibly geeky, and it’s definitely made by a man who loves this sort of stuff. In other words, Blade 2 was definitely in Guillermo Del Toro’s wheelhouse, and we’re all the better for it.

Blade 2 is still badass even after all these years. As I said up top, people often like to point to the first two Spider-Man movies as the high watermark in Marvel comic book movies predating the MCU, but for me, I’ll take the first two Blade movies any day of the week. But what do you think? Is Blade 2 better than Spider-Man 2, or am I just crazy? Sound off in the comments section below.

What do you think is the best Marvel franchise outside of the MCU?
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