Though it’s confirmed that the new Blade starring Mahershala Ali Blade will get a PG-13 rating, one can dream otherwise. MCU mastermind Kevin Feige declared that the upcoming R-rated Deadpool film is the only R-rated movie that Marvel plans to make soon. Thus, it guarantees that the new Blade movie will be rated PG-13. It shouldn’t be a huge surprise since the rest of the MCU falls under that PG-13 umbrella. However, as a fan of the Blade comics and Wesley Snipes Blade franchise (at least the first two), one can dream of a modern bloody R-rated Blade film again.
The appeal of an R-rated modern Blade film comes down to the nostalgic appeal of the Wesley Snipes films. The films were perpetual fun, particularly in the direction of Guillermo del Toro, who made Blade II’s action a blood-doused fun-time. Will we get the same level of brutality and genius one-liners from Blade? I suppose we’ll see.
Furthering my cry for an R-rated Blade comes down to the nature of vampire films needing an R-rating. Obviously, not every vampire film needs an R-rating, but it is ideal. Yes, blood can be overdone (look at any lousy Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot). Though I argue it’s difficult to make a film about the bloodsucking undead without a reasonable plan of on-screen blood.
Why Does Marvel Want it PG-13?
Marvel wants the film to be PG-13 because the MCU has a well-established tone that keeps its fan base deeply entwined throughout. Though some will argue against this, the MCU would argue that an R-rated vampire film could throw some fans off from what they’d expect. Not to mention how much the target audience would shrink.
Similarly, it goes back to the idea of the Marvel universe and how the new Blade film will enter a larger franchise. Previously, Blade could exist independently without having to connect or set up the future as any MCU film has to do today. Even if Blade is better suited for an R-rating, the franchise is set up for PG-13 general audience films. My perspective is that as a character, Blade requires the R-rating solely so he can act on the suitable action scenes we expect without them feeling sanitized. That doesn’t mean an excellent PG-13 film isn’t possible. All it means is that the MCU could take the film to a higher level with that R-rating.
The argument against it is that kids should have the right to experience Blade, hence why a PG-13 rating is more marketable. However, I’d argue parents could either take their kids to an R-rated Blade, or they can wait until they’re an appropriate age. If 2019’s Joker taught us anything, R-rated films can still be immensely successful.
Is Blade Horror?
The last point to make with Blade and its need for an R-rating comes down to being a horror story. Basically, with swarms of vampires, Blade stories are horror tales. The MCU is moving into the horror classification with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, so there is a point of reference for the Blade reboot to be a blood and gore film.
From a studio’s point of view, the disadvantage of an R-rated film is that it doesn’t get in that frame of mind as a PG-13 film. Thus, it doesn’t have as much possibility of film industry achievement. However, like Deadpool, a Blade film doesn’t have to cost over $200 million. A film about a day-walking vampire tracker could be created for $50 million, which brings down the gamble of an R-rating.