This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.
You wouldn’t have thought it if you’d only followed superhero movies for the last decade or so, but there was a time when Marvel were DC Comics’ poor cousins when it came to cinematic adaptations of their material. Whilst both of DC’s headline characters, Superman and Batman, had yielded more than adequate big screen adaptations, pretty much all of Marvel’s cinematic experiments – from 1977’s The Amazing Spider-Man to the unreleased low-budget 1994 version of The Fantastic Four (by way of Red Sonja, Howard the Duck and Dolph Lundgren’s version of The Punisher) were complete turkeys.
Of course, that’s all changed – between the Spiderman series (if you discount the third one), the X-Men series (if you discount the third one), the Iron Man series and others, Marvel have more than made up for the fumbled decades. And it all began with the Blade series, and the success of 1998’s first installment. Wesley Snipes as a martial arts half-vampire was a formula for box office success which made Marvel realise that, despite their poor track record, it was possible to produce decent films from the pages from their comics.
It also established the tradition that the third film in any Marvel-inspired series would be dreadful.