I think you know by now whether or not you’ll enjoy this movie, even if you haven’t seen it. If you like black clothes, long coats and corsets, ornate goblets full of the red stuff, giant goth-y mansions, and rooms lit with improbable amounts of candles, you will love Underworld: Blood Wars. If what I just described sounds so cheesy you can’t even stand it, avoid this movie at all costs.
That being said, Hot Topic cliché that I am, I adored this movie. The latest installment of the Underworld series highlights all the best parts these vampire action flicks have to offer, while shoving aside some of the weaker parts. For example, the whole humans hunting immortals? Not even mentioned. In fact, with the exception of a rather Hunger Games-y looking training sequences, I kind of forgot this movie technically takes place in the future. This is still the world of dark cars with tinted windows, black clothes, and permanent night (until the plot needs it not to be) that vampire fans know and love.
There’s also (thankfully) no Michael to be found. This character long ago serves his purpose as a newbie to the vampire vs. Lycan war, and now that the audience is familiar with the plot—hopefully no one is using film #5 as a jumping on point—having someone to ask “what the hell is going on??” every five seconds would just be annoying. Selene’s daughter is talked about quite a bit, and factors into the plot, but is not actually in the movie herself. I don’t hate the idea of Eve, but I’m glad we got a break…there’s some potential for the character, but we need to wash the taste of the 4th film out of our mouths before encountering this superpowered child again.
Weirdly enough though, this film has a strong motherhood and parental abandonment theme running throughout. Selene questions her motherhood abilities and constantly beats herself up for abandoning her child, even if this is the thing that saves her. David, who I actually like this time around, doesn’t remember his mother, and feels betrayed when he finds out who she really was. His father Thomas also gets a reprieve of sorts—however terrible this character may have been in the last movie, and however prickly his exterior may be, he does his best to protect his son and his people.
There’s also some curious mirroring between Lucian (who I miss terriblly) and the new Lycan leader, Marius, and I don’t really know what to make of it. Marius berated his men for infighting and behaving like animals, same as Lucian did in the first movie. Marius has a human lover. The whole damn war was kicked off because Lucian had a vampire lover. Yet while Lucian was a role with heart—he was a clever, feeling character—Marius is just…there. He’s a brute. He’s ruthless, but not in the way Lucian was. Lucian wanted to mix the bloodlines to end the war. Marius just wants power. I thought they were going to do something with the ways they mirror each other, but the comparison was sort of left hanging. I was really hoping more would be done with that.
Also, there’s a lady werewolf now! Exactly one lady werewolf! And she doesn’t transform, presumably because that would make her unattractively hairy? If there’s one thing I’d like to see more of from this series, it’s female Lycans. Come on, Underworld, I believe in you. You’ve got a bad ass heroine, why not give us some kick ass werewolf women as well.
We get our first female villain in the form of Semira, and she’s just as conniving and wicked as you’d want a vampire baddy to be. Was she cliché in her hunger for power? Oh yeah, but remember, Underworld is basically a soap opera of gothic tropes and clichés, so she fits in nicely and makes for a fun adversary.
Blood Wars is a return to everything that made the Underworld series fun in the first place. If you never left your vampire phase and love all the trappings that come with monster action movies, give this one a try. You will not be disappointed.