Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 2012
So once again, I’m watching a movie late into the night just before my own personal deadline of midnight Eastern time. Hopefully it’s the last time for a while since I’ll be getting back to two movies a week instead of three. Anyway, I spent this evening watching the new Ghost Rider movie and let me tell you, I’m not even sure where to begin. It was something else that’s for sure.
So anyway, this movie takes place what seems like a few years after the first movie, and it has a little animated recap of what the Ghost Rider is and how Johnny Blaze came to gain the rider’s curse. They have a brief mention about how he thought he could control the curse which was how the first movie ended. He had the chance to close the deal and become a normal human again, but instead he chose to keep his curse and try to use it to do good. Apparently that didn’t work and now he wants to get rid of it again. And don’t you know, there’s a black French guy that tells him he knows some religious guys that can get rid of it for him. Of course, that’s not the whole story, apparently there’s also a half devil kid that’s set to bring on the apocalypse or something along those lines. But it’s all good.
I wanted to like this movie, I had hopes for it even if they were growing smaller and smaller every time I checked out someone else’s review of it. The biggest thing that Ghost Rider has going for him is that he’s a frikkin biker with a flaming skull for a head. The look of the skull definitely takes a step up from the last movie. The pyromaniac in me really enjoyed this movie. There is lots and lots of fire and it looks hella cool. The rest of it leaves much to be desired. One of the complaints I had for the last movie was that the villains were pretty uninteresting. Unfortunately that carries over into this movie as well. There’s a group of thugs, and one of them gains the power of decay. Kind of like the Midas touch only everything decays instead of turning to gold. It’s hard to tell for sure if he has control over the power or not, sometimes it seems like things decay against his will, and yet other times things don’t decay because he doesn’t want them to. And he’s got white hair and kind of veiny skin. Whatever. And the devil is an old guy with a half-scarred face. At least the first movie tried a little harder with its villains.
One of the other complaints I had was all the voice altering effects they used, it is still used in this movie, though it’s used a lot less and it does generally sound a lot better. I was a little disappointed in the penance stare. In the first movie it showed flashes of what the person had done wrong and they were left with hollow husks for eyes. In this movie, Ghost Rider screams and they catch on fire. He’s also a little crazier in this movie, but instead of feeling like he was crazy, Nic Cage just seemed like he was having a spaz attack. On top of that, there were so many jokes thrown into the movie that it felt like a comedy. Unfortunately most of the jokes felt like they were ripped off a Laffy Taffy wrapper.
Even the action scenes were hit and miss. Most of the time, Ghost Rider was going up against regular people and while the fire effects were great, there wasn’t much of a threat coming from anyone. And when he was fighting the one guy with special powers, they kept using a weird visual technique where everything was stylized and on a black background. It didn’t look cool, it didn’t make sense, it just looked like crap. It felt like it was just unfinished, but instead of finishing it, they just stylized it a little bit and ran with it. And from what I understand about the budget cuts that hit this movie that’s an entirely possible explanation of what happened. But regardless of the reason why, it still looked awful and threw off the pacing of the entire action scenes.
Now one of the things that generally happens in movies like this is that they throw in a love interest, thankfully that didn’t happen, but what happened instead is that Nic Cage was thrown into being a father figure to the kid who would become Satan. The whole relationship felt really forced and rushed. It’s like the kid sees the skull once and immediately latches onto him and trusts him completely. All he really did for the kid was buy him lunch and take him on a completely irresponsible joy ride on a motorcycle without any helmets and the kid suddenly loves him unconditionally.
I still just don’t really know what else to say about this movie. The fire looked cool, it had some good ideas in it when it got deeper into the story behind the Rider, but the story felt more skeletal than the Rider himself. I really wish it would have been a greater part of the story, but instead every time the Rider came out, pretty much all he did was jerk his head around like he had a nervous tick and scream a lot. Time will tell if they come back to the Ghost Rider franchise, but if they do I think I’d be happier with a new version rather than another sequel. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.