Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

It seems that Ghost Rider is now officially part of Marvel Knights, which is the division that contains all the comics that deal with more mature themes. I get what they mean; it is about demonic possession, good and evil, and all that, but on the other hand, given the level of humor, "mature" doesn't quite seem like the right word. Most of the jokes seem to have been supplied by a 13-year-old boy. Since one of the main characters is a 13-year-old boy, though, maybe they were.

The sequel doesn't exactly pick up where the first film left off, first of all. Instead of riding off to use his powers to fight evil and annoy Mephistopheles, Johnny Blaze is now hiding out in an old warehouse in a deserted industrial complex (I think), somewhere in Romania. The caption says "Eastern Europe", but it was partly filmed in Romania and there are some signs in Romanian, so it's good to know that the language isn't entirely lost. Don't worry about keeping track of all of the inconsistencies, by the way; it will only make your head hurt.

Anyway, Johnny is fighting against the Rider every night, trying not to let him come out and play. He isn't even mad at Mephistopheles anymore, because now it's a guy named Roarke who got his soul. Roarke is played by Ciarán Hinds, who was in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2, like nearly every other actor born within 350 miles of London. Don't get me wrong, he's a good actor and this script needed all the good actors it could get, but I'm not quite sure why they retroactively threw the character in.

Roarke also made a deal with Nadya, played by Violante Placido, who was in The American with George Clooney. She just has no luck, poor girl. Here she gets to have the devil's baby and be pushed around a lot. She's a decent shot, though, and not a bad driver. Her ex-boyfriend, Carrigan, played by Johnny Whitworth of Limitless, is a gun runner, or at least used to be, since he's now busy hunting her and her son, the aforementioned 13-year-old. He's played by Fergus Riordan and is named Danny, though I'm going to call him Damian because it's more fun, and so far writing this review hasn't exactly been any fun, I'm afraid.

Rounding out the cast is Idris Elba, who was a god in Thor and is now demoted to a mere priest, though he still has slightly odd-looking eyes here and I'm not sure why. He's Moreau, and he's something of a drunk, apparently. There's this 2,000 year old bottle of wine he has his eye on for a special occasion. In fact, the oldest known bottle of wine is a mere 1,650 years old, and I'm pretty sure that isn't what you'd call wine anymore, but he seems to think it's wonderful.

There's some ritual that needs doing -- two, actually, one to get rid of the Ghost Rider and one to bring the Devil to Earth. I know it sounds like I'm giving away a lot but it really doesn't matter. The entire plot is obvious after the first fifteen minutes. Nicolas Cage chews the scenery like you wouldn't believe. Seriously. You may have thought you'd seen him acting way, way over the top, but you haven't until you've seen this. People laughed several times at his overacting, and while it's possible it was meant to be funny, I'm not quite sure on that point, which is a bad sign. We shouldn't be left wondering about something like that.

So while the first movie was basically for comic fans only, this one isn't even for comic fans anymore. I'm not sure who it was aimed at, but it was not a demographic that I fit into, at least. Two and a quarter out of five, and the quarter is for the nifty, demonic ability that one of the characters gets to use later in the movie. It was a very simple effect, but very well-done and nicely creepy. On the other hand, giving points for special effects is a lot like giving points for the soundtrack. If you're noticing things like that, something's gone terribly wrong somewhere.

Ghost Rider demonstrating tactics for his defensive driving course.


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I've seen worse films. If

I've seen worse films. If you stop thinking about the finer details watching this film is escapism at its most adequate. Can I give it a B+? Not quite a B movie.


The low score surprises me

The low score surprises me since one of my girlfriends that I work with at DISH watched Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance last night and enjoyed it. Since I like Neveldine and Taylor’s other movies, Crank and Gamer, I thought I might like this even though I didn’t see the first Ghost Rider and I’ve never read a comic book in my life. I did, however, watch an interview with Nicolas Cage and “Superhero Origins: Ghost Rider” on so I’m still curious to see if I’ll like the new Ghost Rider. Thanks for your honest opinion though, who knows I might share it too after I watch this movie.

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