Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance easily surpasses it’s predecessor, but not by much. They definitely ignored events of the first one and started from scratch, getting straight to the point with the opening sequence. Given that, it still seemed like the filmmakers were sort of relying on you having seen the first movie so you had a better understanding of what the Rider is even though they explained everything in five minutes. Nicolas Cage is at his quirky best in the film, acting half crazed in several scenes as he struggles to keep Ghost Rider within himself.
The plot of the movie reminded me a lot of the plot from Drive Angry, another Cage starring flick involving a satanic cult attempting to take a child that will be used to bring the devil to our world and create hell on Earth. The premise was the same in Spirit of Vengeance, but the execution was less ridiculous than it was in Drive Angry. The devil himself walks the Earth in Spirit of Vengeance, played by Ciarán Hinds. Hinds, who has most recently appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy seems to be wasted in the role of the devil. (Or Roarke as he is known in the movie) I remember back to when Rome was still on HBO and he played the role of Caesar and just can’t pinpoint why he would accept this role except for the cash. The same could be said for actor Idris Elba, but he seems right at home in the role of Moreau, the French, wine drinking holy man who assists Johnny Blaze in trying to regain his humanity in this installment of Ghost Rider.
Nicolas Cage used to be a great actor, but now he has become a sort of caricature of himself in many ways. It’s known that he had financial troubles in recent years and it’s now common knowledge as to why he releases nearly six movies every other year. I’m not saying I won’t go see any Nicolas Cage movies anymore, I’m just saying he’s no longer the actor he once was, we just can’t expect anything spectacular out of him anymore performance wise.
Even though the movie’s plot was dog crap and typical of many supernatural movies in recent years, the special effects in regard to Ghost Rider himself were excellent. The first time you experience him in the movie he is definitely a creepy sight to behold as his movements as he walks toward a victim are choppy and erratic. His head tilting and screaming were also a bit disconcerting. This wears off later in the movie, but I thought they couldn’t have done a better job with the character who is pretty one dimensional in the comics anyhow. The action sequences weren’t all that bad either and was one of the main things that even kept me awake during the movie. I loved the concept of the Rider being able to change any vehicle he rides into a flame spewing death machine.
I never looked much into the origin of Ghost Rider aside from his human host making a deal or being cursed, but in the movie we are treated to one. It turns out the Rider was formerly an Angel called Zarathos, the Spirit of Justice, who was sent to Earth to help mankind. Unfortunately he was driven mad after being captured by the forces of hell and now in his form as Ghost Rider he punishes everyone no matter the severity of their crime. I thought that was an interesting take on the character.
Overall I give Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 2 out of 5 grizzlies.
It wasn’t as good as I expected, but it was definitely better than the first Ghost Rider movie. I honestly hope at this point that they might be done with trying to make Ghost Rider something more than he is. I wouldn’t think they would make yet another movie to attempt correcting the things wrong with this movie, but it is Hollywood so you never know. I think Ghost Rider is in the same boat as Punisher, he has a faithful following but not enough to elevate him into the box office smash hit like Spiderman or Iron Man. It was a nice try for the studio to make up for the first Ghost Rider though.