Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Movie Review

Back in 2007 Marvel Studios released a movie called Ghost Rider. It was pretty dumb, but didn’t take itself so seriously that it couldn’t be enjoyed. It was corny with a silly setting, but Nicolas Cage helped make it kind of fun. I even bought a super cheap used copy because it was just a silly and fun superhero romp that no one in their right mind could take seriously. Nicolas Cage must have been put on a contract for a sequel or something. I can’t imagine why anyone, let alone a big Hollywood name, would want to be associated with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012).
Years ago stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) sold his soul to the devil to save his dying father’s life. In exchange he became a hell blazing vigilante to help fight the devil’s battles. Having finished the errand given him by the devil, who goes by Roarke (Ciarán Hinds) when in human form, Johnny is on the run to make sure no one is harmed by his alter ego, The Ghost Rider. He is approached by a monk named Moreau (Idris Elba) who tells Johnny that he can help free him from The Rider. But first he needs Johnny’s help to protect a boy named Danny (Fergus Riordan) whom Roarke plans to use to give himself a more powerful body.
If you saw and remember anything about the first Ghost Rider movie, you’ll probably see some discrepancies between it and this plot summary. The back story was different from what we saw in Ghost Rider. Johnny Blaze wasn’t trying to rid himself of The Ghost Rider, he was going to keep it and use it against the devil. The devil doesn’t have a weak body that becomes weaker when he uses his powers. The Ghost Rider doesn’t feed on the evil of his victims no matter how small the infraction, from genocide to a white lie. This movie took place in Eastern Europe. Ghost Rider’s thing was to be a supernatural western of sorts, set in the US Midwest. Why set it in Europe?
The screenplay was written by David S. Goyer, Scott Gimple and Seth Hoffman, who are all probably 10 years old and have never seen the first Ghost Rider movie. I could just see them saying to each other “Dude, wouldn’t it be cool if we got Ghost Rider to ride a big wrecking machine? We should write a movie about that!” The dialogue was just terrible, the characters were stupid, and it follows none of the previously established rules and setting. Much like the demonic characters in this movie, I’m pretty sure this script came from hell.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the movie was directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who I assume are film school drop outs. The editing was ridiculously dreadful. It made Ghost Rider seem to be spastically teleporting all over the set, and twitching constantly when he wasn’t teleporting. This makes Ghost Rider seem a lot more like a crazy convulsing skeleton man rather than a dark, powerful being from hell. Even his costume was remarkably bland and ordinary.
To make things worse, they did cut-away gags, like you would see on Family Guy. For example, Moreau solemnly tells Johnny that his brothers are all dead, and that would be too if not for the grace of God. Then it cuts away to a green, leafy tree in broad daylight with Moreau sticking his head out of the leaves and giggling to himself. Then it cuts back again to Johnny and Moreau. There are several gags like this and it contrasts with the tone of the movie so much that I rolled my eyes every time it happened. If I wanted Seth MacFarlane style humor, I would have gone to Hulu.com.
Nicolas Cage is reprising a previous role, but he still acts very differently than he did in the previous movie. In the first movie he was calm, collected, sarcastic, and arrogant. In this one he seemed to be combating schizophrenia and nervous tics. I blame the writers for screwing up the character; I hope Nicolas Cage was simply doing what the directors were instructing him to do. And what they were telling him to do was terrible! I suppose he did a good job of acting insane, he just had horrible material to work with.
One of the thing that ruffled my feathers was when they were attempting to remove The Ghost Rider from Johnny. I appreciate the fictional angels and demons sort of mythology, but there’s only so far you can go with it before it begins to becomes religiously offensive. To initiate removing The Rider from Johnny, Moreau prepares a sacrament for Johnny. This is taken so lightly and even comically that I began feeling slighted by it. Viewers who take religion even more seriously than I do would probably get very bent out of shape by it.
With a horrendous script, sloppy directing, disregard of movie it claims to be a sequel of, uneven CGI work, and Nicolas Cage acting insane, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was total crap. I’ve seen B-horror flicks that were better than this! I think it was trying to be trashy fun, but ended up just being trash. I would call this the worst movie of the year if I didn’t know there was another Twilight movie coming out. DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE! It’s a waste of time, and insulting to watch. Even if you’re a fan of Marvel Comics and their movies, you will be sorely disappointed by this one. Even though I’ve never read a Ghost Rider comic, I’m pretty sure this movie violates cannon in almost every regard. If you’re not a Marvel comics fan, I doubt you’ll even make it half way through the movie before shutting it off and using the disc as a $20 cup coaster.

Sequels are rarely as good as their predecessors. What’s the worst movie sequel you’ve ever seen? Comment below and tell me why!

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