Jul 30, 2012

[Movies] Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)

Ghost Rider was never one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe, although he did have a tendency to cameo in my more favored Spider-Man comics. He just seemed a little too...simple, as a character. Or I guess too single-minded - he is the physical embodiment of the Spirit of Vengeance after all.

And maybe I just wasn't into motorcycles, flaming skulls and other items that seem to reek of the biker motif. Or something silly like that.

But even the initial Ghost Rider movie didn't do much to help me - moreover that they had cast Nicolas Cage as the protagonist. He's not exactly my favorite actor nor one that gets a lot of praises for his acting abilities among movie critics.

And that first movie was, well, pretty bad, in my opinion at the very least. And so I was pretty surprised when they announced that they had thrown more money at the franchise. I didn't expect much from the movie, but one slow afternoon we had nothing better to do than finally see what it was about.

You can't fully criticize a movie until you've actually seen it after all.

Synopsis: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is the 2012 action sequel to the 2007 comic book movie. It was directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor using a screenplay by David S. Goyer, Scott Gimple and Seth Hoffman.

The movie begins with a priest by the name of Moreau (Idris Elba) trying to warn the members of a monastery about a coming attack by forces associated with the devil. They're after a boy named Danny (Fergus Riordan), who somehow plays a larger role in things. And when Moreau tries to offer more direct protection to the boy and his mother Nadya (Violante Placido), she ends up shooting him and running off on her own.

Thus Moreau tracks down Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) in the hopes of using the Spirit of Vengeance to track down the boy and his mother. Blaze has been doing his best to keep the Ghost Rider contained given his penchant for extreme prejudice in dealing with just about any infraction. But Moreau manages to convince him to release the Rider in exchange for one thing - to finally rid him of the dark spirit. He agrees, and thus begins the quest of this particular movie.

Now it's a bit weird to me that Cage has decided that the particular aspect of his acting range that he feels best fits Ghost Rider happens to be, well, his rather outlandish Southern persona. It's sort of like how he acted as Big Daddy in Kick-Ass, especially in that one scene where he's being tortured. You know that one, right? In other words, it ends up feeling a little crazy and rather over-the-top. And it's not quite how I imagine the Spirit of Vengeance to be. Not that I ever imagined him to be Nicolas Cage either.

Now the sort of main villain, or at least the one who seems to go toe-to-toe with, turns out to be Nadya's ex-boyfriend and later fellow supernatural Ray Carrigan / Blackout (Johnny Whitworth). It's ironic that the old darkness effect when he's fighting as Blackout felt so out of place despite it being the original power of his comic book equivalent. And the ability that he uses the most - the odd touch of decay thing - well, I don't quite know where that came from. It was certainly visually appealing, but that's about it.

The story felt rather tedious as they just went back and forth running after the boy, who himself is struggling with a potentially dark heritage and related abilities. And it didn't even seem like a particularly exciting or fulfilling chase given the lackluster villains and weird moments of Blaze trying to give advice to young Danny. And really, Cage in his Blaze persona makes for a very odd father figure. And Nadya made for a very bland female character who just happens to be pretty handy with a sniper rifle. Oh well.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a bad sequel to a lousy movie to begin with. I feel bad that I watched it and even worse that it was made, but what can do you. That's Hollywood for you. Thus the movie only rates 1 cheesy Blackout fight sequence out of a possible 5.

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  1. Wawa naman si Nicholas Cage -- talagang bagsak sa taste mo ang 2 movies n'ya :(

  2. Haha, my disdain for him started back with Con-Air. =P