Review: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
This marks the first time I’ve ever watched a sequel without seeing the original first. Still have no interest in seeing the first entry. A part of me feels tricked into thinking this entry was theatre worthy either.
A mad genius exists out there cutting exceptional movie trailers turning garbage films into inspirational gold. He must be stopped! Otherwise, we will continue to waste $13 a pop for 3D tickets to crap like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
Wait, it wasn’t all that bad.
In fact, parts of it were downright good and even a bit unsettling. So here’s a quick, down and dirty review of the film…because how much time do we really want to waste on a Ghost Rider sequel review? Not much time.
Idris Elba. This man is a god (literally, in Thor) and he is guaranteed to save your crappy movie, or at least be the best part of it. He even steals his smallish scenes in Thor (muh favorite). Not quite sure why he was boasting colored contacts. It looked cool when he was playing Heimdahl, but went with his outfit and godly persona in that flick. Here it was obvious some studio exec was like “Idris Elba in contacts makes this movie THAT MUCH COOLER. Do it.” Elba was sporting an off-putting and unnecessary French accent, but aside from that – he was the best actor and second most fun to watch on the screen.
The special effects were the most fun thing to watch on-screen. The Ghost Rider himself is a special effect and a gorgeous one at that, with flames curling around his skull head and any vehicle he chooses to mount bursting into hellish fire. His antics are creepy, twitchy and a bit scary. The vibe for The Rider was PERFECT and clearly a lot of time and energy went into making him look cool. The action sequence were entertaining, especially the mid-point of the movie, in the rock quarry.
The audience was treated to tasty and attractive animated sequences as a narrative device. I’m always up for animated sequences in otherwise live action films. Especially comic book adaptations. Thanks production teams!
Nicholas Cage and his bizarre acting abilities. Loved him in Kick Ass and think he has a dry, oddball sense of humor but it was the wrong tone for this type of movie. What he emoted and what the director envisioned did not mesh well together on-screen and the effect was a mushy pile of loosely connected action sequence, while any attempt at plot was jarring on the audience. Not that anyone expected this to be Oscar worthy material, but it was a discordant mess not even on par with most Hollywood messes. An enjoyable mess, mind you. Entertaining.
Along the same vein, most of the other actors were equally awful in their own respects. Child actor couldn’t really act. Weird gypsy mother was weird. Lecherous stooge bad guy was lecherous. A true disappoint was witnessing the lovable actor, Ciaran Hinds, who played Caesar and Aberforth Dumbledore fall from grace here with his huffing and puffing (but never really doing much) Roarke character. He was the devil trapped in human form and sort of sucked at his job. Not the actor. The character.
Oh, and then the Highlander showed up in some weird Turkish monk village.
The entire plot was nonsensical. In exchange for her life, this chick sells the soul of her unborn baby to the devil, who waits until the kid is 13 years old and then seeks to inhabit his body. The kid has the same powers as the devil, but is easily kidnapped. His mother has been on the run for years, but makes amateur mistakes. Johnny Blaze wants to rid himself of his powers and then immediately regains them.
Oh, and instead of riding his motorcycle, Cage spends a large part of this movie riding around with his motorcycle strapped to the bed of a truck. Lolwut? This device is employed so he can engage in corny dialogue and character building with the weird gypsy mom and antichrist. You know, it’s fine. It would make more sense of the Ghost Rider rode his motorcycle instead.
A mess if you were trying to make sense of anything and produce a coherent narrative thread. If you want to watch an extended music video and watch some cool explosions and CGI fire…turn off your mind, relax and float downstream. Especially in 3D and XD.
Bechdel Test: “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” does not feature more than two female characters with names who converse about something other than men and therefore DOES NOT PASS the women test, DOES PASS the men test and does not feature more than two minority characters who have names, and speak to one another about something other than white people so it DOES NOT PASS the race test.
– Idris Elba on Thor, Ghost Rider and Prometheus (*squee for Prometheus!)
– Nicholas Cage on peeing fire (this series of interviews on YouTube is awkward and hilarious. Nic Cage, I see what you did there)