The first Ghost Rider movie may have sucked, but the character made it worth watching. Ghost Rider is just the definition of badassery when it comes to Marvel’s antiheroes, and at least that was established in the first movie. He holds his popularity solely on his looks and style. This time, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance tries to be more than that with the filmmakers realizing what comes first, and not falling on its ass by fooling itself on emotional storytelling. All hell puns are unintentional after the jump.
I really need to thank Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor and apologize at the same time. I didn’t like the Crank films they directed/wrote, nor Gamer, but now I have to apologize for riffing on their former works. The previous movies they made where fun, but downright sloppy. However, they must have learned how to control their wackiness in preparation for the Ghost Rider sequel. This is not to say it’s a good movie; it’s not by any stretch of the imagination. Instead they unleashed the godlike perfect example of a movie that is so bad it’s good. No, correction: So bad, it’s badass good.
Nicolas Cage reprises his role as Johnny Blaze (The Ghost Rider), a bike-riding stuntman that sold his soul to the devil. The devil gave him the power of the Ghost Rider so he can do his evil deeds, but he turns against the devil. For a short time. The movie title opens with a well animated segment, one of several, to explain his past so you thankfully don’t have to see the first movie all the way through to know what’s going on. His cooky and crazy acting is right at home when he is trying to hold back the Ghost Rider. It is surprising the directors managed to calm him down when he needs to be.
Violante Placido plays the mother of the antichrist’s son (Fergus Riordan); Basically, a badass Virgin Mary. There’s really only one supernatural villain besides the devil, and he doesn’t appear until halfway through the movie, which is ironically when it slows down. No one here gives a good performance, but it is at least competent. There is an unintentional joke that made me drop dead off of my chair in the theater, but it’s a little hard to explain and it’s a spoiler, so by all means skip ahead if you want to. Remember this scene from the trailer?
It’s in slow motion, of course, and he whips out a gun to shoot at the SUV. What made me laugh is that he pulled out a FAMAS from his jacket. As if hammerspace wasn’t enough of failure, he actually used one of the most embarrassing guns in the world. For a gun nerd, seeing this in slow motion is the just hilarious.
Anyway, the whole movie is constant in it’s style, though it brings out all the punches in the first half hour so you can get used to said style. After that, it delivers the same punches for another half hour, but in between those two segments is some drama that would slow down the whole movie. Fortunately, Mark and Brian saw that coming. They filled a gap that was designed to put you to sleep on paper by adding stylized visuals and insane cinematography. Honestly, these guys can really take a shitty script and make it work where the writing is just dull.
But hey, let me get to the Ghost Rider himself. In short, he’s better than ever. His skull doesn’t look like something you brought from a grocery store on halloween, it’s burnt, crisp, and exciting-creepy. They make him more feral and unpredictable, which makes a hell of a difference. His fighting style stands out with a somewhat-good blend of comical and crazy that goes from floating in the air to riding heatseeking javelins. Sometimes it got slowed down when he was using his Penance Stare so long that one victim at one point looked at the audience. It happens a few times, but not enough to make the film horrible, because right after that, shit gets real again.
Gotta give even the bad movies credit where credit is due.
Rating: 3/5 stars