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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

A movie directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

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Better Than The First Film, But Still Not The Definitive Film on Ole' "Flame Head"

  • Feb 17, 2012
Rating:
+3
Ghost Rider has always been a favorite of mine since I was a teen. I mean, he was the ultimate anti-hero, a man torn apart between his humanity and his deal with the devil. The character reached new heights in the 80’s-90’s and reached a dimension that defined the character under the “Midnight Sons” label. I wasn’t very happy with how the 2007 film turned out, but hey, I guess I understood why it tried to do so many things that it lost its focus. Well, the sequel to 2007’s “Ghost Rider”, 2012’s “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” is based on the character’s exploits under the Marvel Knights banner (Same as Punisher War Zone was) and it is a much more darker, meaner rendition of old “Skull Face” which I liked. The good news is, it is a lot better film than the original was, and director Neveldine/Taylor did have a handle on how gritty the character should be. The bad news is, if you are expecting a definitive film about the spirit of vengeance, you would be disappointed.

                        Idris Elba in "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."

                       A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."

Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage) is struggling with the force within him. It isn’t very nice to share space with the spirit of vengeance and so the man is hiding out in a remote area in Europe to keep it buried. This is before Moreau (Idris Elba) a representative of a secret sect of the church approaches him to save a boy named Danny (Fergus Riodan) and his mother, Nadya (sexy Violante Placido, The American) from the clutches of a man called Roarke who is actually the devil in disguise. Now, Blaze must choose between his own personal redemption or using the dark power to keep the forces of Roarke at bay and keep the world from damnation….

The story is as simple as it could get. Then, again, most of the Marvel Knights re-issue weren't that intricate to begin with. The direction and the script took bits and pieces from the comic book series to come up with a script that defines the “Ghost Rider” character all the while sticking to devices that may help the non-fan understand its mythos. I could not expect a definitive film about John Blaze in a 90 minute runtime and considering the way the first movie messed up everything, at least, I was glad that the filmmakers did not make things worst. The direction uses familiar characters that were part of the comic series to keep things moving. Moreau was a good part of the comic series for a time and the Ray Hannigan character was obviously inspired by Blackout, although this is a very different kind of Blackout from what we’ve seen in the source material. Take note, that he was never named as Blackout but his appearance and some aspects of his powers were similar to that of the son of Lilith.

                          A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."

                         A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."

                         A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."

To really appreciate the film, one needs to have a background to the comics. Most of the details when it came to Blaze came in the form of narration and the direction uses illustrations and paintings to get the point across. It was nice to see the screenplay to have a piece of comic book charm around there, but I sure wished that the screenplay was more focused in the development of the supporting characters. Save for Moreau and Blaze, the supporting characters were mere staples that it seemed to be one-dimensional; they started out that way and they stayed the same. The Nadya character was so underused and even the leader of the religious sect (short appearance by Christopher Lambert) offered very little to the development of the key elements of the plot. It was all pretty predictable after the film hit the halfway mark, as it lost most of its energy and intended suspense to the shallow development of what really was at stake. I liked some of the subtle humor incorporated (especially the part with the twinkies) to keep up its pace, but I felt it was a mere tactic to keep the premise from becoming too dark.

                           A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."

                          A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."

                          A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."

Now, the film did have some good moments. The special effects this time around were much more fitting to the premise. Ghost Rider or “Zarathos” looked a lot more meaner and nastier than in the previous film. This is the character from the Marvel Knights logo and I loved the way they rendered the character designs. “Flame Head” certainly never looked better on film--he was scary and intimidating; coupled with that flaming motorcycle, this really was Ghost Rider (loved the black smoke emanating from the tires and his head). His powers remained true to the series and the effects did give the action scenes the needed intensity at certain points. The direction added as much PG-13 violence as he could muster, as old flame head dispatched his opponents as only he could. There was an opportunity to make the film much more grittier but I guess showing how certain details work, may cause it to divert from its intentions. As with most comic book movies, the main antagonist has been watered down to appease general audiences; I understand, but I still cannot help but wish for a much more dramatic and stronger portrayal of the spirit of vengeance.

                         A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."

                        A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."

I suppose “Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance” wasn’t exactly a bad film. It was entertaining in some ways, but it is far from being the definitive film about the spirit of vengeance. The script was so simple that it truly was a mere, short chapter in the Johnny Blaze stories, and it had missed several opportunities that could have engrossed me. I guess this may be your usual comic book adaptation--it didn’t want to take any risks, and as such, it never exactly take off. To its credit at the very least, it wasn’t the disaster that “Green Lantern” was. This is not the definitive “Ghost Rider” film and was made merely to bring the supernatural character into the big screen for the second time. It gets a timid recommendation for fans of the comic series, but it is better as a rental for everybody else.

RENTAL [ 2 ½ Out of 5 Stars]


Note: the 3D effects didn't exactly help the film much. See it in standard DLP if you have to.

Poster art for "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance." Poster art for "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."


 
 
 
Better Than The First Film, But Not The Definitve Film on The Spirit of Vengeance Better Than The First Film, But Not The Definitve Film on The Spirit of Vengeance Better Than The First Film, But Not The Definitve Film on The Spirit of Vengeance

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February 20, 2012
Glad it turned out better than the first, honestly I didn't hate the first one but I am glad this is better.
February 20, 2012
Yeah. I need to rewatch the original--it wasn't horrible, that honor belongs to CATWOMAN, but it sure wasn't that good either.
 
February 19, 2012
I didn't care much for the first one although my husband loved it because of the action and fire effects. I'm quite surprised you thought this one was better since sequels are usually not that interesting. I may have to check this one out, even if only for the hubby to see it - I know he'd love this one. Thanks for the great review and I love the pictures!!
February 19, 2012
The original was really bad to me. This one, while still having the same hollow plotting was more reflective of the Ghost Rider Marvel Knights series which wasn't that inventive to begin with. In a manner of speaking, it was a little more faithful while the original tried to do so many things (fan service) while the direction wasn't up to such a task. Thanks for the read, Brenda! More horror is a-comin'!
February 19, 2012
I agree the original was bad. And looking forward to more horror comin'!!!
February 22, 2012
well... a horror review is coming tomorrow or the day after, but the one movie I just reviewed tonight earned my rare 4.5/5.0 rating (+5) amazing film!
 
February 18, 2012
Fantastic action pictures and story to boot !
February 18, 2012
thanks.
February 18, 2012
You are very welcome.
 
1
More Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengean... reviews
review by . February 27, 2012
Johnny Blaze Gets
Nicolas Cage sets his head on fire once again in Ghost Rider:  Spirit of Vengeance and the results are mixed.  While I wasn't expecting anything absolutely amazing, I was hoping that this sequel outdid its predecessor.  In some ways it did, but for the most part this was a very standard "get from Point A to Point B" type of flick.      The plot was very simplistic.  Co-writer David S. Goyer, who seems to only write films that are either awesome …
review by . August 17, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*1/2 out of ****    The first one might have been God-awful, but there was always a chance that a good "Ghost Rider" movie could be made. When Neveldine/Taylor, the directing duo behind the loads-of-fun "Crank" movies, were announced at the helm of the sequel; I was hopeful. When Nic Cage's return to the role of Johnny Blaze was confirmed, I began to doubt the project more than I initially had. When the trailer came out, I was hopeful again. And when I saw the movie itself, I …
review by . February 18, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         We have already learned that Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage) sold his soul to the Devil to become the Ghost Rider, a demonic bounty hunter who takes on the appearance of a flaming skeleton in a leather jacket. He rides a motorcycle, also flaming, and carries with him a chain which he uses as a weapon. About midway through Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, we learn that his powers extend beyond even this – according to what he tells a young boy, …
review by . February 21, 2012
There was no way anyone thought that Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance was going to be anything more than a bad movie. The only debate was if it was going to be so bad that it was good or that it was going to be just terrible. It had all the tools to be the former, I'm just not quite sure if the movie got there. As long as you don't get bogged down by things like acting, cohesiveness or consistency then there is a chance you may find the trashy fun in Ghost Rider 2 that I'm …
review by . February 19, 2012
Not exactly what i was expecting.
I never followed the Ghost Rider series, mainly cause my Mother is Christian; Dude with a flaming skull head No no, "Its demonic" she said. So I wasn't allowed to read the comic or watch the movie. Luckily I have some cool family members who (secretly of course) allowed me to watch it at their house. I pop in this DVD watch it and after is done the first thing that came out of my mouth was “GOD THAT MOVIE SUCKED” I was super disappointed.  Fast forward to January …
Quick Tip by . February 14, 2012
Caption
I've always loved this character and when he was pushed in the 80's-90's as a true dark anti-hero, I really wanted Hollywood to make a definitive movie on the character. I hope to see his classic villains and the trailers did show BLACKOUT; on this I am excited!      The first movie wasn't good, actually it was bad. I do hope that this time, they manage to get it right....though Nicholas Cage hasn't really made a good movie in awhile.      …
Quick Tip by . February 14, 2012
Caption
I want this film to work so badly. The Rider is one of the coolest and most unique characters in the Marvel Universe, and I hope this film does him justice. I enjoyed the first film, but thought it could have been much better. I'll find out this weekend if the sequel betters the original.
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About this movie

Wiki

  • Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is loosely based on the Marvel Knights series of the classic character and is a sequel to the 2007 movie "Ghost Rider", also with Nicholas Cage in the title role.
  • Opened February 17, 2012 | Runtime:1 hr. 36 min.
  • PG-13
    Intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images and language
  • While hiding out in Eastern Europe, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) must once again become the Ghost Rider when members of a secret church hire him to save a boy from Satan.
  • Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ciarán Hinds, Violante Placido, Idris Elba, Johnny Whitworth, Fergus Riordan
  • Director: Mark Neveldine
  • Genres: Action/Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • Teaser poster art for "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance." 
  • A scene from "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance."
  • view wiki

    Details

    Release Date: Feb. 17, 2012
    MPAA Rating: PG-13
    Screen Writer: Scott M. Gimple, Seth Hoffman
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