- Ghost Rider's Look
- Nic Cage
I think I’ve been spoiled by The Avengers. That movie has really set the bar high for superhero films. A bar that, unfortunately, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance came no where close to reaching. I had high hopes for the film. I knew going into it that the film was more of a re-imagining than a sequel (a point that Nicolas Cage and the filmmakers made very clear). I’ve seen the first Ghost Rider so I knew what to expect from Cage. But despite thinking that I knew what I was getting myself into, all my hopes and expectations were thrown out the window five minutes into the film.
In this gritty new vision for the character, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is still struggling with his curse as the devil’s bounty hunter, and is on the run trying to make sure no one is harmed by his alter ego, The Ghost Rider. But he may risk everything as he teams up with the leader of a group of rebel monks, Moreau (Idris Elba), to save a young boy from the devil… and possibly rid himself of his curse forever.
Ghost Rider’s New Look
In Ghost Rider, whenever Johnny Blaze transforms, his skull is pristine and white, and the flames his body emits seem to not even touch his head. To me, that was a little unrealistic (I know, a movie about a skeleton on fire and I think the unrealistic part is how the skull looks). In Spirit of Vengeance, Ghost Rider’s look is updated and his skull is charred black and actually looks like it is on fire. I like this look better because it reflect the darker tone that the film was going for, and it looked less like a Halloween costume and more like a cursed being. In addition to the new face, Ghost Rider loses the spiked leather jacket and wears one that looks like it has been charred and melted by the flames, which helps reduce the ridiculousness of the character even further (although not by much). And I think I speak for everyone when I say thank you for not giving Nic Cage the same horrible wig he had in Ghost Rider. Costume designer Bojana Nikitovic did a good job staying away from the comicy, cartoony look from the first film, and making the Ghost Rider’s look a bit more realistic.
Cinematographer Brandon Trost did a wonderful job showcasing the beautiful locations throughout Romania and Turkey where the film was shot. For the most part. There were a couple scenes where the lighting was too bright or too dark, and one scene in particular that looked like it was filmed through three layers of gauze. Normally that would be alright in small doses, but it got to the point where I had to take my glasses off to make sure there wasn’t a giant smudge on them. There were also times during car chases that Trost would incorporate dolly zooms (the dolly would move forward while zooming out to make it look like the background was stretching). I’m alright with this effect being used for suspense or in a long hallway in a horror movie, but when used in a car chase it’s enough to give you motion sickness. I can’t imagine how it would have looked in 3-D. Besides those couple of instances, the movie was beautifully filmed, and really did show the natural beauty of the filming locations.
Nicolas Cage loves to overact. That is a fact that nobody can deny. There is at least one scene in every movie I’ve seen him in that I think, “Woah, buddy. Let’s bring it down a notch.” Spirit of Vengeance is a whole new level for Cage. I see where Cage was trying to go with the character, though. The Rider is inside him trying to get out, but I don’t think The Rider trying to escape my body would throw me into uncontrollable and unstoppable fits of laughter. It seems to me that there are two sides of Nic Cage. The over the top, over acting Nic Cage and the quiet, monotone Nic Cage. Both are in this movie. When he’s not screaming and making you wonder why directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor used that particular take, he’s so robotic that you think he’s plotting to steal the Declaration of Independence. Maybe he’s getting tired, or maybe it’s because he’s in a new film every two months, but it seems like Cage is acting just enough to get a paycheck for the movie.
Overall: 1 Star out of 5
Buy It, Rent It, Skip It
If you’re a fan of superhero movies – skip it. If you’re a fan of the first Ghost Rider movie – skip it. If you’re a fan of Nicolas Cage movies – skip it. If you absolutely have to see this movie – rent it. But do it at a Redbox and return it right after watching it so you only waste $1 on the movie. I never had high hopes for Spirit of Vengeance to begin with, but what little hope I had was shattered by how underwhelming this film was. Frankly, Spirit of Vengeance made Ghost Rider look like The Dark Knight. So if you want to save your money and your sanity, steer clear from this film.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Movie Trailer