#39 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance


#39 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 
Year: 2011
Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Epic Co-stars: Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba
Running Time: 95 mins
Cage Time: 
Cage Kills: 43
Cage Flip-outs: 1
Shauna's Review: 
If you were waiting for the movie where you get to see Nic Cage piss fire, you've finally found it. Your expectations for this movie, like ours, may be incredibly low following Ghost Rider I, but Spirit of Vengeance at least represents a measurable improvement over its predecessor. 

The directors (previously of Crank) bring a touch of Shoot 'Em Up (or, you know, Crank) to this film, which can only help it. The most significant improvement is to Cage's character Johnny Blaze. Whereas in the first film Cage's great dynamic range was stifled to a terribly dull, Kevin Costner-esque moderation, in this movie Cage's true dramatic and comedic abilities are showcased to great effect. Heaven knows I could happily watch the flesh melt off of Nic Cage's screaming face for hours on end. 


Ah, bliss.

The creative "minds" behind this movie have made a few changes to the canon. The Ghost Rider is basically the Hulk in this movie. Although more familiar with his alter-ego, Nicolas Cage still sweatily strains to hold it in check. Also he appears to be high on crack (you may notice a common theme among Cage's greater films). I know if *I* were playing the main character in this movie, drugs would help tremendously. 


I'm not sure if you know this, but... I've got the magic in me. Also cocaine.

The penance stare seems to have evolved a little bit... in that it now takes longer and is more like a makeout sesh, ending in the baddie dissolving in a fiery poof. Also the Rider is announced by that same sci-fi noise you've heard before in the Matrix/Lost/Transformers/Every Sci-fi Movie Ever, which is (redundant, but) creepy and awesome. I'll allow it.What makes this movie so much better than the first is that we get to see Cage AS the Rider, instead of as a boring do-gooder who morphs into a CGI Non-Shamanic Rider. 


I'm not going to bother with a recap of the plot of this film, because it is utterly ridiculous and wouldn't hold up under the slightest of scrutinies. Needless to say, every moment of film without Cage is one wasted, terrible moment, and slowly those moments wear you down until you are praying for merciful death. The writing is so awfully bad that Blaze actually compares murder to illegal downloading. And not in like a funny, ironic way. On the plus side, Cage's interviews with Nathaniel Lippiett are beautiful and amazing


Have you ever been dragged out to the sidewalk and beaten until you PISSED FIRE??

In sum, I'm not sure if Cage's performance is SO legendary that you should voluntarily subject yourself to it (outside of your AYITC requirements, of course); I'm sure you can think of at least one Cageriffic alternate. But he does give an enjoyably Shamanic experience in an otherwise crap film. 


Movie quotability:
  • "Same plot as Dennis the Menace?" -Skyler, hopefully
  • "I did a bare ass 360 triple back flip in front of twenty two thousand people. It's kind of funny, it's on Youtube, check it out."
  • "Why does the devil walk in human form anyway? I have no idea."
  • "And you don't want to be around when that happens, see there's good and bad in all of us, and maybe you're not a murderer, but you did something that you didn't want the Rider to see, a white lie, an illegal download, what about you? And you?"
  • "That's the guy? He looks like he works on a crew ship."
  • "No, I got it. You're the devil's baby mama."
  • "Yeah, Black, French, kind of a dick? You know him?"
  • "That guy does looks like a younger, more attractive Kurt Russell." -James
  • "He's scraping at the door! Scraping at the door!!!"
  • "Good girl."
  • "There was a bee. I thought it was going to sting your face."
  • "They made a mistake with Christian Bale. They should have just gone with him as Batman." -Skyler
  • "Go. Home."

Plot Holes:
  • Shotgun RPGs?
  • Martine (a mom) says that chick is not convincing as a real mom.

CAGEamatic
Cinematic
Skyler
Exceeds Expectations
Dreadful
Shauna
James
4.16
1.43
Martine
Fell asleep in the Cage. Hell yes.

2 comments:

Ian Huff said...

Nic puts in a very awkward performance in his return as Johnny Blaze. Bright spots: whenever Johnny transformed into the Rider we got to see the Cage-outs we all desire!

Steve M said...

I don't know that I feel this one is better than the first. Sure, Cage may have been acting a bit of a puss, but when the Ghost Rider came out it was hell fire and brimstone all the way. However, now we have a reversal where the Cage flipouts are more energetic and lively than the Ghost Rider. At times it looks like Cage is trying to repress the rider so he sits there squirming like a constipated child, but other times he looks like he's trying to turn into the rider but is having a hard time getting it on which doesn't exactly strike fear into the heart of the bad guy.

I'm no big fan of this new penance stare either. Hold still for 15 seconds please while I yawn and tilt my head from side to side. And the whole time the bad guy sits there apparently unaffected by the stare till the anti-climatic *poof*. Really, all that long buildup of boring yawning for a puff of ash? I wasn't even sure it was the penance stare at first and if not for having seen the first movie I'd not have known what he was on about. As it was it took a few before I realized what was supposed to be happening.

As if that wasn't boring enough, he's all a bunch of black smoke and hardly any flames! Most of the time you couldn't see what was happening for all of the smoke and it was like he had to work hard to get his flame on. Come on! What is more scary, a skeleton that smolders heavy, black smoke or a raging inferno of fire from the pit of hell itself?

Other obnoxious things:
1) A decay guy that caused almost everything he touched to decay, but unlike Midas he apparently could select not to decay his gloves, the steering wheel, or the Twinkie wrapper. Very fitting though that the only food to survive the decay man's touch was a Twinkie.
2) A not so subtle anti-piracy message written into the script. Please tell me this was someone's lame idea of a joke.
3) The Devil creates the Ghost Rider to do his bidding but is instead easily overcome and banished by him. Is it just me or was the bad-guy demon in the first movie a lot more powerful and challenging to overcome?

If you're looking for Cage flipouts this sequel is better, but if you are looking for a mildly entertaining movie to watch just stick to the first one. Ok, what's Next?

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