Back in the early 1980’s the only comic book that ever appealed to me, outside of Spiderman of course, was Ghost Rider. I mean, what’s to love about a dude with a skull head riding a flaming motorcycle?
Over the years I managed to acquire nearly every issue of the series but was so disappointed when the first installment of this movie franchise came out in 2007 that I wound up selling my prized collection on Ebay before the price of them tanked like Worldcom stock.
Suffice to say, Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance has made me reconsider my hasty sell off. Well, maybe just a little bit.
Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance once again stars Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze, the man who made a deal with the devil. Johnny’s curse for signing on the dotted line with the big guy downstairs is that he gets possessed by the demon Zarathos, a spirit whose sole mission is punishing the guilty.
This time around a young boy, Danny and his mother Nadya (Fergus Riordan and Violante Placido respectively) are the targets of a new devil, Roarke (Ciaran Hinds).
Apparently, the human vessel Roarke has been using on Earth is not powerful enough to hold his demonic energy and he needs the boy to unleash total hell.
To help him acquire the boy for his evil intentions he enlists the help of a group of ruffians led by Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth).
An exiled Blaze (Cage) is enlisted to help retrieve the child by a gun-toting priest named Moreau (Idris Elba). In return for his help, Moreau offers to free Johnny from his curse as the Ghost Rider.
Things I enjoyed the most:
1. The action: I found myself more caught up in the fight scenes in this film as opposed to the original. Some cartoonish death scenes but nothing anyone with an X-Box 360 and Call of Duty hasn’t seen before.
2. Idris Elba: For me, this guy steals the movie. Even with all the campiness in some of the scenes he still comes across as genuine.
3. I liked the fact that they decided to use a new female character with no affection for Johnny instead of bringing back Eva Mendes from the original film as his love interest. In fact, there’s no mention at all of Johnny’s old flame (“flame”…get it?).
It was quite obvious that one of the intentions of using Eva in the first movie was to showcase her character’s cleavage. Not that there’s anything wrong with that mind you. But did they have to make it so damn obvious? Violante’s shirt never comes unbuttoned in GR2.
4. The Devil’s Red-Eye: The body that Roarke possesses is a dude with one regular eye and one red one. It actually works to showcase demonic intent.
5. The Sponge Cake reference: Proof positive that some things will even survive the apocalypse.
What I Didn’t Like:
1. Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze: Sorry, but I really believe the Ghost Rider franchise could have been a blockbuster success if they had used an up and coming young actor to play Johnny Blaze. No offense, but its hard to believe that a 48-year old Cage can be a stunt motorcycle rider and the Spirit of Vengeance.
2. The Cheese: A bit over the top at times. But if you’re expecting to see a “serious” comic book adaptation (ex. The Dark Knight) then you should probably be warned. Although the scene where Johnny and Danny are talking about urinating is pretty damn funny.
3. The “F” Bomb: Yep, there’s one here and its very near the end. Why they had to use it at all makes absolutely no sense.
Overall, Ghost Rider 2 is a fun ride. If you’re a fan of the Marvel franchise this is one you should check out. If for no better reason than to see the Amazing Spiderman Trailer they show before the movie.
And you all know about me and Spidey.