Home > Movies > GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE – Movie Review


I, like many, was not a fan of 2007’s Ghost Rider.  Granted I haven’t seen it since theaters, but whenever I think back on it, I remember it being clichéd, low rent, and forgettable.  However, had I known then how the sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, would turn out, I would have been a lot more grateful.

The film is directed by the Mark Neveldine-Brian Taylor duo, which brought us the Crank films, and Nicolas Cage returns in the title role.  This time around, Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider in human form) sets out to protect a young boy, along with his mother, so his Ghost Rider curse can be lifted.  It turns out later that the young boy has some supernatural powers of his own, and a comic book film ensues.

If I were to describe Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in one word, it would be messy.  The tone and style are all over the place; some scenes play it way over-the-top and goofy, while others actually think the audience cares about the plot.  I, like most, came to see the former; a ridiculous, over-the-top movie with the bare bones of a story, giving the filmmakers a lot of freedom to take the movie to extremes.  However, the team actually gave us a storyline that matters throughout the film, preventing the audience from having the ridiculously fun time they intended.

The script for the film is just insufferable.  The storyline is incoherent, convoluted, and just plain dumb.  The characters are inconsistent, and calling the dialogue corny would be a huge understatement.  And some of these factors would be forgivable if the film was fun, but so much of it features characters focusing on the sloppily told story, as if we ever had an emotional resonance with anyone in the film.

The cinematography also very inconsistent.  It shifts between Neveldine-Taylor’s shaky, gritty, up-and-close camerawork, to conventionally shot action sequences, to random CG-animated sequences.  And as for Neveldine-Taylor’s gritty filmmaking, I love their attitude towards it.  They risk their lives to get the perfect shots in their movies.  However, not only does the shaky camera look terrible in 3D (which altogether was pointless), but it loses any impact of it being truly gritty because it’s showcasing a CG-created flaming skull, making it look like a bizarrely-made cartoon.

The only bright spot in the film is Nicolas Cage.  I, like many, love-seeing Cage, even in the worst films.  The guy is entertaining to watch regardless, and this film gives him some moments where he goes way over-the-top and crazy, which is exactly what I came for.  As for the rest of the acting, each actor seemed to be making an entirely different movie.

Overall, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is one of the least-enjoyable comic book movies I’ve seen in a very long time.  If you thought it was going to be a really bad, yet really entertaining action movie, it’s just double the former.


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