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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Reviews
The film revs and stalls, swerving between gritty and silly, with scorching action but a clichéd story, with fiery performances but burned out dialogue.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Oct 25, 2023
Leans into the campier elements of the character and Nicolas Cage, along with the directors, seems to be having a total blast and that comes across on screen.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Sep 24, 2023
This time, contrary to the first installment, the film is more entertaining for its fight sequences than for being a story about a blazing avenger. [Full review in Spanish]
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10 | Jun 21, 2023
Though Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance attempts to offer a new spin on this comic property without entirely rebooting the franchise, the result looks and feels thrown together.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4 | Feb 22, 2023
This is a film that thinks it is more "quip-witted" than it really is, but will appeal as fun only to those who think flaming pee and firing a succession of hi-tech weapons at an undead demon is cool.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5 | Jul 25, 2022
Sometimes you just want to watch a skeleton on fire beat the crap out of some people.
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10 | May 22, 2022
Cheesy CGI that is either intentional or just plain awful.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.0/4.0 | Sep 8, 2020
You may find yourself infinitely more forgiving of its lack of quality if you pretend it's simply a low budget Troma flick rather than a multi-million dollar studio picture... If you're in the mood for 90 minutes of mindless nonsense -- Cage is your man.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5 | Dec 13, 2018
Hey, maybe watch season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. instead.
Full Review | Aug 29, 2018
Nic Cage doesn't get a chance to qualify for the Razzies in this one, which prompts me to recommend you rent Drive Angry instead. That movie has a much better use of a human skull.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5 | Jan 22, 2013
It makes me feel cheated and sad.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5 | Jan 22, 2013
A schlocky, derivative, and incredibly ridiculous sequel.
Full Review | Dec 17, 2012
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is too awful and cheesy to recommend to anyone, even the most diehard superhero fans.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/10 | Oct 12, 2012
This is destined for a place at the bottom of the pile come the end of the year, but in all honesty, did anyone really expect anything good out of a movie about a guy with a flaming skull going around killing people?
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4 | Sep 16, 2012
In terms of stupid, dumb, no-brainer comic-book films, they don't come much stupider, dumber and no-brainier than this.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5 | Sep 13, 2012
There are flashes of Neveldine/Taylor's self-deprecating sense of humor also, but even those can't overcome a story that's completely inert and uninvolving.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4 | Sep 4, 2012
As a B-grade horror/action hybrid, and the lowered expectations that come with that description, it's a very fun experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10 | Aug 22, 2012
An atrocious sequel...
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4 | Jun 14, 2012
Ghost Rider only excels when it embraces the gonzo direction of directors Neveldine and Taylor. Sadly though, the film seems to be pumping its brakes more than riding with a vengeance.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/10 | Jun 12, 2012
Save your money. Read "The Devil and Daniel Webster" or "Doctor Faustus." Listen to Robert Johnson. Or just be a decent human being, so you'll never have the devil to pay.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/10 | Jun 2, 2012
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Ghost rider: spirit of vengeance, common sense media reviewers.
Crazy, violent, dumb action sequel quickly burns out.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A similar message/theme as most other Marvel super
Ghost Rider isn't one of the more admirable heroes
Very little blood, and all of the violence is heav
In an animated graphic, the main character's bare
One use of "f--k." Also "merde" (which is French f
Part of a popular comic book franchise. A Twinkie
A secondary character is referred to as an alcohol
Parents need to know that Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is the sequel to the 2007's Ghost Rider and is based on a Marvel Comics character (albeit one who seems more on wreaking vengeance than assisting people in need). There's lots of strong, if mostly bloodless, fantasy violence; unlike the…
A similar message/theme as most other Marvel superhero movies: With great power comes great responsibility. Here, a character agrees to take on great suffering in order to help others. Unfortunately, his power also involves a deal with the devil, and violent behavior with no consequences goes hand-in-hand with the impulse to help.
Positive Role Models
Ghost Rider isn't one of the more admirable heroes in comic book movies. He struck a deal with the devil, and he's in constant torment. His power involves punishing and/or destroying the wicked -- i.e. vengeance rather than assistance. A boy is shown to be a skilled pickpocket.
Violence & Scariness
Very little blood, and all of the violence is heavily FX-based, but viewers do see characters rotting and burning. A boy of about 13 and his mother are in danger; they're both physically attacked, pushed around, and hit. The boy is kidnapped and treated roughly (he's injected with a needle and gets a small cut on his face). There are also threats and heavy fighting, guns and shooting, car chases, crashes, and explosions. Minor characters die. Some scary stuff (Ghost Rider's skull face is quite creepy). Characters behave angrily and crazily.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
In an animated graphic, the main character's bare butt is glimpsed during a motorcycle stunt. In another scene, it's implied that a businessman is trying to pick up a beautiful woman for sex, but nothing overt is said.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.
One use of "f--k." Also "merde" (which is French for "s--t"), "ass," "d--k," "goddamn," "a--hole," and "hell." "Idiot" and "balls" are seen in subtitles.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.
Products & Purchases
Part of a popular comic book franchise. A Twinkie is part of a well-placed joke, but the label isn't shown, and the product isn't mentioned by name.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A secondary character is referred to as an alcoholic. He's seen drinking briefly from a flask and sipping from a bottle or two of fine wine, but he isn't shown drunk, nor does he really demonstrate alcoholism. He's also seen (nearly) lighting a cigarette.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is the sequel to the 2007's Ghost Rider and is based on a Marvel Comics character (albeit one who seems more on wreaking vengeance than assisting people in need). There's lots of strong, if mostly bloodless, fantasy violence; unlike the original movie, this one is in 3-D, which makes some of the action/violence even more intense. Characters burn and decay; a woman and a boy (about 13) are slapped around; there are fights, explosions, guns and shooting; and lots of stuff catches on fire. Ghost Rider's skull face is pretty creepy, too. Language is infrequent but includes one use of "f--k"; there's also some brief sexual innuendo and a quick reference to a minor character being an alcoholic (he's shown drinking but not drunk). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .
Where to Watch
Videos and photos.
- Parents say (7)
- Kids say (23)
Based on 7 parent reviews
THIS MOVIE SUCKS
Not a good movie, but teen marvel fans may enjoy, what's the story.
Previously, former stunt rider Johnny Blaze ( Nicolas Cage ) made a deal with the devil and became Ghost Rider, a fearsome ghoul who rides a blazing motorcycle and feeds on the souls of the wicked. Now, attempting to hide from the world, he receives an offer from a priest ( Idris Elba ). If Johnny can help rescue a mother ( Violante Placido ) and her son (Fergus Riordan), he can get his humanity back. But what Johnny doesn't know is that there's something special about the boy and that the ultimate evil on earth won't rest until he's captured. Can Johnny save the world -- and also himself?
Is It Any Good?
There's some gleefully twisted stuff here (for those who like that kind of thing). Johnny tries to fight off the transformation to Ghost Rider, speeding down the street, screaming and cackling with the effort; he also switches from a flaming motorcycle to an enormous flaming crane in one shot (apparently it doesn't matter what vehicle he rides). For this sequel, the Ghost Rider franchise changed directors; now we get the demented team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor , the boys behind Crank and Crank: High Voltage . The result is a slight improvement in style, but unfortunately, the movie still lags behind in the script and character departments.
The story -- loosely borrowed from Superman II -- is sluggish and uninspired, with several bald spots of logic, and it has a distasteful penchant for violence against women and kids. The cardboard characters never inspire any connection; Cage plays his character as a touch too crazy, though Placido is genuinely appealing.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 's fantasy violence . Was it gruesome or thrilling? How does the impact of this kind of mayhem compare to more realistic violence?
What kind of superhero is Ghost Rider? Is he a good guy -- a role model? How does he compare to other superheroes?
When Ghost Rider agrees to take back his powers to help others, is this an admirable act, or a selfish act? Or can it be both?
Why are so many action/superhero movies based on comic books? What's the appeal?
- In theaters : February 17, 2012
- On DVD or streaming : June 12, 2012
- Cast : Ciaran Hinds , Nicolas Cage , Violante Placido
- Directors : Brian Taylor , Mark Neveldine
- Studio : Columbia Pictures
- Genre : Action/Adventure
- Topics : Superheroes
- Run time : 95 minutes
- MPAA rating : PG-13
- MPAA explanation : intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, and language
- Last updated : October 7, 2023
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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Review
Johnny blaze, shine on you crazy diamond..
Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun. Shine on you crazy diamond. Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
4 out of 5 Stars, 8/10 Score
In This Article
More Reviews by Scott Collura
Den of Geek
Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance review
Neveldine and Taylor bring some of their madness to Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance. The result, Duncan writes, is a cracking comic book movie…
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As much as it pains me to say it, 2011 was without doubt the worst year of Nicolas Cage’s career so far, with Season Of The Witch, Drive Angry, Justice and Trespass all falling short of average. Naturally, after last year’s drought, I was apprehensive about throwing all my hopes of into Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, this being the second chapter of a film most people didn’t care for, that has been retro-fitted with 3D, while carrying a 12A certificate, despite being directed by mega-violence merchants, Neveldine and Taylor.
And the result of all these negatives? A bombastic, insane and fantastically manic piece of action cinema that finally uses the power of Nic Cage in all his glory.
Distilled action movies that deliver purely on a need to entertain, with over the top action and superbly shot action scenes, are surprisingly rare these days, especially those that clock in at just under 90 minutes and don’t star Jason Statham. Yet along comes Ghost Rider: SOV, charging forth with all the subtlety of a spanner to the back of the skull, tongue firmly in its cheek, imbibing from the spirit of the 80s with more authenticity than Drive .
Much like the other films that bear the mark of Neveldine and Taylor, Ghost Rider 2 absolutely won’t be for everyone, with their rollerblade camera shots, frenetic style and, at times, juvenile humour shining through, I think it’s safe to say that anyone who doesn’t have time for Crank, Gamer or flaming urination should probably steer clear. But then the introduction of the duo to Ghost Rider was never about making new friends, but rather breathing new life a franchise that many thought was dead in the water.
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A recent re-watch of the first Ghost Rider film proved it to be better than I remembered, serving as a perfectly fine example of an enjoyable film that, much like Green Lantern, suffered from a slurry of unfair abuse that decried it as the worse thing ever – such is the beauty of the internet. Whenever such opinions become so widespread, I can only wonder how many people have watched the likes of Ice Spiders or Species 3 – now those films are genuinely terrible.
Regardless, any opinion on the first Rider shouldn’t influence your feelings towards Spirit Of Vengeance, as the two films are barely comparable. SOV starts as it means to end, with a flurry of over the top action, the appearance of some Geek favourites, including Idris Elba, before quickly moving on to a familiar plot – the devil wants a youthful body to transfer his soul into, and only one man can stop him.
For those worried that SOV was going to be another tired reboot of the origin story, the only fresh take on that material is quickly dealt with via an animated opening sequence, showing that the Devil Rourke is now played by the great Ciarán Hinds and that Johnny Blaze signed the contract via crushed broken glass – that’s about it. Neveldine and Taylor manage to inject a few of their trademark narrative devices to great effect, using a style that seems fresh and seamless rather than gimmicky and jarring, as can so often be the case.
Gone are the other safe conventions of the first film, as Spirit rattles through proceedings at breakneck speed, working in some genuinely exciting set pieces, mostly involving things being set on fire in a way that I didn’t expect to be quite so exhilarating, with a finale that reminded me of Mad Max 2 in the best way.
Slight concerns about the budget-friendly backdrops of Eastern Europe are waylaid by all the money being poured into some fantastic visual effects. The Rider himself now looks incredible, with a much more realistic (as realistic as a flaming skull can look) and threatening appearance, obliterating everyone in his path with total abandon.
This time around, Cage himself plays both Johnny Blaze and the Ghost Rider, an asset that adds an entirely new dimension to the physicality of the Rider. You can tell within seconds that it’s Cage beneath the flames as the Rider stops mid combat and starts to rhythmically sway in the wind, or intimidate a bad guy by repeatedly screaming in his face, adding some much-needed depth to a faceless creation. And speaking of Cage…
As if the work of Neveldine and Taylor wasn’t divisive enough, I can think of few actors capable of dividing opinion quite as strongly as Nicolas Cage. Even die-hard fans like myself have had their loyalty tested by his recent output, which threatened to bury the stellar work on show recently in Kick Ass and Bad Lieutenant, leaving everyone wondering when we’d see a return to form (especially after his financial woes were made quite public). Well, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is it.
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Cage is at absolute full tilt throughout the film, combining the best of his laconic/demented personas to their full potential, delivering his most animated and joyous performance in years. About a third of the way through the film he interrogates some minion or other, in what has to be one of the greatest Cage moments to date, as Blaze gleefully explains how he’s having to fight the Rider from surfacing, while smoking and grimacing. Then witness a scene later involving a screaming Cage going bananas on a motorbike, or plucking at an imaginary bee, and know that the man is well and truly back to form.
Ciarán Hinds makes more a much more reprehensible Devil than Peter Fonda (who should only really be seen surfing alongside Snake Plissken), ably backed by Johnny Whitworth as his right hand man. As the woman in peril, Violante Placido does just fine, though her role is fairly unnecessary providing more of a narrative tool than an actual character. Idris Elba is great, as you would expect, though there was a discussion afterwards as to why he was attempting a French accent and whether it was the performance, or the echoey acoustics of the screening venue that affected the intelligibility of his dialogue.
This film also features gratuitous Christopher Lambert. I actually shrieked with joy.
It was screened in 3D, but seemed short on gimmicky effects, settling more for the deeper background picture effect, but leaving the image crystal clear and un-dimmed by the glasses thankfully.
As a point of interest, there were actually three writers from Den of Geek in attendance at the screening and we all had an absolute blast. I would normally justify my reasons for loving such an insane film in more detail, but across the board it was loved, and all of us, I confess, were a little shocked. We didn’t expect it to work.
Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance really won’t be for everyone, but for anyone looking for an alternative comic book movie, instilled with a manic energy and non-stop adrenaline fuelled action in which lots of things are set on fire, then you’re in for a treat.
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Duncan Bowles | @duncanbowles
Han Solo, Pierce Brosnan and Ryan Reynolds quipping Warm Lohan feelings when Indy is whipping All 19 versions of Lord of the Rings These are a…
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
By Peter Travers
Nicolas Cage is at his bugfuck best. Not in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance , a dishwater dull sequel to the hellishly bad 2007 original, but in a special appearance a few weeks back on Saturday Night Live in which Andy Samberg brilliantly played Cage and Cage did a Cage so wonderfully demented you could forgive him anything, even Bangkok Dangerous . Citing the Cage rule for Cage movies, the actor clearly stated that “every line of dialogue must be either whispered or screamed.” That definitely applies to Ghost Rider 2 , in which Cage repeats his Marvel Comics role as Johnny Blaze, the motorcycle stunt driver who makes a deal with the devil, a deal that keeps turning him into a flaming skeleton head. I, too, felt my head would explode if I had to endure another minute of this blather from Cage and directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. As for the 3D, I’ve never seen worse. In a recent interview, Cage declared that his movies are “countercritical.” Not really. One look at the dreadful mess that is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance will turn your whisper into a primal Cage scream: MAKE THIS MOVIE STOP!
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Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance Review
17 Feb 2012
Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance
The first Ghost Rider was derided for its lack of edge — something Crank’s Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor were meant to fix. Instead, here’s another 12A attempt at the guy whose skull periodically explodes into flame as he sucks evildoers’ souls. Nic Cage and Idris Elba both clearly have a ball, but the plot is fatally unoriginal — Cage’s Johnny Blaze teams with Elba’s priest to save a boy from Ciarán Hinds’ devil — and it’s neither as funny nor as balls-out fierce as it should be. With the directors failing to tweak their style to fit 3D and the Ghost Rider still an inchoate presence, this is less a film than a tattoo that lasts 90 minutes.
Movies | 28 12 2017
- DVD & Streaming
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
- Action/Adventure , Drama , Horror , Sci-Fi/Fantasy
- February 17, 2012
- Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider; Violante Placido as Nadya; Ciarán Hinds as Roarke; Idris Elba as Moreau; Johnny Whitworth as Ray Carrigan; Fergus Riordan as Danny
Home Release Date
- June 12, 2012
- Mark Neveldine|Brian Taylor
- Sony Pictures
When they get out on the road, some folks turn nasty. Sunday school teachers tailgate. Social workers lay on the horn. Grandmothers shake their fists. There’s something about merging man and metal that makes people a little … aggressive.
Even so, Johnny Blaze sorta takes it to an extreme.
Oh, Johnny’s never been exactly a defensive driver. The guy used to jump school busses with his motorcycle. But ever since he signed that deal with the devil, he’s been, literally, hell on wheels. He turns into a demon with a flaming skull for a head and atrocious highway etiquette—bringing fiery vengeance to all who cross his path.
Johnny is not happy about his situation. Never mind the power it gives him. He’d just like to be normal again.
Turns out, he may get his chance. (Again.)
One day, a mysterious dude named Moreau rides over to Johnny’s out-of-the-way pad in Eastern Europe and offers him a deal. There’s this boy named Danny, see, who’s being chased by some very bad men, and the kid could use a little protection. Get the boy to a place of safety , Moreau says, and you can have your soul back .
Sounds easy enough. I mean, the Rider can tackle pert near any mortal threat that comes his way … and it’s not as if the kid’s going to be chased by the devil himself, right?
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance has some good messages. Unfortunately—at least for a movie reviewer trying to separate “positive elements” from the rest of his review—they’re often tied together in a knot so tight my fingers are starting to bleed while untangling the thing with my keyboard.
For instance: Johnny and Nadya (Danny’s mother) want to save the boy from infernal evildoers. And we certainly have to laud Nadya for her unconditional love of the kid. She’s made a lot of mistakes in her life, she admits, but “Danny’s the one good thing I ever did.”
Awesome, don’t you think?
Well, sure—except that Danny happens to be the literal spawn of Satan. It’s great to say, “Hey, my son may have his problems, but I love him no matter what.” It’s another to say, “Man, having sex with the devil was the best thing I ever did—which is, in a way, what Nadya says.
Still, let’s give props to the “good guys” here for trying to save the wee lad (no matter who his father might be) from a fate truly worse than death. (More on that later.) Johnny, who wrestles with his own demon, can empathize more with Danny than most. “This power we have comes from a dark place,” Johnny says. “But it’s not who we are. We can use it for good.”
OK. Again, sure. Not exactly biblical, of course. Evil doesn’t produce good just ’cause you happen to want it to on a given morning. But I guess if you let this big ole mess stand as the comic book movie that it is, we can say it’s much better that Johnny helps instead of hurts his new young charge. And taken metaphorically, it read like this: We should all fight our sins and failings and internal darkness.
The demon possessing Johnny has a complicated backstory: Once heaven’s “Spirit of Justice,” the former angel was “tricked” and dragged down to hell with the rest of heaven’s outcasts where it was driven mad and became the merciless Spirit of Vengeance. We’re told it’ll kill anyone who’s not completely blameless. “In his eyes, you’re not different from (evil dude) Carrigan,” Johnny tells Nadya. “You’re no different from any of them.” But there’s a question of whether the Spirit of Vengeance is altogether bad. After all, he’s always been presented as a sort of spiritual free agent in the foundational Marvel comics and the first movie, and here we’re told that Justice may still live somewhere inside Vengeance’s flaming skull.
Before Johnny undergoes a ritual to rid himself of the spirit, he and Moreau share an impromptu communion meal. “This is the Lamb of God,” Moreau says, breaking a piece of bread. Johnny then jokes about how stale it is. Moreau tells Johnny to confess his deepest, darkest sin (but he doesn’t use that word) before undergoing the potentially lethal ceremony.
The devil—named Roarke—kidnaps Danny, and the two (surrounded by black-cloaked followers) undergo a ritual designed to transfer Satan’s essence into Danny. Why Danny? Because Roarke also apparently signed a blood contract with Nadya, saving her life in exchange for the right to have a child with her.
Danny, we learn, has all of his father’s power. We see him subdue the Rider with a command and, later, shoot flame/spirit into a willing mortal vessel.
Moreau appears to work with a secret Christian organization consisting of priest-warriors wearing clerical garb. And Moreau and the Rider take the boy to another spiritual locale populated by men who dress like monks and appear to have Scripture tattooed on their bodies and heads. “You mustn’t be afraid,” one says. “It was God who led you here.”
[ Spoiler Warning ] But this organization, rather than protecting Danny, tries to kill him. “That boy is one of God’s children!” Moreau protests. “No,” the head priest says. “He is not.”
Somewhat unrelated to that, but worth noting while I’m in the middle of spoiling certain plot points, are these spiritually loaded details: 1) Johnny is freed of his Rider alter ego, but he asks to be possessed by it again when he “needs” it to fight off Danny’s assailants. 2) As the Rider once again, he undergoes a cathartic redemption—performing a compassionate act that, of course, would be beyond the insane, given the evil Spirit of Vengeance’s hellish persuasions. Then, before the credits roll, the Rider is engulfed not in red, but blue flames—symbolic of the spirit returning to the light.
Elsewhere, weapons are deemed equal to or better than faith. Yet Moreau credits God with saving his life. After one of his mortal henchmen dies, Roarke resurrects the guy and gives him the “power of decay,” wherein everything the man-demon touches rots or breaks apart before his (and our) eyes.
Crosses are worn and handled, the film exploiting their iconography as a form of shorthand.
We hear, of course, of Nadya and Roarke having a child together. It’s also intimated that she and Carrigan we sexually coupled. Nadya uses her feminine attractiveness to ensnare sexually minded businessman. When one takes off his wedding band and sidles up to her, offering money for time with her, Danny steals his ring and money while chasing him away.
When a film proffers Nicolas Cage as a flaming, skull-headed demon, one can quite safely assume that it will gleefully assail its audience with outlandish, cartoonish violence. Indeed, the Rider carries with him glowing-hot chains that can incinerate people on contact. He also sometimes grasps people by the head and causes them deep anguish (assumedly from the guilt he makes them feel for their misdeeds) before they too are consumed in flame. Moreover, every vehicle that the Rider operates turns into a flaming monstrosity, and he kills any number of folks while operating such heavy machinery.
His enemies fill him with bullets to no avail. The Rider does, however, seem to be susceptible to bombs and grenades—one of which sends him (as Johnny) to the hospital. He’s sent careening into a car and high up into the air.
We see Carrigan’s deadly touch rotting the bodies and faces of several foes. He pokes out the eyes of one man with his fingers. (We don’t see the impact.) Another disintegrating victim head-butts Carrigan, his own head exploding into a shower of ashes.
People shoot and kill one another. Bad guys manhandle and beat up both Nadya and Danny. Danny jumps from a ledge and breaks his ankle. Someone nearly cuts off his head with a sword. Others are killed in a massive car chase in which vehicles flip, crash and explode. A man is crushed by huge chunks up concrete. Another is literally yanked down through the ground into hell itself.
Desperate to end his life, Johnny pulls Nadya’s drawn gun to his forehead, telling her to pull the trigger.
Crude or Profane Language
One f-word and one French word that would be translated into the s-word. Characters say and shout other profanities including “a‑‑” (a half-dozen times), “b‑‑ch” (twice), “p‑‑‑” (once) and a few crude terms for bits of the male anatomy. “H‑‑‑” is used as a curse word a couple of times and “d‑‑n” is spoken a handful of times—twice with God’s name.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Johnny calls Moreau an alcoholic. He says it partly in jest, but we do see the guy often sipping from a flask. Moreau praises monks on their knowledge of wine, drinking from a vintage bottle. Then he pulls another ancient-looking bottle from a recess, telling Johnny it’s more than 2,000 years old. “When this is over, we will share it, no?” he says. Later, they do drink a bit of the wine.
Johnny is given morphine in the hospital, and before he leaves he steals a bevy of pain-killing drugs. Danny is given a sedative before the soul-swapping ceremony begins.
Other Negative Elements
Danny asks Johnny what happens if he needs to urinate when he’s the Rider. Johnny jokes that it’d look something like a flamethrower—and then we see an image of him doing it (from the rear).
Beyond setting up marks for Danny to pickpocket, Nadya steals at least two cars.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a silly, sorry movie. Few who see it will be looking for theological insight. And that, I suppose, is good, as there’s little to be found here.
The diabolical spirituality on display resembles not infernal power, but video game power—special abilities that allow characters to conquer a given level’s adversaries, move up and move on. Never mind that at the end of the first film Johnny chooses to keep his curse and tells the devil that he’s going to use it to help others. Now he’s really, really ready to get rid of the nasty spirit inside of him. But while he’s a fast rider, he’s a terribly slow learner. After he ousts the Rider, he very quickly concludes that he’s made a big mistake. Without the Rider on call, he reasons, there’s no way he can save the boy. “I should never have gotten rid of the power,” he says. “I know that now.” And when he has opportunity to reclaim the spirit, he accepts.
Lucky for him, the Spirit of Vengeance seems to have something of a softer, gentler side, and all’s well that ends well, it seems. Evil red flames morph into a beautiful, calming blue as Johnny says he feels the Spirit of Justice stirring deep within.
And to that ostensibly happy ending, the only thing I can say is, Didn’t any of these people watch The Lord of the Rings ?
Sure, Johnny’s motives are magnificent. But if this Ghost Rider sequel has a moral to its CGI silliness, it’s this: Power—even incredibly dark power—is OK to tap into if you use it the right way and for the right reasons. Gandalf, I think, would quibble: Sauron’s ring was, like Johnny’s possessor, an incredibly powerful, incredibly tempting weapon. And none knew better than Gandalf how badly that was going to end.
Alas, Johnny does not even for a second consider his sage wisdom before welcoming the Rider once again.
Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.
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Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance (2011) Review
The concept of marrying that team with Hollywood’s greatest over-actor and the Ghost Rider franchise seemed like a match made in heaven. Sadly, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance isn’t quite the gloriously batshit comic book masterpiece it had the potential to be on paper. It’s still a massive improvement on the original film and worth seeing, but unfortunately Neveldine and Taylor were tied down with a pretty conventional script that they were only able to embellish with crazy flourishes rather than command with their uniquely warped vision.
The movie is about…well that’s the problem. It’s a collection of semi-thought out ideas stretched into three acts. Nicolas Cage’s Johnny Blaze is now wondering Eastern Europe for reasons best known to himself. Somehow he ends up running into a hot single mother with a 12-year-old boy who just happens to be the son of Satan. Since Johnny Boy sold his soul a while back, he’s drawn to the kid, but also wants to protect him since Satan is kicking around Eastern Europe (of course he is) trying to track down his boy and kick off that whole Armageddon plan he’s been working on. At the same time Blaze has befriended a French guy who knows some monks capable of curing his flaming skull curse. Yaddayaddayadda, things go wrong and Ghost Rider fights the devil. Why the hell not?
The big problem facing any filmmakers taking on Ghost Rider is that while the character and imagery are iconic, it’s not like this guy is Batman or Spiderman . Those characters infiltrated pop culture to such an extent that their stories essentially became the mythology of the 20th Century. Everyone knows them and are anxious to see them on a big screen . Much like other B-level Marvel stock characters like The Punisher or Blade, Ghost Rider provides a great protagonist for T-shirts and action figures, but no compelling story to tell. So, studios just hire a bunch of hack Hollywood writers to crank out something that resembles other superhero stories well enough that they can be sold to the public. Sadly by design, B-level Marvel characters can only ever get B-movies at best. Spirit Of Vengeance features a pair of directors perfectly suited to the material, so they get the style and tone right even if the story is ultimately little more than window dressing. So, the quality level is about the same as Guillermo Del Toro’s Blade 2 or Punisher: War Zone. Enough things work that it’s an entertaining romp and serves the character well, but this thing will never be confused with The Dark Knight .
Now, if you’re a Crank fan, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Neveldine/Taylor fingerprints are all over this thing. There are bad taste cut away gags involving flaming piss, insane stunt sequences where the cameramen were clearly thrown of the side of a mountain, a punk/heavy metal aesthetic with a relentless soundtrack, and a couple of moments of over-the-top Nicholas Cage insanity ready to be cut into youtube montages. Unfortunately these qualities all generally feel like asides. These guys clearly came into the project late with a release date looming and peppered as much of their style into the existing project as possible, while still being saddled with a lifeless screenplay and wooden lead actress that they didn’t have anything to do with. Yes, it’s great to watch Nic Cage rant while trying to hold Ghost Rider inside, but the scenes where he connects with the young boy feel like they are right out of a particularly crappy TV movie. There’s enough good stuff here to make it worth recommending, but those moments where it turns into Neveldine and Taylor’s Ghost Rider are so strong that you can’t help but wish they’d been allowed to take over the movie.
In the grand scheme of contemporary superhero movies, this sucker has nothing on the X-Men, Batman, or even Spiderman franchises, but it’s still a hell of a lot better than the pitiful Fantastic Four flicks or even the original Ghost Rider. As long as you go in with the low expectations the original film set, you’ll definitely be pleasantly surprised. There are far worse ways to kill 90 minutes. However, there is the potential for a totally off the wall and insane R-rate Ghost Rider movie with Nic Cage reaching levels of insanity he’d only dreamed possible and the Crank directors ensuring that no bad taste booty shot, one-liner, or decapitation is left on the cutting room floor and this isn’t it. Maybe this flick will make enough money that they’ll be invited back with total freedom next time. But somehow I doubt it and this is as good a Ghost Rider movie as we’ll ever get. It’s a bit of a wasted opportunity, but still a perfectly serviceable and entertaining blockbuster. I guess it was silly to expect anything more from a Ghost Rider sequel, but damnit this could have been great. Let’s just hope Neveldine and Taylor became good enough friends with Nic Cage during shooting that he’ll show up as a villain in Crank 3 . Now that would be a wild fucking ride.
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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)
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Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance review
More damp squib than blaze of glory.
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Whether you’re trading your soul for your Dad’s life or just another fat pay cheque and a name above the poster, deals with the devil are never a good idea.
It’s been five years since stunt rider Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) signed on the bloody line and became Beelzebub’s flaming-biker bounty hunter. Sniffing out evil and sucking the souls out of bad guys whenever his head catches on fire, Blaze finally wants rid of his cursed vigilante alter ego.
A visit from Idris Elba’s mad monk convinces him that salvation lies in rescuing a creepy child from the clutches of Ciarán Hinds’ scenery-munching Satan and he sets off for Eastern Europe’s cheapest shooting locations to set things right. Helmed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (purveyors of Crank ’s glorious X-rated opera of silliness) Ghost Rider’s second road trip is less the rollicking highway to hell it could have been, and more like the bargain bin of a motorway service station.
Burdened with a saggy midriff that spends far too much time milling about with monks, the film goes flatter than its own post-conversion 3D.
Thankfully, Nicolas Cage is just as multi-dimensional as anybody could ever hope for. Oddly humourless, one of the dullest Marvel adaps still manages to be frequently hilarious thanks to Cage’s wide-eyed, twitchy masterclass in overacting.
Looking like a middle-aged man on a permanent acid trip, his banshee scream of “I’ll eat your stinking soul!” is destined for YouTube greatness on the second volume of ‘Nicolas Cage losing his shit’. Elba and Hinds do their bizarre best to keep up, but they’re both held back by too many years of subtlety and restraint. A handful of lustreless FX showdowns are used as so-so bookends, but without the Western kookiness and half as much hot-chain-whipping action, it somehow manages to make the 2007 original look pretty good. Not for nothing is the most memorable moment doused in a stream of flaming piss…
Funny in all the wrong places and long at 95 minutes. Cage might be on fine psychotic form, but the flaming skull barely manages a sizzle this time around.
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Ghost rider: final vengeance sees a marvel supervillain become the new spirit of vengeance.
The forthcoming Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1 will see a super-villain become the new host for the Spirit of Vengeance--but who will it be?
- Ghost Rider's spirit has departed from Johnny Blaze and bonded with a villain, spelling trouble for the Marvel Universe.
- The new Ghost Rider's identity has not been revealed yet, adding to the suspense and anticipation for fans.
- The potential for destruction and violence is high with a villain possessing the Spirit of Vengeance, presenting a threat to everything Ghost Rider stands for.
The forthcoming Ghost Rider : Final Vengeance sees a Marvel villain become the new Spirit of Vengeance. Writer Benjamin Percy has put Ghost Rider through his paces over the past two years, giving him a sidekick and sending Johnny Blaze down a horrifying path. Now, the Spirit of Vengeance has departed from Johnny, bonding itself to a villain–which could spell bad news for the Marvel Universe.
Marvel shared a first look at Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1’s cover on their website. The book will be written by Percy and drawn by Danny Kim, with Benjamin Su providing a special foil cover. Marvel did not reveal which villain would bond with the Spirit of Vengeance, assuring fans it would be revealed soon.
Likewise, Su’s cover does not clear the matter up either–fans must wait patiently to discover the new Ghost Rider’s identity.
Ghost Rider Has Seen a Lot in 50 Years
Ghost Rider has been a staple of the supernatural side of the Marvel Universe since his first appearance in the early 1970s. There have been many Ghost Riders throughout history , with several in the 20th/21st centuries alone, but Johnny Blaze remains the best known. After a brief stint as the King of Hell, Johnny Blaze returned to the role, and has barely had time to stop since his return. First, he fought off an evil demon threatening a small town. Along the way, he meets Talia Warroad, a former SHIELD agent and mystic, who becomes Ghost Rider’s unofficial sidekick. Benjamin Percy has given Ghost Rider his groove back.
Now, Johnny Blaze’s entire world has been upended as he has been separated from the Spirit of Vengeance. To add insult to injury, the Spirit has bonded with a villain. Marvel is still being coy over the identity of the new Ghost Rider, not even offering hints in the press release. While the most logical candidate would be a supernatural-based character, other types of villains cannot be ruled out. How exactly a Spirit of Vengeance, a tool of revenge and justice, could bond with an evil villain remains to be seen too. This could also tamper with powers such as the Penance Stare.
Ghost Rider's True Speed Revealed as Marvel Puts a Number on the Hell Cycle's Power
A villain can corrupt ghost rider's mission.
Regardless of the new Ghost Rider’s identity, a villain possessing the Spirit of Vengeance is a terrifying notion, and Johnny Blaze will have to work quickly to stop them. The potential for destruction and violence is great, as they could flip the script on Ghost Rider’s iconic powers, such as Hellfire and the Penance Stare. In the wrong hands, these powers could cause serious damage and trauma, in the process, flipping the script on everything Ghost Rider stands for.
Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1 is on sale March 13 from Marvel Comics.
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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in 3D – review
T he first Ghost Rider had Nicolas Cage zooming enjoyably about the place as Johnny Blaze, a flaming demon on his mighty motorbike, collecting damned souls for Satan – his side of a bargain he once sealed with the Evil One who undertook to cure his dad's cancer. Now Blaze is back for more throbbing daemonic adventures in 3D; he briefly reminds us of the fact that he did all this for his ailing father, but just as before, his dad's subsequent existence is of absolutely zero interest. There's less engine power in this sequel, and the original's healthy, dark humour is in short supply. Hinds plays the devilish figure of Roarke, whose intense, scary face makes him look a lot like Harry Grout, the gangster-inmate in TV's Porridge. The strangest part of this film is a quick montage showing the various historic and mythic incarnations of evil: there's Idi Amin in there, and Stalin – but no Hitler, and the big ironic showstopper is a huge picture of Jerry Springer. Not exactly topical, not precisely hilarious and, presumably, not technically libellous. Time for this rider to head off into the sunset.
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Movie Review: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Doesn’t Go Far Enough Over the Top
No movie that casts Ciar á n Hinds as The Devil can be all bad, and in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance , the Irish actor brings his usual brooding charisma to the role of the ultimate villain, and it makes for a nice contrast to the wild-eyed histrionics of Nicolas Cage, here reprising his role as Johnny Blaze, the titular biker with a flaming skull (one of the more unlikely super/anti-heroes in the Marvel canon). That’s the good news.
The bad news is that this sequel, which wants to wow us with its unrestrained, hyper-stylized, WTF-ness, is way too disposable for its own good. Let’s not even worry too much about the plot, which is some kind of cross between The Golden Child and Every Other Horror Movie Ever Made (Satan has fathered a child; he wants to transfer himself into this healthier, younger vessel; a renegade monk played by Idris Elba enlists a reluctant Blaze’s help in protecting the child from this demonic parent; much screaming ensues; yada yada). No, the real tragedy of Spirit of Vengeance is that it has all the pieces in place for total zonked-out craziness, but stops short.
The first Ghost Rider film lucked into a kind of ironic charm; too silly to work as a serious superhero movie (whatever that may mean), it caught Cage right at the moment when he was shedding his A-List persona and fully embracing his status as loony cult figure. The new film, to its credit, doesn’t make even a halfhearted attempt at respectability. While the original was directed by anonymous journeyman Mark Steven Johnson (who gave us the instantly forgettable Daredevil and later, um, When in Rome ), this new one is helmed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the deranged visionaries behind the nutty Crank movies, a series whose unchecked visual sense and sonic playfulness had kind of a coked-out magnificence.
You’d think that the combination of Cage, Neveldine/Taylor, a Marvel-sized budget, and a strong supporting cast (including, alongside Hinds, a very welcome Christopher Lambert) would result in something special, but sadly, the directors are mostly in service mode here: They certainly fancy up the proceedings with their brand of unmotivated camerawork and in-your-face editing choices, and even toss in some animated bits early on, but for the most part, they stick to the thoroughly generic storyline outlined above. The Crank films are a maze of almost Dickensian distractions and digressions, but Spirit of Vengeance is so focused and, as a result, so impoverished that you actually feel bad for Cage. The actor tries to bring the weird (though at this point one wonders if he can even do anything else) but the film more often than not leaves him high and dry, saddling him with standard-issue action hero lines and boilerplate action set-pieces.
Neveldine/Taylor have never been known for their flair for performance, but ironically enough, it’s when the action stops and the actors take center stage that the film comes close to shining. Hinds can do grim and playful at the same time; he gives Satan some gravitas even as he winks at us. He also brings the best out of Cage, and you want to see more of them snarling at each other. The result is a sad, final irony: This most knowing of comic book movie franchises doesn’t go far enough, and you leave the theater wondering if it maybe should have pulled back all the way and just let its actors have the day.
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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (United States/UAE, 2012)
A few random thoughts about Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance ... A single viewing makes it obvious why Marvel Enterprises would move forward with the sequel to a feature whose box office performance was underwhelming. By making this film, they are reminding us what a bad comic book movie is really like, thereby elevating the relative quality of their recent stretch of mediocre efforts and lowering the bar for Marvel's big summer twosome: The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man . Also, I know Nic Cage is in financial distress and has to film pretty much every screenplay with which he is presented, but doesn't the law of averages demand that somewhere along the way, if only by accident, he would stumble upon a good movie?
In some circles, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance has been referred to as more of a "reboot" than a "sequel," although I'm not aware of any reboots that have featured the same actor in the lead role. Admittedly, pretty much everyone else, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, has been jettisoned, leaving minimal traces of the first Ghost Rider . The new directors, Neveldine & Taylor, are the Crank guys and the screenplay is credited to two TV writers (Scott M. Gimple & Seth Hoffman) and one of the men behind Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy (David S. Goyer, who at some point probably tried desperately to get his name removed). Columbia Pictures showed admirable restraint in not selling Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance as being "from the writer of The Dark Knight ," although that would have been technically accurate.
A certain amount of cheese is acceptable, even desirable, in a movie such as this. Some of the most entertaining action/adventure movies layer it on like a pizza. In the case of Ghost Rider: Sprit of Vengeance, Neveldine & Taylor turn the "campiness" dial to 11 with as much limburger as they can gather, but they forget a key element - the "action/adventure" one. This is a boring movie. The over-the-top outlandishness can't disguise that the whole 95 minutes represent one big snooze-fest. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is essentially a mixture of nonsensical story elements, bad special effects, and endless exposition. People talk and talk and talk like they're stuck in a parody of a Dan Brown novel, and they simply won't shut up.
It can be a little difficult to decipher the plot because the screenplay reads like a comic book with a bunch of pages ripped out. I don't know whether a lot of material was removed from the final cut or whether it never made sense from the beginning. I suppose when you start with the premise that the lead character has a righteous demon trapped inside that causes him to burst into flame at inopportune moments, anything goes. The starting point is that Johnny Blaze (Cage), hiding out in Eastern Europe where it's cheaper to film, desperately wants to be rid of the curse that changes him into Ghost Rider. Enter Moreau (Idris Elba), who claims to belong to a sect of ascetic monks who can rid him of the Rider. As payment for this, Johnny has to escort sulky pre-teen Danny (Fergus Riordan) and his hot mother, Nadya (Violante Placido), to a monastery while being pursued by Satan a.k.a. Mr. Roarke (Ciaran Hinds, who never once utters the line "Welcome to Fantasy Island") and his henchman, Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth).
For some reason, Cage seems trapped in movies about demons and devils: the first Ghost Rider , Season of the Witch , Drive Angry , and now this one. Neveldine & Taylor should have used Drive Angry as a template - it recognized what it was and never tried to be anything more. The chief problem with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is that it never embraces its utter awfulness. As a result, it's impossible to enjoy on any level. It's a complete mess.
For acting to be this bad in movie not directed by Michael Bay or George Lucas, it has to be intentional. Nicolas Cage cackles like a constipated chicken and Ciaran Hinds interprets Satan as a twisted imitation of Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life with a bad case of pink eye. Violante Placido sounds like she's speaking English phonetically and Johnny Whitworth tries desperately to chew scenery with more gusto than Cage, but finds himself overmatched. Still, even though everyone seems on board in this attempt to earn an ensemble cast Razzie, it's less enjoyable than it should be - well, most of the time.
I won't spend much time on the 3-D because what's the point? In the ever-growing collection of 3-D offerings, this is among the most ill-conceived of selections. It's not the worst 3-D I have seen (in fact, it avoids a lot of the most common 3-D sins), but it adds absolutely nothing except a $3 surcharge. I'm not going to recommend seeking out a 2-D version, however, since the only iteration of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance worth exploring is one in 0-D.
Comic book movies, no matter how disappointing, generally manage to deliver at least halfway competent action scenes, but that's not the case here. It could have something to do with the shoestring budget that makes Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance appear to have been shot using a maxed out credit card with a low limit. In this production, "Action" typically refers to a silly skeleton looking like a neighborhood haunted house reject twirling a fiery chain that immolates everything it touches. Exciting, no? "Anticlimactic" doesn't even begin to describe the ending, although it features something no other movie to-date can boast: a car chase with Satan.
I'll admit to having laughed a few times during Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance , although I have no idea if the things that caused me to chortle were intended to be funny or not. It's that kind of movie. Even if the whole thing was intended as a send-up of comic books, it doesn't work. Parodies should be engaging, not sleep-inducing. This is one of those production disasters that offers little to bad movie aficionados and less to those who want to experience a coherent narrative. Limburger cheese is often referred to as stinking like dirty feet and that's a kind way to describe the stench given off by this film.
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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
- TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS Technical Specs : Blu-ray/UV Digital Copy Video Resolution/Codec : 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 Length :95 Release Country :United States Aspect Ratio(s) :2.40:1 English Descriptive Audio : English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Catalan Dolbby Digital 5.1 English Audio Descriptive Service Subtitles/Captions : English, English SDH, French, Spanish Special Features : Deleted Scenes Previews Movie Studio : Sony Release Date : June 12th, 2012
Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
I cannot understand for the life of me why the studios who own the film rights to Marvel properties are still trying to make successful comic book movies without Marvel's help. You'd think that – especially after the record-setting box office of 'The Avengers' – they'd realize that Marvel Studios (now owned by Disney's parent company Buena Vista) has figured out the formula for success and want to partner with them to fully realize these old properties. Fine examples of these collaborations are the first two ' Iron Man ' movies that teamed Marvel with Paramount and ' The Incredible Hulk ' with Universal. If Sony would do this for ' Spider-Man ,' then we might actually get to see Spidey in an 'Avengers' movie. If Fox would do it with ' X-Men ,' then we might actually get a film in their new ' First Class ' series that features SHIELD and not an unnamed government organization of the same purpose. Rumor has it that Marvel is currently working on a gritty Marvel Knights movie series – which is exactly where the Ghost Rider character belongs – so it would only benefit Sony to work together with Marvel. It makes no sense to me why these studios wouldn't collaborate to churn out quality entertainment. Of course, there's a lot more to it than just that – but if everyone could just get along, we'd stop getting Marvel fizzlers ... like 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.'
Did you know that 'Spirit of Vengeance' is a reboot? I sure didn't. In fact, I didn't even know that until I watched the special features after having watched the movie. Other than the new darker look of the character and movie (which easily could have been a decision made by the new directors), there's not a single sign that 'Spirit of Vengeance' is trying to start the one-movie-old franchise over again. Nic Cage is still playing Johnny Blaze, only this time the story is set in Eastern Europe. If you never saw the first ' Ghost Rider ,' you'll be able to follow 'Spirit of Vengeance' just fine because it opens with a voiced-over animated recap of how Blaze became the Ghost Rider.
The story of 'Spirit of Vengeance' is so clichéd that it ruins any potential the movie has. The devil and a group of Eastern Europeans are after a specific child who Blaze is determined to protect. It isn't until the third act that we're told why this kid is wanted, but think of the one reason the devil may be after a child and you'll peg the not-so-shrouded "twist" that's revealed in the final act. We've seen this idea unfold in many movies already and the route that 'Spirit of Vengeance' takes isn't in the slightest bit original.
Being a fan of movies like ' The Matrix ' and ' Wanted ,' I am all for stylized action movies. When I watched the first trailer and discovered that 'Spirit of Vengeance' was directed by the insane filmmakers of the guilty pleasure ' Crank ' movies (Neveldine/Taylor), I was excited for the potential of 'Spirit of Vengeance' – but their gritty style only gets in the way here, becoming a non-stop visual nuisance as opposed to a creative element that adds a level of freshness and cool. First off, the entire movie – action scenes or not – is shot at an insanely high frame rate, giving it an unnecessary choppy feel from beginning to end. During one of the special features, the filmmakers talk about shooting a specific scene at 800 frames-per-second. Now imagine watching that reduced down to 24 frames-per-second and tell me that wouldn't make for an annoying 95-minute moviegoing experience.
The second directorial decision that hinders the quality of 'Spirit of Vengeance' is their camerawork. Typically shot with hand-held cameras, we're constantly zooming in and out of shots and erratically moving around from actor to actor in single-shot conversations. The majority of what they do is up-close and herky-jerky . I can't imaging seasoned actors Nicholas Cage and Idris Elba watching this sort of camerawork taking place during their scenes without asking themselves, "What the hell are these guys doing?!" The styles that Neveldine/Taylor apply work well for the action scenes, but not for everything else.
The action of the movie's finale is great, but the resolution to the story is downright awful, full of holes and inexplicably bringing things together. I enjoy watching crazy Nic Cage come out – which he does here – but a movie can't entertain with that alone (unless it's ' Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans '). When 'Highlander' Christopher Lambert enters the movie, my first reaction was, "Now this guy I expect to see in movies this bad."
A great gauge of how bad 'Spirit of Vengeance' is is my own personal reaction. If the 'Crank' movies are a guilty pleasure of mine and I found 'Spirit of Vengeance' to be an exceptionally dumb and unoriginal waste of time, then it has got to be bad. Back when special effects were new, the wowing nature of strong visuals made bad movies worth watching, but now great effects are easily obtainable. Movies require more than special effects to warrant positive reviews and helpful word of mouth – and 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance' is no exception. The one and a half-star rating is only because the great-looking action sequences and Nic Cage's crazy side making an appearance. That's it.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Sony has placed 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance' on a Region A/B-locked BD-50 in a single-disc blue vortex keepcase. Printed on the back of the cover art is an image of a flaming chain that can be seen through the open case. Included is an insert with a code for an Ultraviolet copy of the movie. Upon inserting the disc, several skippable videos play – Sony and Ultraviolet vanity reels as well as trailers for '21 Jump Street,' 'Lockout' and 'Starship Troopers: Invasion.'
- TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS Technical Specs : Blu-ray/UV Digital Copy Video Resolution/Codec : 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 Length :95 Release Country :United States Aspect Ratio(s) : 2.40:1 Audio Formats : English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Catalan Dolbby Digital 5.1 English Audio Descriptive Service Subtitles/Captions : English, English SDH, French, Spanish Special Features : Deleted Scenes Previews Movie Studio : Sony Release Date : June 12th, 2012
Once again, this is one of those Blu-ray releases that gives a sub-par movie a fantastic 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer that's worthy of note. I wanted to find flaws with the video – and believe me, I was looking hard – but alas, there were only two.
Shot digitally on RED ONE MX cameras, the image is consistently sharp, crisp and clear, a great example of how fantastic digital cinema can look. The amount of visible detail is insane. When we first meet Idris Elba's character, we can see the individual strands of wool on the shoulders of his tattered coat. When Johnny Blaze transforms into Ghost Rider for the first time, we can see the black leather of his scorching jacket bubbling and boiling from the excessive heat within. I could spout off example after example solely about the amazing design details, but I must mention an odd effect that frequently arises. Without rhyme or reason, the actors faces tend to look waxy, textureless and unnaturally smooth, almost alien-like.
Taking place in grim cold regions of Eastern Europe, the color palette is muted; however, whenever The Rider makes an appearance, the screen is lit up with vibrant and explosive yellows and red. Not only does the titular character look fantastic, but the colors that result from his destruction and mayhem are brilliantly vivid.
The high frame rate is annoying, but no fault of the Blu-ray itself. As Ghost Rider zips down the highway and tiny pebbles are thrown from the speeding back tire, those same small rocks choppily fly across the screen, magically jumping a few inches at a time. No motions are fluid because of this horrible decision.
The only compression flaw to make the cut are two instances of very mild banding. Digital noise, artifacts and aliasing aren't an issue. Due to the RED cameras, edge enhancement and DNR were not applied.
Once again, the quality of the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio of 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance' exceeds that of the movie itself. Making full use of all channels.
The first thing to stand out to me in this mix was the strong bassy nature to many of the actors' voices. Nic Cage, Idris Elba and the devil himself, Ciarin Hinds, have never sounded manlier. If the bass of their voices sounds strong, imagine how great Ghost Rider's motorcycle sounds. Effects are dynamically mixed, putting to work each speaker. Smoke blowing away from Ghost Rider's flaming skull is strong during those scenes, as are effects of singed embers blowing around like a hellish snowstorm.
Despite the explosions ringing loud from all angles, 'Spirit of Vengeance' lack in the way of seamless imaging. It's almost entirely absent, although there are many instances where it could prove a strong suit.
The vocals are always crisp and clear, but tend to come solely from front and center. This, on very few occasions, makes it sounds flat and somewhat hollow.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 11 min.) - Six deleted/extended scenes are contained here, none of which do anything more than slow down the pacing via repetitive/meaningless chit-chat or barely extended pre-CG action shots. You've got to love the movie in order to enjoy this feature. Watch individually or "play all."
- Previews (HD) – Each of the trailers that plays before the main menu can be accessed here individually along with 'Men in Black 3' and 'The Amazing Spider-Man.'
From the guy who gave us 'Crank,' there's no reason why this (supposed) reboot of the 'Ghost Rider' franchise should not have been an off-the-rocker crazy guilty pleasure. Instead, it's a movie with a cliche-filled, predictable and used-up story and special effects worthy of an actually good movie. If a zany Nic Cage performance and top-notch CG could save a movie, then 'Spirit of Vengeance' might actual be worth our time – but it's not. Aside from the movie itself, every other aspect of this Blu-ray is phenomenal. The video and audio qualities are very strong and the special features are in-depth and abundant. Upon learning that there are only three main special features on the Blu-ray, you wouldn't expect much – but it's actually provides close to three and a half hours of bonus content. Hopefully this is one property that Sony will let revert to Marvel/Disney, as it could be amazing to see 'Ghost Rider' realized by the studios that have perfected the comic book movie formula. Until then, I'm not investing myself in anything else 'Ghost Rider.'
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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
2012, pg-13, 95 min. directed by mark neveldine, brian taylor. starring nicolas cage, idris elba, ciarán hinds, violante placido, johnny whitworth, fergus riordan., reviewed by marc savlov , fri., feb. 24, 2012.
The directorial duo, Neveldine and Taylor, have yet to match the sheer action-splattered lunacy of their cult-classic double header, Crank and Crank: High Voltage . That has a lot to do with the fact that they've apparently never found an actor as game and/or unhinged as Jason Statham to anchor their temperamentally twisted visions, as Statham did in the Crank films. But hold on – isn't Nicolas Cage the very definition of methodical actorly insanity? This is the man who ate a live (and large) cockroach while delivering a bravura performance as a wannabe vampire suffering a total mental meltdown in 1988's Vampire's Kiss . More recently, Cage allowed his inner drug-addled psychopath a welcome outing in Werner Herzog's 2009 mind-blower Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans . Obviously, Cage is able to access that spark of inner madness so necessary to Neveldine and Taylor's similarly warped aesthetic. Despite this, however, Cage's turns as hell's two-wheeling bounty hunter, Johnny Blaze (both here and in 2007's Ghost Rider ), have been duds. Cage appears to find his role as this second-tier Marvel Comics antihero alternately silly, tremendously fun, and the means to a decent paycheck for not all that much work.
This time out, the action is in 3-D, which amounts to a few shots of flaming motorcycle parts comin' at ya, but little else. Set in Eastern Europe (gotta love those tax incentives for Yank filmmakers), Blaze is caught up in a plot revolving around a young boy (Riordan) and his mother (Placido) who are being used as soulful kindling to jump-start the apocalypse, courtesy of the devil himself (Hinds, taking Cerebus' reins from Peter Fonda). There's a sage monk (Elba) who promises Johnny freedom from his hellfire alter ego if only he'll help save the world. There are also a whole lot of not quite goofy enough gags, such as the Ghost Rider’s flaming urine (better get that looked at, Johnny!) and time squandered with his aching to be human again. Big deal. At least you can make your head burst into a flaming skull at will. I've been trying that for years and all I get are second-degree burns and a headache.
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Marc Savlov, Sept. 11, 2009
Aug. 7, 2022
April 29, 2022
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance , Mark Neveldine , Brian Taylor , Nicolas Cage , Idris Elba , Ciarán Hinds , Violante Placido , Johnny Whitworth , Fergus Riordan
What the Devil intends for evil, God turns around for good. Biblical examples: Christ’s crucifixion, Joseph’s betrayal by his brothers, Joseph’s imprisonment by Potiphar, etc.
Satan / Devil
making deals with the Devil
Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer
DEMONIC POSSESSION and Influence—Can Christians be demon possessed? In what ways can Satan and his demons influence believers? Answer
ghosts in the Bible
Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer
Why was Hell made? Answer
Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer
Will there literally be a burning fire in Hell? Answer
What should you be willing to do to stay out of Hell? Answer
How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer
What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer
The Good News—How to be saved from Hell. Answer
“He rides again.”
also see prequel: “ Ghost Rider ” (2007) review
M any people absolutely love super hero films. That being said, I held high expectations for this reboot, “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.” The original film had great effects and an interesting storyline, staying fairly faithful to the comic book character. This reboot attempts to improve on some of the shortcomings of the first, such as the lack of action scenes, the depth of the Rider’s story, and some of the supernatural background behind it.
Built upon the Ghost Rider mythos of a motorcycle stuntman named John Blaze, “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” starts fresh with a totally new story—including origin sequence—and cast (except Nicolas Cage ). The film’s directors are Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the same men who directed “ Crank ” and “ Crank: High Voltage ”. These men bring the same over-the-top, dark edginess present in those movies to the “Ghost Rider” film. The cinematics are definitely the strongest point of the film, with amazing camera angles and visually stimulating depictions of Ghost Rider insanity. The storyline, this time around, is much weaker, consisting of the devil trying to possess his human son’s body.
Although the horrific looking hero is a relatively good guy, and the plot is redemptive (good vs. evil) and involves trying to stop the Devil from increasing his power, most of the entertainment value is still based on the subject of supposed Satanic powers, demons, ugliness and heavy violence for the sake of entertainment.
Don’t take kids to see this movie. The mixture of spirituality along with frightening imagery and brief strong language prevent this from being a children’s movie. Men are burned to ashes by Ghost Rider, smashed, cut in half with his chain, or have their souls drained. There is, refreshingly, only mild sexual content. However, there are two uses of “g_dd_mn” and one use of “f__k,” along with six or eight uses of milder vulgarities.
While “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” will certainly win no Golden Globes or feature any Oscar® nominees, competent acting by Nicolas Cage supports a storyline, that while weak, certainly works for the creative minds of the directors. The action scenes are well done, but the CGI is inconsistent, and a few of the liberties taken by the filmmakers may be a little disappointing to some fans (the Rider’s skeleton being black instead of white, no spikes on the Rider’s biker outfit, etc.). With its skewed spirituality, if one goes to watch this movie, they should not bring anyone except those who are secure in their faith and not easily scared (not younger than high school or college age). That being said, “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” is junk, but somewhat fun junk—just like that giant slice of chocolate cake I ate yesterday…
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers .
- Non-viewer comments
PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.
Variant Covers of this Issue
Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance (2024) #1
- Writer: Benjamin Percy
- Penciler: Danny Kim
- Cover Artist: Juan Ferreyra
WHO IS THE NEW SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE? Johnny Blaze was bonded with the Spirit of Vengeance. Unwilling to be a monster, Johnny used this demon from Hell to do good as the Ghost Rider. But heroism isn't what the Rider was meant for. So who will be the new Spirit of Vengeance? And what will it mean for the Marvel Universe? Find out in this extra-sized first issue by writer Benjamin Percy and hot new art sensation Danny Kim!
Extended credits and info.
- Rating: Rated T+
- Format: Comic
- Price: $4.99
- UPC: 759606207771000111
- FOC Date: Jan 29, 2024
- Inker: Danny Kim
- Colorist: Bryan Valenza
- Letterer: Vc Travis Lanham
- Editor: Darren Shan
- Penciler (cover): Juan Ferreyra
- Colorist (cover): Juan Ferreyra
- Inker (cover): Juan Ferreyra
More Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance
Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1
Percy , Kim