JT Film Review

Ghost Rider (2007)

Ghost Rider Review
Review #156

2/5 stars

Director – Mark Steven Johnson

Cast – Nicholas Cage, Eva Mendes, Wes Bentley, Sam Elliott, Donal Logue, Peter Fonda

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– followed by Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

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Who’d have thought that Nicholas Cages’ most subdued performance in years is as the guy with the flaming skull head…

Ghost Rider is, of course, based on the Marvel comic book of the same name. This particular super hero (who is not as firmly imbedded in the public consciousness as Superman or Batman) is the alter ego of motorcycle stunt driver Johnny Blaze. When angry, or in the presence of evil, he transforms into a skeleton with a flaming motor bike, black leather outfit (with spikes), and of course the aforementioned flaming-skull head. He whips a chain around, can light random things on fire, and is general a goth’s wet dream.

Is he the bad guy? Well, not really, though the movie certainly want us to think he is bad-ass. I mean, he wears leather after all. In practice he is nothing more than a reckless Spider-Man. But he has no unique world view, no over-riding idea to set him apart from any other superheroes. The best we are given is int he movies final lines, where he says he will keep his powers to be a “spirit of vengeance”, wandering around being good. Ghost Rider is so generic and dull in his powers (or at least as he is presented here) that he needs the hellfire and damnation angle just to make him interesting. The same is true of the movie itself. There is a neat little edge to the movie (it is essentially a gothic western, if that is even a term), but without that it is just another origin story of another frikin’ superhero. It has the same plot beats, the same ideas, and we get the same result.

Even Peter Fonda (as the devil) and Wes Bentley (the devil’s son) phone it in. Peter Fonda in particular looks plain bored, and I don’t blame him. He strides into a scene, looks vaguely ominous and then strides out. And it’s always “…blabla the Devil Himself.” Have you noticed that?

OVERALL

Ghost Rider tries for something new in its tone, but forgets to have an interesting story. Combine that with a hammy yet bored-looking cast, and we get a strange mix of dull and bizarre. Not really recommended.

NOTE: This review is part of a series called Superheroes: Bottom to Top, wherein I review every super-hero movie I own, from the lowest rated to the highest (according to Rotten Tomatoes). Next up is Fantastic Four.

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TRAILER

“Ghost Rider” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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June 2, 2012 - Posted by | 2 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Superhero, Superheroes: Bottom to Top, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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