Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance REVIEW

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This isn’t going to be a particularly long review.  Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance isn’t the best or most exciting of movies out there.  It has a lot of interesting characters, and the story is engaging, but there’s also a lot that just doesn’t work.

After the events of the first movie, it appears that Johnny Blaze has not been as successful as he had hoped in controlling the Rider.  No explanation is given for this; near the end he says that his deal was “selfish,” rather than motivated by “love” (the reason Carter Slade believed that he could control the Rider), but that completely undermines the first movie.  By the end of the movie, however, Johnny has accepted his fate as the Ghost Rider, having learned that the Rider was originally an angel charged with protecting the innocent which was corrupted by Satan into an avenging spirit.

Nicholas Cage is again completely over-the-top in his portrayal of Johnny Blaze, which doesn’t work quite as “well” in this movie as it did in the first one.  The tone for this one tries to be serious, but then Cage starts making faces and acting like a lunatic, and the mood is ruined.

I liked the side characters pretty well.  Nadya and Danny (the “devil’s baby mama” and son) are okay as characters.  Nadya’s primary arc is that she wants to protect Danny; Danny’s primary arc is that he’s the kid everyone’s trying to capture or save.  He doesn’t receive a lot of character development, and that’s a shame since his struggle against his “nature” (as the devil’s child) is at the center of everything.

I think Moreau might be my favorite character, though when I saw him my first thought was “What’s Heimdall doing in a Ghost Rider movie?”  He is the most dynamic, but also the most “good” character in the movie, fighting to save Nadya and Danny even when they won’t let him, using his possible last breath to save them on the mountain road.  Unfortunately, they never give any explanation for why he needs to be an alcoholic or what a priest is doing carrying around guns (or why there’s an entire Order devoted to the art of warfare).  To be honest, that story—Moreau’s and his Order’s—sounds like it could be more interesting than the actual story of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance!

Carrigan, the main henchman, is completely and utterly disposable.  He’s only there to be the guy they’re trying to escape from, but he thinks he’s supposed to be the main villain.  Admittedly, Roarke (the devil) isn’t a particularly compelling villain—what’s scary about an old white guy in a suit with a smart phone???  But Carrigan as the “decay guy” isn’t much of a threat.  Now that I’m saying this out loud, the comparison to Iron Man 2 writes itself:  Carrigan is a less-interesting version of Ivan Vanko, and Roarke as the most boring movie-devil ever has about as much involvement as Justin Hammer.

The action in this movie is pretty exciting, at least, and there are some good effects—particularly the “Ghost Excavator.”  A lot of places the CGI isn’t that great, such as when Cage is mugging on the motorcycle, but there are still some places where it’s good.

There’s not much else to say about this movie.  I’m not sure if I will continue with the Punisher movies next week or not, but there is new Marvel content coming this week since The Defenders will be out in 2 days.  Check back tomorrow for my Expectations, and then over the weekend for my initial review.

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