Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Nic Cage is playing a guy with a fiery Skull, and  it STILL isn't his oddest role.

Nic Cage is playing a guy with a fiery Skull, and it STILL isn’t his oddest role.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is Property of Columbia Pictures

Hello, Spongey here.

So, The Nostalgia Critic is doing a Nicloas Cage month, which is about to end. When it comes to Cage, I haven’t seen much of his live action roles. I’ve only seen him in The Croods and Astroboy. He was okay in those.

However, I am aware of how much the internet loves him. He’s so awkward and no one knows If he’s a good or bad actors, even though he’s an Oscar nominated actor. He’s crazy, over the top, insane, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

So in honor or this month, I wanted to do a Nic Cage movie. I picked this one. But first, let’s go over 2007’s Ghost Rider. It was based on the Marvel Comic started in 1972. It was about a dude who sells his soul to Satan to save a loved one and he becomes a motorcycles riding dude that is on fire.

Also known as the most bad ass idea for a comic ever.

Due to it’s popularity, it got a film version with Nic Cage in the title role. Cage was a big fan of the comics, to the point where he contacted the director to score the role when he heard some other guy was in talks. This should be a good thing, but the film got bad reviews from Critic and fans alike. Of course, some find it to be dumb fun but most disliked it.

However, it made a lot of money so naturally they made a sequel…5 years later. The original director and writer were scrapped in favor of the masters behind Crank in the director’s chair, and the scribe behind Blade Trinity on the script.

It was hated even more. Again, some still liked it but even fans of the fire didn’t like It as much. Before I move on, you may be thinking, why the hell I am reviewing the sequel and not the first one.

For one, I haven’t seen it. This should be a bad idea, but according the interviews, this was made for those haven’t seen the first film, even though it is not a reboot. I know I should be reviewing the first, but here’s the thing: This one is shorter and both Film Brain and the Blockbuster Buster covered it pretty well.

So go watch those videos if you want a review. I know it’s dumb to cover the sequel without even watching the first but…Suck it.

So is this Cage fast a blast of fun, or will it make you want to set your head on fire? Let’s find out.

This, is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

The movie opens with Idris Elba here on a motorcycle, arriving at a Monastery. He talks to some Monks about protecting some boy, but they are interrupted by some attacking dudes. Idris finds Danny, the boy, with his Mom and wants to protect him but Mom just shoots at him, like a badass.

Maybe it was bad idea to just jump out and ask for the boy instead of explaining yourself. Anyway, the badass Mom flees with her son, and Idris hops on his bike to partake in a badly edited action scene but whoops, he gets shot off and fails. Wah wah.

With that, we cut to our opening credits, along with narration by the Ghost Rider himself, Johnny Blaze, played by Nic Cage. He explains to us that he was a stunt driver until his Dad got sick. So..

“Yeah, I’m the guy who made the devil with the devil”

You aren’t the worst Marvel character to do so. ..Sorry, I had to. Hell, the “devil” in the comic is MEPHISTO HIMSELF!

“I know what you’re thinking. Does this kid ever watch movies? Does this ever work out for them?”

Whoa, Nic Cage can read my mind!

“Let’s just say good judgment was not exactly my forte”

We know, Cage.

He tells he is know the Ghost Rider: a vengeful fiery spirit who feeds on the evil of his victims. For the past 8 years since the last movie, he’s been on the run. But unfortunately for him, Idris finds him with ease.

Oh, and since I have to make at least one obvious Cage joke: I bet when people see his skull they ask:

“HOW’D IT GET BURNED?!”

There, happy?

After some angry talk, Idris tells him he wants Cage to find the child for him. First off, what is so damn special about this? 2nd of all-

“What makes you think I can find him?”

Oh, thanks Cage.

Idris tells us that the devil is looking for Danny for some reason, and thus only Cage can stop him. Also, if Cage finds the boy, Idris will remove his Ghost Rider curse. Okay, we have a decent enough premise, focusing on how the sprit is fucking Johnny up and how he wants out.

This could be a cool action packed little character film that is-it’s gonna suck, isn’t it?

So we cut to Nadya, the mom and Danny driving. But the bad guys show up for a car chase that gives me Getaway flashbacks. Except I can actually follow the damn thing. Actually, the action scenes so far are really frantic and use way too much shaky cam. But unlike that aforementioned film, some of it is cool and at times the editing makes it more fun. But seriously, there’s a reason Hunger Games 2 stopped the shaky cam from the first film.

Anyway, the bad guys eventually stop her car and capture her and the boy. I have to give the writer credit here, as when Nadya is captured, she actually still tries to fight back as best as she can, and they have trouble keeping her still. See, she isn’t just your typical damsel in distress, and she proves to competent and badass.

Sure, the bad ass still contain her but it’s not due to lack of trying on her part. This, I have to commend the writers for. …5 Bucks say they fuck it up later.

ghost rider 1

Before she can be shot, Cage Rider comes in to save the day. I have to say, the Ghost Rider himself looks awesome and the CGI, while not the best, is still impressive. This short action bit with him is cool too!

Though I have to take points off cuz Danny looks so bored as this ios going on. Kid, a flaming Nic Cage has some to save you. Show a little emotion!

Sadly, the bad guys capture Danny and Cage fails. Okay, if a badass flame dude can’t stop a few thugs, I have no nope for humanity.

Cage wakes up in the hospital, and a nurse walks in.

“When you walked in, I thought I was still dreaming”

“Are you hallucinating?

“No, no, I’m flirting with you”

…Wow, that was…laughably bad. The way Cage says this (all shaky, and unsure-like) makes this…hilarious. That’s Nic cage for you I guess.

After that, Cage just gets up and leaves. No one tries to stop him and no one seems to nice. Huh?

We cut to Carrigan ,the bad guy, on the phone with his boss, Roarke, telling him what happened. Roarke tells Carrigan to put Danny on the phone. He says some weird chant to Danny. Danny cries and Roarke tells us that he uses some magic stuff to prevent Cage from tracking him.

I kind of like this villain, sort of. He has a cool voice and he is somewhat menacing especially with what he just did. Not the best but we’ll see what happaned

Back with Cage, Nadya goes badass on him (guess she stuck around for some reason), asking him who sent him and all that. Cage responds by just telling her that, while he can’t be trusted, he kind of has to find Danny or he’s dead.

Nadya accepts this and tells Cage to hop in her truck. I guess that is all she needs, though to be fair, I’d trust Nic Cage if he could turn into a skull fire dude.

They talk, and we find out Carrigan is Nadya’s ex. Oh, the “bad guy is love interest ex” cliché. Lovely.

“He offered you something”

‘Yeah, my father’s life. Shocker, he lied”

Haw, that was funny.

She goes on to explains that years ago, she was about to die but she made a deal with Roarke: her life in return for him impregnating her with Danny.

“Oh I get. You’re the Devi’s baby mama”

Man, Cage is stealing this movie. (Shocker, I know)

So yeah, the Devil saw a dying chick and went, “Oh yeah, I wanna have a baby with her so I can use it to get unlimited power”. Like you do.

Back with Carrigan, Danny messes with the bad guys and this causes the car to crash but Danny survives due to having a seat belt on. As odd as that is, Danny did that on purpose, which is kind of badass for a kid.

Though if I was the devil, I’d hire someone who won’t get beat by a kid. Anyway, Danny escapes but they end re-capturing him. Well, that was pointless.

Back with Cage..

“The rider is about come out. When he does, he’ll destroy whoever has it coming”

It’s only funny if you see how Cage says it. I love this guy.

“I’m not afraid of you”

“You should be”

Don’t make me put on my bear suit!

The two then start to sneak into some place with a guy that knows Carrigan.

“Am I gonna regret taking you?”

“Yeah, probably”

Again, it’s how Cage says this that makes it amazing.

Cage finds Carrigan and intimidates him with his overacting. Seriously, how can you hate a movie with Cage at his best?

Long story short, Carrigan tells them Roarke is making an army then Cage turns into the rider. Nadya finds Danny tied up to a pole, and she tries to free him, but a goon takes her down. The bad guys could barely control her earlier, and now one guy gives her trouble? Bullshit!

….Then she shoots him down. Okay, that’s better but this goon should have seen it coming when he knocked down a girl holding a gun.

Back outside with Carrigan and some other guys, they try to take down the rider and fails as he busts them up. Despite some of the shakycam, this action scene is actually pretty good!
We get some awesome carnage as the Rider takes down some bad guys and the rider himself has some awesome moves.

Like in one part, a dude just shoots him in the mouth like 1000 times and the rider spits fire back at him! That, is awesome.

But for some reason, he goes over to Nadya and tries some hypno stare on her. Danny shows up and is able to turn Rider back into Cage by saying “Let her”. I’d question this by they’ve hinted that Danny has powers, so I can let this slide as long as they explain it well.

“…That happened”

Then we cut to the next morning with them a diner. Wait, did they ever stop the bad guys? They just kind of left? Did they give up? Explain!

Speaking of not explaining, the whole “Danny has powers” thing? It’s not brought up, and no one questions. They just discuss their next move. Okay, they better explain it later.

We cut to the bad guy HQ, which was blown up.. Okay, I guess I missed that part, whoops. I wasn’t paying 100 percent attention, and oh shit Carrigan is dying. At least Roarke shows up and turns into Carrigan into a demon that can decey anything, and no one.

Now that is cool. But when we see Carrigan take down some worker, everything goes Black for a minute, but only them as it’s normal when we cut to Roarke’s reaction. Did this turn into a video game fatality, or what?

“I want that boy, Carrigan”

I WANT THAT BEAR-i mean BOY!

Speaking of Danny, we cut to him talking to Cage…and he asks what happens if the Rider has to pee. Then we get a Family Guy cutaway that has the Rider pissing fire, all with that video game screen I just mentioned.

…Okay.

They get into a discussion about what it is like being the Rider. Before we can get actual development, Idris (character is named Moreau) shows up again on his motorcycle. So thus, Cage and Danny hop on his own bike so they ride with Moreau behind Nadya’s car.

After that, they arrive at Moreau’s Monastery. Cage and Moreau go off on their home to discuss this whole Ghost Rider thing. French-y here jumps into a speech about the “Spirit of Justice” who was taken to hell and driven insane by stock footage.

“He became the…Spirit of Vengeance”

TITLE DROP…kind of

Anyway, it turns out the Rider is the twisted incarnation of this spirit. That…doesn’t explain a lot, really. Nothing that really makes me go “oh that explains everything about this character”. Either way, Cage still wants out of this curse.

Moreau says that first, Cage must confess something that is hard for him to talk about. Cage says some crap about his dad, who died or something, and Cage was selfish or whatever. I’m sure this is connected to the first one, but like the writer said, this was made under the assumption the viewer has not seen it.

So if it is explained there, it’s only their fault. If not, this is bad writing as Dad was not mentioned before this part. Anyway, since Cage has confessed, he is exorcised of the spirit in….a very hammy, and weird way. You have to see the movie to get what I mean, as it is hard to describe.

Either way, Cage is human again. Well, as human as Cage can be. Cage turns outside only to find that the head monk, played by Christopher Lambert, has captured Danny and he says the boy must die cuz of his power, or whatever.

Why are they really doing this despite being Monks? Why did they lie to Moreau and Cage instead of just…doing it? I have no clue.

Before he can kill Danny, Carrigan shows up and kills the monks, so he can take Danny for himself. Why even bother with the evil monks if the bad guy is gonna come in anyway?

Carrigan takes Danny and our heroes are up shit creek again. Moreau tells them about Roarke’s plan to transfers Danny’s power into him so he can have unlimited power while on earth. So in the end, Danny was more of a plot device than a character. Yay?

“Why the hell didn’t you tell us this, Moreau?”

That’s a good question!

He doesn’ t answer it and they move on. Of course

So now the heroes must go rescue Danny. So thus, they gear up.

“I thought you were supposed to have Faith”

“I also think we should have weapons”

Heh.

So Carrigan brings Danny to Roarke, and they talk.

“Do you want to know why I look this way?”

JOKER: My father…was a drinker.

Wait, wrong movie.

“Think of…a flamethrower”

And Danny thinks of Cage pissing Fire. Did we really need to see that again?

After a speech, Roarke brings Danny to a stadium of his followers for the ritual. By the way, his followers include politicians, hardy har har.

So the gang storms Bad Guy HQ, with Moreau shooting down goons while making one liners and drinking wine. This guy, like Cage, is a delight, though he’s more a legitimately decent presence than cage.

Cage and Moreau enter the stadium before the ritual can really get started, and they kick bad guy ass. However, Carrigan uses his powers to kill Moreau. I’d usually go NOOO and draw grave stone in paint, but I don’t care about this film strongly enough to do it. Sorry.

Also, when he kills French-y, they use that dumb video game black screen again. It’s not cool guys, stop it.

Carrigan tries to do the same to Cage, as they make Danny watch. But Danny uses his powers (which are the same as Roarke’s) to…give Cage his rider powers back. Um….okay, I’ll buy it at this point.

But why didn’t the bad guys see this coming? I know they are doing this ritual thing, but did they expect him to just change sides like that? These villains are idiots!

Anyway, Cage turns into the Rider but Roarke takes Danny and drives off, with the Rider and Nadya in hot pursuit. Carrigan and Cage fight on the back of Nadya’s truck, and it’s pretty awesome. This whole action scene is actually fairly solid.

It’s what you want out of a action scene featuring a guy with a fire skull thing. Anyway, The Rider eventually kills Carrigan for good and throws his body onto the road.

“Roadkill”

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Long story short, Cage gets to Roarke for his final move. With one swift move, he kicks Roarke’s ass and sends him straight back to hell. It sounds Anti-climatic, and in a way it is….but the way it’s shown is so cool, I don’t mind.

However, Danny was killed while this was going on. Wow, they killed off the kid. That’s….pretty ballsy, I’ll give them that. And they don’t cop out at all. He doesn’t come back to life or anythi-

Cage channels the blue flame of that crazy angel Idris mentioned earlier, and revives Danny.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Man, I give you credit for once and you ruin it! It’s not as bad as when DragonBall Evolution did it, but still: Boooo!

“Hell yes”

Johnny then….rides off into the night as the rider.

“My name is Johnny Blaze. I’m the ghost rider”

Roll credits.

Wait, what? That’s it?! That’s the end? No wrap up, no moral, no final development? They kill the bad guy, have a cop out and…that’s it? What a load!

Eh, at least this review is finally over. Seriously, my computer was so close when this movie was running and only no does it speed up for me to finish it. So yeah, sorry this will end up going up later than usual.

Final Thoughts:

It’s clear this isn’t as good as that other 2012 Marvel movie, but…I…kind of…enjoyed it. Okay, before you go to the comments, let me clarifying something: This movie is pretty ….meh.

The script is very standard. Bad guy vs Good guy, who is protecting some other plot device good guy. There’s nothing all that special or new and it’s your basic action/superhero movie. There are hints of complexities but it doesn’t add up to anything.

So why did I enjoy it? It’s kind of a Guilty Pleasure thing. The aspect that helps me enjoy this film is the acting. Everyone does a solid job. Nadya is solidly badass, even if her character is kind of dull. Idris Elba is very good as Moreau, providing passable comic relief. Also, for a British Actor, he does a good French accent.

The villains, while one dimensional, are decently intimidating, especially Roarke. Then we get Nic Cage. There’s a reason the internet loves him. He overacts his heart out and is just a fun presence. Though, he is uneven. Sometimes he’s just….there, while only at times is he amazingly over the top.

But when he does get dull, the others pick up the slack. Hell, even the kid actor isn’t half bad as Danny, even if his character is, again, dull. The characters themselves are not very interesting, but the actors help make them okay.

The CG is uneven (sometimes it’s pretty good, and at other times it looks like a PS2 Game) but the action scenes are pretty good. The first couple weren’t that great due to crappy shay and bad editing, but around that quarry scene, they get very energetic and fun.

Really, you can’t go wrong with a dude with his Skull on fire. Though like I said, the film is standard. Yeah, it is enjoyable but not to a huge degree. There are “impressive” parts but most of it is just….okay, on the entertainment scale.

It’s fun, but on a basic level. If it weren’t for Cage’s involvement, I wouldn’t have remembered it too much. But that doesn’t stop me from….regrettably, enjoying it. On a critical level it’s meh. Nothing awful by any means (despite what people say) but standard.

However, in the end, this is a serious Guilty Pleasure. I haven’t seen the first one, like I said, but if it’s like this one, I may check it out. As for this one, it’s a good time….if you’re drunk.

Grade: C

But that’s not the end of Cage for us. Next time, we look at one more Cage film, though he isn’t in this one as much.

See ya.

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About Spongey444

I'm 20 and I'm a slightly below average man who can barely spell. I mostly spend my time watching TV and movies, hence why i ended doing a blog all about those things. I tend to have weird tastes, but I like think I'm just fair on things.
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