Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review: Ghost Rider – Spirit of Vengeance (2012)

“I'm gonna say yes! Hell yes!”

Director: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ciarán Hinds and Idris Elba
Writers: Scott M. Gimple, Seth Hoffman and David S. Goyer

Nicolas Cage once again tackles the character of Johnny Blaze in a movie that’s more of a reset than a sequel. With the original movie I was a fan of some of the character and setting design, but overall the movie seemed to miss the mark. What makes this especially curious is the fact that Cage is a huge fan of the material. His acting choices seemed to fly in the face of what the comics were. Thanks to this movie there’s a second chance to right the wrongs, but in the hands of Neveldine and Taylor the brains behind Crank, does this actually occur?

Short answer is this movie is better than the first movie, if anything it at least manages to get somewhat the right tone for a Ghost Rider movie. Unfortunately the movie is still full of problems, and actually lacks energy as it progresses, and considering this is from Neveldine and Taylor it makes me wonder what happened. I don’t think any of their previous movies could be accused of lacking energy. Whether it was lack of funds, or maybe interference from other sources, or a lack of an overall idea, most of the scenes never really stood out. If you’ve seen the trailer then you’ve pretty much seen most of the good parts.

Visually the movie doesn’t scream of the directing pair ether, and there usual guerrilla filming style actually hurts some of the movie scenes. It’s weird but I would of thought that this pair would be perfect for a Ghost Rider movie but overall they are no creative enough and the movie suffers for this, and when they do try it’s almost a half hearted attempt and it just looks off. Never one to have a problem with their kinetic style in Crank, Gamer and Crank 2, my eyes did have some trouble adjusting to several scenes.

At least we have crazy Nicholas Cage to fall back on right? Well while he’s certainly crazy in the movie, his new take on Johnny Cage doesn’t work as well, thanks mostly to not enough time given to really explore what’s going through the characters mind. Also the change in character from being quirky but clean cut to man on the edge is a little jarring. I still enjoyed his performance but the lack of focus on what they wanted to convey with the character may disinterest the audience. While Cage failed however, Idris Elba steals the show as Moreau, the alcoholic French monk hell bent on saving the world. He injects some creative spark into the movie, and I loved every minute of it, shame he disappears for most of the middle of the movie. Johnny Whitworth is also great as the henchman of the Devil. It takes a while for his character to get interesting, but once he becomes the embodiment of rot, you can tell Whitworth is having fun. Yet again it’s a case of great idea, but not enough of it in the movie.

If you need to see every comic book movie under the sun, then at least be thankful this isn’t the worst one you could watch. There are some genuinely good ideas in this movie, but there seems to be a lack of energy throughout the running time. Cage is insane as always in this movie, and if you need to see every freak out he puts to celluloid then you do need to see this movie. In the end it’s tough to recommend this movie as it just doesn’t feel likes it’s trying very hard, and in that case I don’t really want to get people to see it.

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