Way back in 2007, I watched a movie called Ghost Rider. And way back in 2007, I wrote a movie review that said it is "one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time." And way back in 2007, I lamented, "Are we going to suffer a sequel?" After earning $237 million worldwide, Marvel said "yes", which means that Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance exists. In the movie, people pay for their sins, and the audience pays as well. We're the reason a sequel exists. We deserve to watch this wretched movie a thousand times over.
After the critically reviled Ghost Rider left a bad taste in everyone's mouths, Sony and Marvel decided that they were going to wipe the slate clean. New directors. New screenwriters. Same Nicolas Cage.
Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor were brought on to save this lost soul, even though these men have never contributed anything of value to society. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance uses the same formula they used with Crank, Crank 2 and Gamer - frenetic direction and incoherent storytelling - only Ghost Rider lacks the take-no-prisoners craziness of their earlier films. So, not only is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance a bad movie, but it's also a boring one.
The movie is darker and grittier than its predecessor, but Neveldine and Taylor don't make much of it, utilizing a forgettable story about a kid who may or may not be the antichrist, Johnny Blaze (portrayed by an as-bad-as-ever Nicolas Cage) struggling to keep his inner demon contained and other random elements that do little to suggest that these so-called directors have learned from their earlier mistakes. Random shots of the Ghost Rider pissing flames and doing fire dances don't help.
Ultimately, no director could save Ghost Rider from his fate. He's a terrible character to begin with, and definitely one that is ill-suited for the big screen. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a marginal step up from its predecessor, but that's not saying a whole lot. It's a franchise that was fashioned in the pits of hell, and that's where it deserves to remain.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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