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What Went Wrong With Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Spirit of Vengeance has gotten some less than stellar reviews. What went wrong with this film?

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance opened up this weekend with some not so stellar reviews from, well, everyone. According to the LA Times, the Ghost Rider sequel took in $25.7 million it's opening weekend and was beat out by Safe House in its 2nd week and The Vow. The first Ghost Rider film also opened up on President's Day weekend and made $52 million it's first few days. What's so different between these two films? Why did it only make half of what the original film made? Simply put, this film is so awful that it makes the original Ghost Rider look like an Oscar contender for best picture. Why was it so bad though?

I felt like doing this after seeing the movie too.
I felt like doing this after seeing the movie too.

Before I complain about how awful this film was, I guess I should really talk about some of the cool things in this film. Yes, there actually were a few. Ghost Rider looks a bit cooler now. His skull is charred, as well as his jacket, so overall, the character looks a bit better than he did in the first film. The fight scenes were also pretty cool as well.

Connor MacLeod in the year 5430
Connor MacLeod in the year 5430

Best part for me was seeing Christopher Lambert in this film. He plays a tattooed monk of a secret order that has way too much old wine hanging around. During one scene, Lambert's character is holding a sword above a child's head, about to cut it off, and I couldn't help but whisper "there can be only one." I guess it's the little things that get me excited.

This movie also tries to take bits and pieces from Danny Way's GHOST RIDER run from a few years back where Johnny realizes that the demon within him is actually an angel who went nuts. However, the total time they spent on this is about 2 minutes, which he has to use the angel side of the rider to heal a boy.

Directing Team From Hell

Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine were the directors of this flick. You may know them as the directors of The Gamer and The Crank films. Also, they both wrote the screenplay for the Jonah Hex film. Sadly, I didn't know this going in, but realized about 5 minutes into the film that this looked way too much like Crank and that these guy love shaky, hand-held cameras. The last thing I want is a super shaky shot during an action scene. I have no clue what's going on. Seriously, it's like the camera was fed an 8-ball of cocaine before they started shooting.

There's a few key scenes that are just plain awful, but the stand out one is when Johnny and Danny ride Johnny's motorcycle together. It was a good 2 minutes of the directors trying to prove to me that what was on the screen was cool and not pointless in any way. I don't care about popping wheelies and stoppies, get back to the movie please and put the camera on a tripod.

Nicolas Cage

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I have a love/hate opinion of this guy. I love his serious work (Matchstick Men/Weather Man) and I even love his silly work (Con Air, Face Off), but when he gets behind a movie I actually care about, I worry. He tends to overdo it a bit, and by "bit" I mean a lot, and that's the case in this new Ghost Rider flick. At times, I'll admit, his acting was downright hilarious, like his work in the remake of The Wicker Man, especially during the scene where Blaze is trying to hold back the rider and yells "IT'S SCRATCHING AT THE DOOOOR!" In a way that only Nicolas Cage can scream it.

He's over-the-top and ridiculous the vast majority of the time. I don't know what happened between this film and the first Ghost Rider, but we're seeing a completely different Johnny Blaze now. One that has lost his mind and completely forgotten how to interact with people without screaming.

3D? Really?

I don't think the 3D aspect brought in anyone who wasn't going to see this in the first place. 3D literally did nothing for this film. Sure, there were a few things flying at you from the screen, but that's about it. No extra depth and no real purpose. The only people that got anything out of it was the movie theater when they charged me an extra dollar. Ghost Rider is among the 90% of 3D films that come out that are a prime example of what not to do with a 3D film.

No One Took Making This Film Seriously

It's ridiculous how much no one seemed to care about making a good film... Need some proof?

Does it count as indecent exposure if you don't have genitalia?
Does it count as indecent exposure if you don't have genitalia?

That's Ghost Rider peeing fire. That's right. The film spends a lot of time trying to convince the audience that everyone in this movie and that everything happening is cool. Ghost Rider is cool enough on his own. We don't need the motorcycle wheelie ride, the peeing of fire, and well, everything else. This movie seems like a paycheck to everyone involved and nothing else. There's so much potential in this series, and I feel like it was all thrown away for a few dumb jokes, a potentially good storyline that was ruined by everything else in the film, and tons of CGI.

This film is one of the worst of all the comic book films in the 21st century. There was potential for greatness in it, especially since the first film was a decent start to the series. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a film that simply doesn't care what you think of it because it's the "cool" kid at the back of the party trying to play acoustic guitar over the stereo and everyone's conversations. At first glance, you might be into it, but if you actually pay attention, you'll realize everything about him is oh so wrong... and the only song he knows how to play is the opening verse to "Santeria" by Sublime... and he's Nicolas Cage.

How do you fix what's already unfixable? Well, reboots seem to be the way to go. It worked for Batman, and although this character isn't as profitable, it could work for Ghost Rider. Just take the film and the character seriously. Is it that hard? There's tons of great Ghost Rider stories to work with, especially the Danial Way run. Start there. Stop being goofy.

Did you guys see this film? What did you like or dislike about it?