The film was forgivable but let the Director experience and suffer the “Penance Stare”!
Marvel Comics was getting tired of swashbuckling superheroes so they gave way to a more “off the rails” type of character. Roy Thomas along with Gary Friedrich and Artist Mike Ploog created the Spirit of Vengeance in Marvel Spotlight No. 5 on August 1972.
I have been a fan of comic book films, especially with those grittier, dark characters and this anti-hero is definitely one of them! Coming from the publisher’s imprint Marvel Knights the story is all about a deal made by a young man to save his father from dying due to cancer, thus a contract was signed by blood in exchange for his soul but the thing is, he got more what he bargained for! A choice should be made and time is running out… Tick tock tick tock!!!
I’ve watched the film thrice already since way back in my country and it never gave me that sense of enthusiasm until now! I was able to watch its extended cut and delved more into the story on how on earth Johnny Blaze brought to life by Nicolas Cage (Con Air) became Ghost Rider. This is an amazing character with a decent following of fans and yet somehow the film has given not much justice to the comic book. Adding Eva Mendes (The Spirit) in the role of Roxanne Simpson the love interest of the “flaming skull” in the picture was even not enough for the audiences to properly receive the premise of the film!
To think that maybe Marvel has not given much credit for the director to step up the plate in order to script write and direct the film, the budget definitely goes beyond the grave with props that can be compared with a high school stage presentation, special thanks to Richard Hobbs (Dark City) and Kirk Petrucelli (Blade), the sets were really pathetic seriously, even coming from already known Production and Art Direction. Don’t forget putting in the poorly written and pathetic which were done by the self-proclaimed “Master of Comic Books” himself, Director Steven. While Cinematography was given “life” by Russell Boyd (American Outlaws) not much to say except his works speak for themselves, all ordinary to the eyes with Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World as the only exception!
While the CGI for Ghost Rider’s skull motorcycle, burnt roads from his trail blazing was authentic enough feel the character’s movements and expressions! The verbal quips, cheesy one liners, poor dialogue from every cast, fight scenes that our laughable, even Blackheart portrayed by Wes Bentley (American Beauty) the son of the Devil changing into his demon form to name a few! This guy can do so much more acting wise; he was just given a really horrible script to recite in front of the audience! Don’t forget the constant finger pointing of the man himself (maybe it was part of the Guilty or Innocent platform) the one whom he gives his woes, the giver of burden, the most evil, the malevolent Mephisto from the acting legend Peter Fonda (South of Heaven, West of Hell). On a positive note, I’m psyched up every time he screams with rage when someone pisses him off or even just if he wanted to ride his bike! What a riot!
But the essence is there and it was how Johnny wants to be redeemed and have another chance for salvation as well. With the help of another Ghost Rider, returning to Marvel Films is Sam Eliott (Hulk) only known as the Caretaker who has done the same mistake in the past; he gives more conclusive interaction between the two characters and the main plot of the story.
Director Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil) has made movies that really not blended well with the audience especially that were comic based. It might be more emphasized on how the characters are represented in the big screen and give that rapport on not just the viewers but the Producers as well making them understand that the film has proper direction and financing. To make it easier for you, don’t give a green light to a rubbish project!
Everybody deserves a second chance (but I’m not expecting you to touch on a comic book film again, maybe in other genres!) He will ride again with another Director (there’s two…and they look really angry!) and I hope that this time it will be worth watching, or we’ll be the one’s unleashing hell!
The Spirit of Vengeance left trails on fire in winter 2012 and it didn’t stand a chance, hopefully the turning over of the character back to Marvel can bring the skull fire back from it’s dying ember!