Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)

After the former Director suffered the “penance stare”, I believe a specific number of people will need to be “exorcised” literally…let’s hope Marvel lifts the curse once and for all!

Ghost Rider - Spirit of Vengeance

Hyde Park Entertainment, Imagenation Abu Dhabi, Crystal Sky Pictures and Marvel Studios present…

There are reasons why people run away, some to forget the past, from the sins they committed, others to have a better life! But for Johnny, he left his town, his life and his only love in order to save himself from damnation…which he carries up to now!

From the Directors of “Crank” and “Gamer” comes a film like no other (at least in their own minds)! Neveldine/Taylor are both American Film Makers known for their camera’s on roller blades, capturing shots at high speeds and in low angles, maybe they have this patented already! Still nobody will care!

It actually gives credence to the premise of the story where a certain outsider needs to contemplate in his journey and to figure a way to release this abomination inside his body! Given a new beginning, the two gave their obvious enthusiasm to helm the film from Marvel Comics! They were able to set the tone of the title character and the comic book angst in terms of what Johnny has become! I think both Directors went over the hill to bring what they could in their “own” way and likeness even filling the gaps with montage of character backgrounds with the use of “animation” and “dazzling” (yeah, right!) us with scenes of their “repertoire” in Directing as implied earlier!

The Story and Screenplay was helmed by David Samuel Goyer (Batman begins) who helped produced the first film in 2007. Now, to assist him with the writing duties, Seth Hoffman (FlashForward) and Scott Gimple (Walking Dead) who is now involved as a Producer and Writer for the aforementioned TV series! I really don’t know what’s eating David, he needs something motivational in order to come up with a great story, the hits and misses with his contribution in films has been his threshold to bigger and better projects! His narratives in the Blade series were good not great, mediocre or famished horror flicks but made a cult following in his 1998 sci-fi film Dark City and the current take for the “greatest superhero of all time”, definitely its Nolan’s Batman trilogy! His work here was unbearable, lines being said and exchanged even for the minor characters were so pedestrian it’s supposed to be meant for B movies (I’m trying my best to imply something here).

The intention of making it as action oriented as possible worked even more giving it a realistic and a darker look which conveys heavily on the banner of the publisher suited for mature audiences. Though unfortunately, the “bad ass” gimmickry combined with sloppy camera work, abysmal plot and underdeveloped characters were sufficient enough to say the least and express once more our utmost gratitude in ruining another potential for a tent pole in Marvel’s camp!

An antihero by nature, he dwells from the power of evil and uses it for the cause of good! How ironic that these characters have to suffer so much, to live a life full of misery and pain! Returning from the 2007 film, Nicolas Cage (Drive Angry) is Johnny Blaze; from the United States he has now relocated in Eastern Europe trying to find a way to exorcise his demons! His narrative contemplates on having this power granted, gifted by the Devil himself. It made Johnny realize that there is something more to this damned entity inside of him and its origins…

Able to take souls for the sins they commit, it’s much easier for the Rider to hunt you down whether you are a wicked psychopath or simply having bad thoughts…he will definitely find you and pray that he doesn’t! His life was never a happy memory, in order to save his dying father; he bargained for his life and sold his own soul to Mephistopheles! Now, a demon named Zarathos controls and turns him into a “non-environmental friendly”, smoke belching supernatural hero! A servant from hell who collects the souls of those who needs to be eternally punished!

Well, until Moreau finds him! He is played by rising star Idris Elba (The Losers) who now needs his assistance in rescuing Danny played by newcomer Fergus Riordan (I Want to Be a Soldier), a young boy betrothed by an evil force that needs to be contained for the good of mankind! Idris has always been commendable in his works even in the small screen, his French accent can still use some tweaking but nevertheless he’s still giving fans a little more to look forward too! With veteran actor Christopher Lambert (Highlander) he portrays Methodius, returning after an over extended vacation! He lends again his sword wielding expertise while trying to do another “quickening” very original guys! While Johnny Whitworth (Shadow Hours) provides more muscle for the underworld, he plays Ray Carrigan who became Blackout after his unfortunate demise! Definitely a worthy adversary than the “three stooges” last time!

It was disappointing (again) on how they were able to tackle the “biker in flames” and leave it still in a mess, especially with Ciaran Hinds (The Debt) in a pivotal role as the Devil himself who brought a demon child to the world named Danny acted by Fergus Riordan (Fragile) through a promiscuous mother Nadya portrayed by Violante Placido (The Lookout)! He looks like he needs an eye operation or something! The good thing was the veteran actor has talent but even good ones when mixed in a basket of rotten tomatoes becomes one as well. It was just upsetting that the talent of his caliber takes these kinds of projects! When I first watched the official trailer that was introduced by Mark and Brian themselves, I laughed so hard at their opening speech seeing these Directors so “over confidently” informs the viewing public on how “great” their accomplishment is (these guys are “really” funny)!

On the other hand, if we want to forget about the scrappy dialogue and focus intently in the entertainment, action and lunacy that Nic provides, it would be well be bargained for! Though not meant to be a crazed freak when he tried to be “hyperventilated” to give some levity to the character, Johnny in the comic books were forlorn, a drunkard and a wrecked man coming from so much violence and “soul eating” in his life. But in the film, he had a ball, thrashing everyone in sight who get’s in the way just like a kid having new toys and minions to play with!

Iloura, an Australian Company who won the bragging rights for the film states in their website their work for VFX is “high end” and had so many testimonials about their previous works have been their groundwork, the foundation for producing films with the best results! From painting, compositing, FX animations even covering previs which is being used by the most talented Directors! It was unfortunately wasted by the people who push the projects without clearly thinking if it will garner a successful output in the box-office till! Not only that, Eric Durst (City of Ember) who supervised the Department even made headway for the current technology to match the needs of Ghost Rider’s flames especially with his skull which was nicely done however, the puppetry used did not compliment much as it lacks the surrealism intended to make it work!

Well at least Marvel and CEO Avi Arad who is also the Producer of the film can say that we don’t need to worry, we still have “The Avengers” watching our backs! Please don’t waste time with these people who don’t know how to tell a story leaving the company losing more money and worse, without earning enough profit to make a sequel (unfortunately you call this a sequel)! Columbia Pictures who takes care of the distribution rights was even the one who gave the go signal to push through with this film. Find a clear pathway for these superheroes, a storyline that fans appreciated, a relatable plot and composite assets not compromising SFX and CGI which added insult to injury, this was even shown in 3D as it only adheres to what the Directors wants to see which is utterly demented and worthless!

What did I say from my last review? Hell will be unleashed if this film falls big time! But there is an old saying “to forgive is divine” these guys are still lucky the “Angel of Justice” overcomes the “Demon of Vengeance”!


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