The original Ghost Rider released in 2007 didnít exactly leave the movie-going populace with a desire to see Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage) and his alter ego in a sequel. Even as the movie grossed double its production expenditures ($239 million worldwide gross against $210 million production), a 27% approval rating from critics on rottentomatoes.com and only a 56% audience film score is hardly the kind of numbers that have producers salivating for another kick at the flaming can.
But star Nicholas Cage is a huge comic book fan and the chance to strap on the leather one more time fight the bad guys in the form of a Marvel Comics character was just too tempting and the result was the sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
The sequel opens in Europe where Johnny Blaze is now in hiding. To quickly recap the events of the first film Ė Johnny Blaze was a stunt motorcycle rider who made a deal with the Devil. A deal that would turn him into Ghost Rider, a character with a flaming skull head that rides a blazing bike and uses his weapon of choice (a chain mostly) to fight evil.
As bad luck would have it, Johnny Blaze is unable to escape his fate even in Europe when he is approached by a monk named Moreau (Idris Elba) to assist in thwarting the Devilís plans to kidnap and possess a small boy. Now how can a superhero turn down an offer to protect an innocent child?
For the remainder of the film, the Ghost Rider will manifest in Johnny Blaze and reek havoc on all the bad guys and villains in the film until there is only The Rider and the Devil left to face off.
Is there more to the story? Well, yeah. The childís mother, Nadya (Violante Placido) offers some plot diversion and a henchman named Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth) is given the power of decay by the Devil in an attempt to have additional special effects inserted into the production. But as a whole, this is a simple story of Hero protecting child while a bad guy tries to fulfill his evil agenda.
But is it any good? No.
Whereas the first Ghost Rider movie was bad, the second is just downright atrocious. The special effects are better (anyone else notice how Ghost Riderís skull is no longer clean and white, but charred and more evil looking?) and the action sequences are definitely louder and orchestrated on a bigger scale. But the movie is anything but watchable.
Most, if not all, of the blame can rest on the shoulders of its star, Nicolas Cage. It is not uncommon to see Cageís name attached to as many as five or six film projects per year (after all, he needs the money to get out of bankruptcy). Most of these projects have the former Academy Award winner acting with his usual quirks and ticks while uttering some of the most horrific script written dialogue in film history. Take these wonderful excerpts as examples:
Danny: What if you have to pee when you're on fire?
Johnny Blaze: Oh, it's awesome.
Johnny Blaze: I will eat your stinking soul!
Letís just say that David Mamet and Aaron Sorkin have nothing to worry about. Add that they are given the outlandish Cageian flare in their delivery and you have the recipe for Razzie soup.
Given terrible dialogue in which to work with, directors Mark Nevedline and Brian Taylor would have needed to amp up the action sequences to such levels and master execution that the script pages would be irrelevant. But Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is just average in the action category and most of the sequences are of the forgettable variety.
The combination of all of the above makes Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance not only one of the worst movies of the still immature 2012 film season, but it is likely to be remembered as one of the worst superhero films of all-time taking its place amongst the Elektraís and Catwomanís of the world.