Sunday, 19 February 2012

178, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Seeing as the first instalment of Ghost Rider was released pre-blog in 2007 I feel it only fair that a little explanation be required for what for me, is one of Marvels lesser known heroes.

My Marvel Chronicle Collectors book (sad..) shows Ghost Rider mentioned as far back as 1941 as The Blazing Skull who foreshadowed and was the idea behind Ghost Rider but it was further on in 1967 that the first carnation of the rider came long in the form of a horse backed western hero living in the nineteenth century, appearing as a vengeful spirit & gowned in a phosphorescent suit.  Soon after, this character was renamed The Pantom Rider because in 1972 Marvel recycled the Ghost Rider name for a modern day hero with Supernatural powers. 

Johny Blaze was a motorcycle stunt rider, adopted by Stunt show owner Crash Simpson as a child and ultimately fell in love with Crash's daughter, Roxanne.  When Crash was diagnosed with a lethal illness, Blaze struck a deal with the Devil (or more specifically, the Demon Mephisto) where to save Crash, Blaze would have his soul paired with another Demon, Zarathos, causing him to transform into a flaming skeleton with the power to launch hellfire from his hands, astride a blazing motorcycle.  Mephisto kept his end of the bargain, saving Crash from death by illness however managed to take his life anyway in a Cycle stunt go bad.  Blaze, tricked would then forever be destined to take the form of the Ghost Rider, seeking out the Devils work with the anonymity of being Johnny Blaze by day.

The first movie charts the above transition as Blaze (Nic Cage) comes to terms with being tricked by the Devil and learns the power of the Ghost Rider.  To be honest, I cant even remember if I enjoyed it or not.  What I can comment on however is the sequel, Spirit of Vengeance.  And its sadly not a positive.

I felt the above introduction necessary so you can each understand the story of Ghost Rider and form your own judgement of if is for you or not.  Receiving a significant following in its comic run from the 1970's, Ghost Rider quickly gathered momentum and as a Marvel favourite, the 2007 movie was necessary.  But for my money, they should have left it there.

Lets start on the negatives first.  The sound.  If this was a fault with the cinema then apologies but the level of music vs. dialogue was totally off set.  Heavy Rock guitars blasted out from the surround sound speakers throughout but the dialogue in comparison was almost whisper like, making it very hard to keep up with what was going on from the off. 

Then the plot, from what I gauged we have the Devils son being hunted on earth by Mephisto and the Rider is called into to find the boy first and save him from being taken below.  I may have this slightly wrong as I actually fell asleep in the middle bit - it was that dull! and when I woke up I was a little off point and tried my best to catch up. 

Then there was Cage.  He was just a little nuts.  I am sure that's all part of the act, with this demonic presence taking over him but he cackled and screeched like a banshee during most of the movie and I just thought it was all a bit of a joke.

If I could end on a high though there is one things that's worth sticking it out to the end.  The visuals of Cage as the Rider and the way the special effects are blended in with real time were pretty impressive.  The hellfire and brimstone, flung from the riders molten chains and the way the vehicles driven adopted a devilish persona were awesome and enough to make true fans see past the lame acting and focus on what the movie is about - The Ghost Rider. 

If you're a fan then you'll love it, regardless of my comments but if the Ghost Rider is new to you, save your cash for the Avengers - now that's going to be EPIC!