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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.

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

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

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?

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?

157 Comments Refresh
Posted by InnerVenom123

I liked it for the overracting and the effects. Knew it wasn't something to take seriously and I had an afternoon to kill. I didn't bother to stick to any illusions of it going by the comics. I knew going in that this is not a story about Johnny Blaze, it's about Nicholas Cage who eats souls.

And I ended up enjoying it.

Posted by jrock85

I knew it was gonna suck, so I didn't go see it.

Posted by zackattack529

noooo..i wanted this movie to be good :/ oh well i stilll have batman to look foward to in may :)

Posted by Mekboy

Nicholas Cage.

Posted by zmanm407

I actually enjoyed it

I wasn't going into it expecting a good comic book film, I was going into it expecting it just to not suck.

The funny scenes, I laughed hysterically at. The "serious" scenes, I found myself kinda laughing at too. Though, that probably wasn't what the directors intended.

What the Hell was up with him stopping in the middle of that one fight, and floating in circles?

I despised the ending. "Yeah. Hell yeah."

It was also another instance where the ending is put in the trailer, which I hated.

The action sequences and CGI were the only things that were even remotely near saving graces of this film. Even then there were flaws, as I mentioned above him floating like a compass needle was weird, I also thought it was weird the way he twisted and jerked his head around when he was "intimidating" the thugs.

Overall, though, I still felt there were worse films I could've spent my money on. I didn't waste the extra two bucks my theater charges for 3D.

Posted by Steps

@Mekboy said:

Nicholas Cage.

Posted by KainScion

@zackattack529: pfff. good luck with that

Posted by GuruOfFunk

Although I like Ghost Rider (the character) and LOVE Nicolas Cage I didn't like the movie. Despite this, I actually dug the scorched/burnt look of this Ghost Rider and the cobra like behaviour.

Posted by wowylied

The first one was really mediocre and the trailer for this one really don't attract me.

It's like "Yoohoo i'm cool and cage !". I'm really tired of this actor who is blank, with no expression and seems more dumber the more movie he is making.

If i don't take the two new batman movies, all of the modern comic movie for now were bad and i don't fell that it will change.

Posted by SavageDragon

For some reason no matter what other people say about this i will end up seeing it....I see every comic book movie. Yes even Elektra.

Posted by JonesDeini

One major complaint I've seen about this from critics (mainly comic readers) and friends is that this was just so well, boring and tame compared to their prior work like crank. And if they had bought that same (love it or hate) ridiculous sensibility to this film and followed it to its (il)logical conclusion an entertaining film could've been made. I mean when your premise is a stunt biker possessed by a demonic spirit of vengeance well...yeah...frak it, man, just go for broke!!! Seriously I love Nicholas Cage for all the reasons we all love hate him. If they had embraced the batcrap insanity inherent to the character (like Aaron's run) I think this film would be getting different reviews. Well at least from people who share my sensibilities when it comes to Ghost Rider.

Posted by blur1528

@Chane said:

Re: Picture Caption - Christopher Lambert was Connor Macleod not Duncan.

Glad I'm not the only one.

Saw the movie tonight and I kept having to stop my buddy from walking out a few times. Worst part? "S-S- Sorry jackass, but I'm dead." Other than that I was entertained and laughing. The whole "scratching at the door" part reminded me of Lois from Family Guy that I busted out laughing in the theater.

Idris Ebla was the best part to me. Would have liked to see him get the "ghost and take over the franchise and hopefully put a spark into what seems really dim for more films. But overall I enjoyed it. Maybe because I didn't shell out the cash to pay for it and watched it for free (my buddy works at the place so we get free passes.)

Posted by MarvelMan1985

Wow ...i already thought that the original Ghost Rider was horribly wrong. Thanks to this review I know I wont be seeing this. Plus I do NOT like Nicolas Cage.

Posted by primepower53

@jrock85 said:

I knew it was gonna suck, so I didn't go see it.

Posted by Grandmaster_Fro

Of course its going to suck. But I dont care. Nick Cage is obviously the greatest actor of all time

Posted by MooseyMcMan

I'll tell you what went wrong with it. It's boring. There's one part where Nic Cage flips out, and there are two action scenes that are pretty good. The rest is BORING.

Posted by notoriousmistersims

his nick cage'n this mother of course it's gon be rubbish

Posted by Billy Batson

I was kind of surprised that there wasn't a review about this.

Posted by AlfoLantern

So strange that there is actually some people that are defending this ''movie'' in my entourage, they seem to like the Ghost Rider character and forget the rest of the ''movie''. Simply because they never read a Ghost Rider comic book (like the people that did the movie), we can't understand why they don't take any stories of the comic to adapt for the movie.

I almost did not finish the movie, I just wanted to quit and go home(which I never do when I go see a film), the first one is really cheesy but it's watchable, this one was just painful for my brain.

Posted by Marcato

Nicholas Cage

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

There will never be another Ghost Rider movie made after this. This film just nailed the coffin shut on that character. 

Posted by Guardiandevil83

@SavageDragon: Same here lol. I've seen them all, or better yet anything with heroes. Meteor Man, Blank Man, Super, Kick-ass, even that HBO special about actual vigilantes. yep that's me. Super-hero supporter #1

Posted by Mbecks14

The biggest problem with the movie is that they made it.

Posted by Joe Venom

"Peach, I could eat a peach for hours" lmao I just love that line

Posted by Atary77

As a film based on the comics, it fails miserably. Plain and simple.

The only thing enjoyable about this movie is how absurd and stupid it is. But I didn't want stupidity. I wanted a movie with an awesome character and good story. Instead we got a train wreck in every sense of the term. Like you know what you're seeing is horrible but you can't look away from it.

Posted by Cafeterialoca

Good article, buuuuuut-

Daniel Way run? Not Jason Aaron's run?

Posted by joshmightbe

And next week we'll see Nicholas Cage telling people the movie wasn't the worst thing since Batman and Robin we just didn't get it which is the same interview he gives after every terrible movie he does

Posted by feargalr

Was anyone surprised by this movie though? I kinda thought this is what it was always going to be

Posted by The Stegman

Was anyone surprised by this movie though? I kinda thought this is what it was always going to be

This, I really don't know why people expected this movie to be great, the first one was mediocre at best, Nicholas Cage is a mediocre actor at best, and the trailers and teasers were just corny.
Posted by Thunderscream

this should have been a reboot....with a new lead

Posted by GLJedi

The fact that they don't take the character seriously or that they don't want to make it rated R is enough for me not to go see it.

Edited by inferiorego

@Cafeterialoca said:

Good article, buuuuuut-

Daniel Way run? Not Jason Aaron's run?

I was waiting for that.I'll be completely honest with you, and everyone else. I'm a huge Jason Aaron fan, but I dropped that Ghost Rider book right before he started writing it. It's in my "to-do" list, but I simply haven't gotten around to it.

@feargalr said:

Was anyone surprised by this movie though? I kinda thought this is what it was always going to be

I expected it to be on par with the first film, so an "ok" movie.

Posted by Miss_Garrick

2 words: Nicolas Cage. Nuff said!

Posted by joshmightbe

@The Stegman: I didn't expect it to be great or even good but I didn't think it was going to be this bad, This was far worse than the green lantern movie

Posted by kennybaese

I'm skipping this in theaters because they only got a 3D print and after Star Wars (yes, I went to the Phantom Manace, I'm everything that's wrong with society, blah blah blah.) I've decided that I'm finally going to take my hatred of 3D seriously and not go see 3D movies. However, I will be renting this. Here's why:

I love the fact that it doesn't take itself seriously. After The Dark Knight, comic book adaptations have taken themselves way too seriously. Based on Alex's review over at Screened, everyone in this movie seems to be in on the joke, and everyone is just rolling with how ridiculous and dumb everything is, and that sounds awesome. Plus, I'm also like Alex and I love Nic Cage in spite of myself, so there's that.

Posted by buttersdaman000

@Grandmaster_Fro said:

Of course its going to suck. But I dont care. Nick Cage is obviously the greatest actor of all time

Posted by hydrabob--defunct

I half expected this just to say everything.

Posted by Delphic

Personally I like Nicolas Cage acting and his "over-doing it" personality of Johnny Blaze is one of the things I love about the character. The crazy fits he had when attempting to hold the demon back is often how I would picture any person attempting to keep a possessing demon from surfacing. It would be painful, it would be insane, and probably very very loud. 
The biggest and first problem was the creative team. Seriously Hollywood fire these people  (no pun intended). The directors of this film just completely ruined the whole experience of what should have been awesome. Some of the dialogue in this film would make a deaf person cringe. Do not put crappy one liners and puns in films it's not funny, it's not cool, and it down right ruins a movie going experience. 
The worst acting job in this film goes to Ciaran Hinds (a.k.a. Roarke) which is quite a shame considering his past film credits (Harry Potter, Miami Vice). Perhaps he foresaw what would happen with this film in the box office and decided not to put forth much of an effort, but just enough to be sure he got a check.   

Posted by BatWatch

I didn't see Vengeance because everybody said it sucked, but I've got to say, I think you are being a bit too forgiving of the first film. A decent first film? I would call it subpar at best. The effects were cool and Cage was okay, but the supporting actors were abysmal, and every fight except the last was resolved by GR swinging his flaming chain. Seven year olds could envision better fight scenes. If an action movie can't deliver on the action, what's the point?

Posted by The Impersonator

@jrock85 said:

I knew it was gonna suck, so I didn't go see it.

Posted by neillius

Best line in the Movie:

"everyone has evil in them, maybe you told a white lie, maybe an illegal download"

Nick Cage is going to turn into ghost rider and get you for your illegal downloads and white lies. lulz.

Posted by inferiorego

@neillius said:

Best line in the Movie:

"everyone has evil in them, maybe you told a white lie, maybe an illegal download"

Nick Cage is going to turn into ghost rider and get you for your illegal downloads and white lies. lulz.

OMG! I forgot about that line! I giggled pretty hard out loud during that.

Posted by sickVisionz

I'd blame the box office on the fact that the first Ghost Rider movie exists.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

I think many weren't about to shame themselves when this one came around.

Posted by Suprman

Didn't bother Seeing it Can't Stand Nic Cage, he's a jerk

Posted by kfhrfdu_89_76k

If you ask me, this is epic.

Posted by Gordo789

this is too bad. I sort of liked Crank 2.

Posted by Mumbles

the pissng fire on the trailer was the first sign of this being a bad movie. i rewatched the first ghost rider on f/x last weekend, and it was worst then i remembered first go around. i'll watch this crap when it hits redbox,lol

Posted by redhood21

called it. anybody involved with jonah hex should be shot except josh brolin. let him live with it.... and i agree that ghost rider is a bad ass and you dont need to prove it to the audience like you do with 5'2 jason statham.

Posted by Inverno

I have to disagree with EVERYTHING this article says.

- I don't mind Neveldine/Taylor shaky cam and I was capable of keeping up with their action scenes.

- Nicholas Cage in batshit insane mode is way, way waaaaaayyy better than in his dull mode. The Wicker Man is one of the best comedies of all time because of his acting and I really hate the Sorcerer Apprentice and Season of the Witch. He was having the fun of his life playing as total maniac AND his favorite superhero.

- I don't think the 3D was that bad.

- The movie not taking itself so seriously is improvement over the first movie falling into so many superhero cliches like the Green Lantern, a movie so viciously panned by the critics that I also liked. If you think that Ghost Rider peeing fire ruins the character FOREVER, I don't know whats wrong with you.

i think I may have upset many people posting my positive opinion on this. Well let flaming begin.

Posted by Aarny2

Nick Cage needs to be in more.