I just don’t understand the negativity towards ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance.’ I don’t understand it at all. Then again; I don’t understand the vitriol people spray at directors Nevaldine/Taylor – whose (prior to Ghost Rider) films ‘Crank,’ ‘Crank 2: High Voltage’ and ‘Gamer’ were pissed on in a similar fashion. Before I get on to the body of this review, I’d like to say that I am impressed by the filmmakers and I won’t be crapping on about the duo…well I won’t too much.
It’s time for us as a film watching community to put our money where our mouths are. Look at the recent ‘John Carter’ debacle: where the critical community seemed to be aiming a missile of hate at that film – months and months before it was released – bemoaning its demise before it even had a chance. “John Carter will no doubt be a disaster because of…” – “John Carter will be a flop” and so forth. I don’t know the veracity of this; but even ‘Time’ magazine is featuring articles on the “hit-job” the press did on the Andrew Stanton directed Mars movie. Many are even blaming the press for its lackluster box office performance. I however blame the poor marketing, but I can see how the media could be part of the issue. All this hullabaloo aside; not many went to see ‘John Carter’ and regardless of the shitty title and marketing; we’re left with another auteur driven into the dirt by the box office figures. We all fire these missiles, and then when they blow up a building we act surprised.
What is it with many of us wanting to take a giant crap on films/ filmmakers that try things differently? Shouldn’t we be celebrating original approaches? No? Nevaldine/Taylor break boundaries, and maybe they don’t create high art; but they’re entertainers. And like Andrew Stanton, they just try to make a movie to entertain, but do it in a unique and interesting way…and that’s a problem these days apparently.
There is nothing serious about ‘Ghost rider: Spirit Of Vengeance’ – it at one point puts up a still frame of Jerry Springer when discussing demons – so come on, lets stop being massive pretentious assholes and enjoy something once in a while. So John Carter’s story wasn’t original, but it got the feel, tone and adventure it sought out. ‘Ghost Rider’ is a similar beast; getting the tone and feel of a dark pulp comic book on the screen – something that the weak first film (Not directed by Nevaldine/Taylor) failed to do. It’s also worth noting, that making the sequel to a truly awful film, and having it be great (if not much better) than the original: is a rare feat indeed. The directors also wrote this sequel; and should be commended for the accomplishment (yes, it’s comic book silliness – so don’t bitch to me in the comments about the lack of story, it’s redundant at this point).
So ‘Spirit Of Vengeance’ embraces the silliness of its subject matter: It’s a demon biker with a flaming skull for crying out loud! Not ‘The Hurt Locker.’ It’s pulpy, energetic and bat shit insane. The storyline is not weak, it’s par the course for this kind of thing – there’s a demon child and an angel summons the ghost rider to race the forces of darkness to save him. That’s it really. It doesn’t change your life, but it’s not supposed to.
The important thing, is that you wouldn’t want it to. You want something insane enough to live up to the character that has a flaming skull and motorcycle. Hyper-violence, energetic camerawork – and a hysterically manic performance from Nicolas Cage. There’s great action, great humor, and many weird esoteric Nevaldine/Taylor touches. This isn’t ‘Crank,’ it’s a mainstream effort from the directorial duo…they don’t sell-out though, they just tone down in order to do justice to a character and its source material.
That’s the end line really: if they just pumped out another ‘Crank,’ then you wouldn’t have ‘Ghost Rider’ – you would just have two directors recycling their own work. These two aren’t hacks; they’re auteurs. And like Andrew Stanton with his ‘John Carter,’ they serve the material before they do their own selfish egos. So I think, get your ego in check, and go into ‘Ghost Rider: The Spirit Of Vengeance’ expecting the movie it sells itself as.
If you don’t get a Biker with a flaming skull beating the shit out of people with some great camerawork – I’ll give you your money back.
Here’s the trailer for you guys: