Movie Review: Ghost Rider

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I don’t know why, but I guess I am honoring the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, one of Marvel’s biggest releases, by watching some of Marvel’s worst movies. It started with Daredevil and now it’s Ghost Rider, another stinker of a comic book movie directed by Mark Steven Johnson.

Ghost Rider stars Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider, a man who made a deal with the devil as a young man to save his father. But in doing so, he had to give up on everyone that he cared for, including Roxanne Simpson (Eva Mendes), the girl he loved. He abandoned all that he cared for and waited for Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda), the devil-like being, to inform him of when he is needed.

And when he does, Johnny Blaze suddenly turns into the title character and is offered to get his soul back if he can stop Blackheart (Wes Bentley) and others from obtaining the lost contract of San Venganza, a contract that supposedly controls thousands of evil souls. Blaze does his work as the devil’s bounty hunter and eventually gives the contract to Blackheart but defeats him. Then, when Mephistopheles offers Blaze his soul back, he declines and decides to use his power to fight against him instead of for him.

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Let me start with the positives. First, Ghost Rider is a great character. He deserved a movie but, unfortunately, it wasn’t that good. Secondly, some of the acting was good. Eva Mendes was good as Roxanne, Blaze’s love interest, and Sam Elliott was great as Carter Slade, a former Ghost Rider who had his the contract before. Elliott is a good actor that is very underrated and has been a favorite of mine since I saw Road House.

But, the movie had much more wrong with it than it had right. The story was weak and the dialog was awful at times. And Nicolas Cage was, simply put, not right in this role. I could pick on Cage all day, but we all know how he is. Sometimes he is good. But there are movies that just don’t work with him. This is one of those films. And it’s not just him. I didn’t care for Wes Bentley’s performance either and I generally don’t have a problem with him. Although he did admit later that he filmed this in the middle of his cocaine and heroin addiction so maybe that explains some it.

Regardless of my thoughts, the movie was successful at the box office but received negative reviews. A sequel was released five years later and wasn’t much better. But I’m still holding out hope for a rebirth of Ghost Rider. With the success of the dark Daredevil series on Netflix, maybe Marvel can go that route with this. But no matter what they do, I just hope Ghost Rider gets another shot and is not forever remembered by this movie.

Daryl Karpinski Jr.

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