Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)


Where Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance really blazes is when the voices of its star and directors are in total harmony. The combination of Neveldine/Taylor and Nicolas Cage is spectacular. Naturally, when the film goes big it goes BIG. Ghost Rider pisses fire, converts a huge mining vehicle into a leviathan of flame and destruction and blares Death From Above 1979 during transformation sequences. When Cage does his batshit shouty thing in this movie, it works. When Neveldine/Taylor throw the camera around on roller skates during hectic flame-filled fight sequences, it makes sense. It’s wholeheartedly entertaining in these moments. These guys were born to make a movie together.

Where the film stumbles, however, is in its story. Beyond all the surface pleasures there’s not really much to get involved with. It’s a disappointingly basic good vs. evil tale dashed with some “sold my soul to the devil” pepper. It’s not as much a continuation of the Ghost Rider story as it is a stand-alone episode in his ongoing adventures which, actually, I kinda liked. That sort of storytelling is very in keeping with the character’s comic-book origins as are the abundance of nutty, visually-distinct side characters and villains. Sadly they just aren’t written that well and soon the high-octane visuals and performances can’t hold your attention through all the drippy exposition scenes and plodding narrative. There’s fun stuff in there and there’s not-so-fun stuff. For Neveldine/Taylor/Cage fans though, it showcases the occasional treat.

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