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Better than the first in EVERY WAY if you are a fan of the Ghost Rider going in...
on April 28, 2012
Something you'll notice if you read any of these reviews is that a good portion of the 'bad' reviews compare this movie to the first Ghost Rider movie. Well, I have a problem with that. I have been a long time fan of the Ghost Rider going back to the Original 70's comics. The first movie which purports to give us the origin of the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider has next to nothing to do with the source material at all. The first movie turned Johnny Blaze into a goofball who eats Jelly Beans out of a martini glass and keeps the powers of the Ghost Rider against the will of the Devil. If you like that then you are no fan of the Ghost Rider.
Johnny Blaze was a hard drinking, tortured soul who was tricked by the 'devil' and turned into the Ghost Rider against his will. He spent the entire run of the original comic series doing everything he could to be freed from his curse. Johnny Blaze doesn't listen to the Carpenters. Johnny Blaze doesn't watch TV specials about monkeys. He's not got time for that crap.
This movie, while it does have it's own problems, plays closer to the 'real' Ghost Rider in every way. Blaze fights the demon for control constantly. He seeks an escape from the Spirit of Vengeance at every turn, but he uses the Ghost Rider to his advantage at times. THIS is the spirit of the original book brought to life. Not the campy crap-fest that the first movie was. While the writers did take some creative licence with characters, parts of the origin, and pretty much completely ignore the first film (thank god), they build a rider that is much more like the one we see in the pages of the Ghost Rider comics. This movie brings us a darker, more menacing Ghost Rider. When the Rider is on screen, he's unsettling. He revels in the destruction and death going on around him. He laughs maniacally as he uses massive mining machines infused with hell-fire to destroy his enemies, and toys with them like a cat would a wounded mouse...
The 'enemies' of the rider in the first film were epic emo-fairy failures. They are easily dispatched and offer no real challenge for the Rider. Well, the same can be said about this movie, but at least here they are outmatched by the rider because they are mere mortals facing off against a demon/angel of vengeance/justice. When the 'heavies' show up in the form of Blackout and finally the Devil, they aren't much of a challenge either, but then again they put up a better fight than the ones in the first film.
Blackout is not the Blackout from the comic, but here he is realized better than most comic book movie villains. He puts up a fight but there's never really much danger for the Ghost Rider from any of the bad guys.
Where this film falls apart is that the story is at times confusing, Cage often jumps into 'Crazy Cage' mode and ruins some scenes, and a lot of the dialog is just silly. Where it succeeds is the Crank-style mayhem that is unleashed whenever there is action going on, the visual effects of the Rider are ramped up and embrace the dark side of the Character. The Flaming Skull in this go around is LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than in the first. In every way possible the Rider is BETTER rendered here in character and appearance.
See this if you are a fan of the Ghost Rider and not the first Movie that tried to make the Ghost Rider into a Spiderman style super-hero. THIS is the heart of the Ghost Rider. Dark, Gritty, Campy and FUN! Now if they would just ditch Cage and get a decent writer to give a third movie a go...