Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

The first entry of this franchise was underwhelming at best. There was a core of interesting stuff and some fun f/x but not a truly well-told story. On the up side: this sequel is better than the original launch. On the down side: not by much.

What they managed to get a little more right was the feeling of a comic book. In dialog, camera angles, and plot there is a real sense of a graphic novel come to life. But there is no sense of energy in the scenes, they are just presented. The last moment, which should have been a huge button on the story, felt like a deflated balloon just before the cut to black. And how they managed to do this with a cast of folks like Luther’s Idris Elba, Nicholas Cage, Ciaran Hinds, and surprise appearances by Anthony Head and Christopher Lambert is a quandary. Even the main writer, Goyer, is one I respect as a good storyteller. And the story is there… just not the direction.

Ghost Rider has huge potential, which is why the studios keep coming back to it, but they never really invest in the directors who bring it to screen. This entry was directed by the team that brought us Crank and Crank 2. While diverting, neither of these are what I’d call good movies. Their frenetic, disconnected approach to story displayed in their previous efforts is part of what weakens this movie. Ghost Rider deals with some very emotional and existential issues in and among things getting blown up or disintegrated. The directors just don’t seem to know how to deal with moments that don’t have driving music, broad humor, and action. What we got left with was a cheap indie action/horror made in Turkey to save money.

After proof that super hero movies can be done well and right (see The Avengers), watching a cheap approach to what could be an exciting story was very disappointing.

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