Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance
Directed by Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor
With interesting - though sometimes obtrusive - visuals, poor acting, and a forgettable story, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is an exhausting exercise in superficial film-making -- all style and no substance.
There's a balance that must be found in movies this "stylized". There must be some rhyme or reason to the extreme stylization, which is something this movie doesn't have. Arbitrary use of peculiar film editing and comically-bizarre effects galore. Sometimes it pays off, but only on a few rare occasions. The rest of the time it only proves to be a distraction. But this is only one main aspect of the visuals; the rest of which being surprisingly good. The stark visuals and excellent cinematography make this one of the better-looking movies so far this year.
Nicolas Cage is the kind of actor who can easily dominate a movie. The only problem is that this can go both ways: When he's good, he's great, but when he's bad, he is *bad*. The fact that he has more Razzie nominations than Oscars comes as no surprise to me at all. Here, he displays that his range of acting has not changed one bit, delivering an incredibly weak performance easily comparable to his work in The Wicker Man. But this doesn't mean the acting in this movie is only weak coming from Cage. In fact, everyone in this movie is bad -- even the shockingly out-of-place Idris Elba, whose French accent is one of the worst things I can recall having heard in quite some time. As a whole, I would say up to this point, this is the most poorly-acted movie I've seen in 2012.
Keeping in mind the fact that I have not seen the original Ghost Rider, I can't help but to think this movie did very little to progress the story of its predecessor in any way. The film features virtually zero character development whatsoever and has the feel of a standalone story with an already-established lead character -- much in a similar vein as a James Bond movie. This is not a wholly bad thing for a movie, (though it's not hard to tell that James Bond is an infinitely more interesting and charming lead character than Ghost Rider) it has its benefits as well as detriments. Much of the story establishing the character is summarized in the film's opening and doesn't seem to be a continuation of the story at all, making me wonder if this movie was even intended for fans of the original at all. People hoping for a more formal sequel might be upset with this follow-up, but to be completely honest, how many people actually wanted a sequel in the first place?
Granted, my opinion of this movie is lessened by the fact that I have never seen the first Ghost Rider, but I doubt I will have needed to. From a purely objective viewpoint, I don't see how it would have changed my opinion much. This just isn't a good movie.