The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Ghost Rider : Spirit of Vengance

defense11040828_970894472954976_8504486711095508076_nHalf Price books had a sale last week, and I found a bunch of Blu Rays for $1.00! I picked up Spirit of Vengeance because it’s one I’ve been meaning to see but putting off. Truth is  I wasn’t a big fan of the first one and I haven’t heard a SINGLE good thing about this one. Still, I was ready to give it a try so Saturday while the girls were at dance I popped it in the PS3 and settled in with a pizza.

It starts off with a surprisingly good action scene featuring the rider himself. Easily as good as anything from the first film and it was good to see the character again. I could see some differences, no spikes (extra animations and cost I’m sure), and a skull that was darker – the entire suit seemed more consumed by Ghost Rider’s  hellfire than previously. That’s cool, costumes change with every movie.

It was about half an hour in when I started yelling at the screen. “I thought this was supposed to be a BAD movie!”. It would be my mantra fro the next hour.

Seriously, I’ve heard nothing good bout this, yet I found myself liking this far better than the first one. Nicholas Cage isn’t doing nearly as much of his manic Nicholas Cage thing….it’s more tormented and driven. Danny Ketch shows up and I went nuts! Edris Elba was marvelous as usual and I thought the cuts to the comic style images for backstory exposition to be really effective – it was a look that just appeals to me. Despite the soft-reboot feel (not even that really, or they would have replaced Cage) I really loved the direction they took and the different tone and style really worked for me.

A few things I’ve been told.

“Ghost Rider barely appears in  the film.”

To be  fair, he appears just as much as he did in the first movie – and we see more of him in this film that we do of Iron Man(in armor) in any of the Iron Man films. I’d like to see more, true, but really, I was led to believe he’s in this way less than the first and that’s just not true.

“It should have been rated R!”

11329851_970894469621643_3763512787988524655_nThat was never going to happen. Seriously, this isn’t the Punisher and they always said this would be PG-13 and if you were expecting anything else you deceived yourself. Despite the dark nature of the character, the comics I’ve read have never been particular gory or full of language. There’s violence, but it’s comic book violence and the film still manages to be just a violent than most of the comics I’ve seen. Even more violent than many  of them. The action was perfectly satisfying to meant this film delivered exactly what it promised.

“I was filmed on location because  they had no money!”

Yes, it was. The  implication is that this  makes it look cheap I guess. Well it looks  anything but cheap to me. They build a logical reason for Johnny Blaze to be  on the run and they used the foreign locals to great effect. I can’t argue with this choice one bit.

“Christopher Lambert isn’t in it enough.”

Lambert is in semi-retirement. That he’s in it at all is a shock, and a pleasant one  at that. I love his character – I love the look, the attitude, everything. Why are we complaining that he’s not in it enough when we should be cheering that he appears at all?

I love this script, I love this style and I kind of wish there was more of this – I still consider Drive Angry to be the spiritual third part to this unfinished trilogy, indeed it would really finish the arc, but sadly that’s not to be. Now that it’s back in Marvel’s hands, if we ever see more Ghost Rider, it’ll be a significantly different version, and that’s not a bad thing, but I’m still happy that I finally got to see this one and I suspect I’ll be spending a lot more time defending this in the future.

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