Here's an idea: Take the demonic, flaming-skulled Spirit of Vengeance known as the Ghost Rider, one of the darkest heroes the world has ever known, remove all of the bloody violence from the comics, and then replace it with jelly beans and The Carpenters. If that isn't enough, drop a PG-13 rating on the film and hire a middle-aged hack to play the lead character as a final slap in the face to all of the fans.
In GHOST RIDER, motorcycle stuntman Johnny Blaze makes a pact with the devil to save his father's life, but in exchange, he is tricked into becoming the devil's bounty hunter. As the Spirit of Vengeance, Ghost Rider must take off across the American Southwest to recover an ancient scroll for his new master while battling the forces of evil along the way.
GHOST RIDER is a comic fan's worst nightmare. It demonstrates everyone's darkest fears when it comes to studio involvement tainting our most beloved characters on screen. Watching GHOST RIDER is like watching a competition for "World's Worst Actor." Eva Mendez must have breathed a sigh of relief when she was cast beside Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze's love interest. Even her stunning good looks cannot distract from her talentless performance. Nic Cage, on the other hand, can. Somewhere along the lines, Nic Cage must have mistaken the script for a comedy just as he had done in THE WICKER MAN remake, since he certainly makes a fool of himself the entire film. This version of Johnny Blaze is nothing but a disgrace to the tragic character in the comics, and Cage takes it upon himself to ham it up at every turn. And that still leaves out Wes Bentley, whose flamboyant take on the villainous Blackheart is laughable at best.
Try as he might, Mark Steven Johnson simply cannot pull together a major comic book adaptation. He makes the same mistakes in GHOST RIDER as he had in DAREDEVIL, placing far too much emphasis on comedy and cheap romance in place of the violent action, pathos, and quest for revenge that are inherent to the story of Johnny Blaze. While there are several winning moments in the effects department that bring classic comic panels to life in a stunning display of fire and brimstone, the visual success of the film cannot compete with Johnson's failures in the scriptwriting process. Poor decisions regarding the uneven tone of the film and the absurd actions taken by the characters only serve to drive a deepening wedge between the audience and the events on screen.
Why Columbia would gamble away a major movie franchise on such a pitiful combination of writing, acting, and directing, the world may never know, but the complete and utter failure of the film's first sequel will hopefully prevent the studio from doing any further damage to the character of the Ghost Rider.
Movies like GHOST RIDER:
DUST DEVIL, SPAWN, DAREDEVIL, BEYOND THE GRAVE.