Ghost Rider (2007)

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.

Rating: 5/10.

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  1. I've never understood the hate for this movie. I like both the comics and the movie. I guess I'm just weird.

    The fact is that Ghost Rider has been a mysterious vagabond, a superhero (in The Champions- where he once fought Godzilla BTW), the dark anti-hero, a superhero again and the dark hero.

    To say that this movie is not like 'the comics' is a silly argument, since the comics have portrayed him as so many things.

    As noted, Ghost Rider has fought demons, Godzilla and evil ghost Nurses. Take your pick.

  2. The studio is lucky that people made this one a hit simply because its Ghost Rider, not because this is a good movie. The sequel is a million times more fun, recommend it if you havent checked it out yet. While watching the sequel I wondered...why the hell is Cage playing Ghost Rider? He looks too old for the part; such an odd choice. Im sure he is playing the character only because he requested it (the guy still has a lot of pull in hollywood) and because of his own personal love for comics.

  3. Honestly that justification is like saying "Sure, there are a ton of great Spider-Man stories out there, but for this first film, we decided to hire Jim Carey as Peter Parker and we went with the Clone Saga." I try to break away from bias as much as possible when going in to a film adaptation, but to completely alienate fans by drastically changing their favorite characters is just shameful. That being said, Ghost Rider versus Godzilla would have been more believable than Nic Cage as Johnny Blaze ;)

    Going to hit the sequel soon enough, maybe after Man-Thing and Elektra?

  4. If you want to bring up bad casting or bad story decisions, I could mention WB's plans to cast Eddie Murphy or Jack Black as Green Lantern & the Tim Burton Superman plot (ironically featuring Nicholas Cage).

    Now, if ou want a more exact comparison- okay.

    When 'Batman Forever' and 'Batman & Robin' came out, many people said that it was 'not like Batman' or 'not like a Batman movie.' Well, that would be wrong considering that they were meant to remind you of the 1966 show or the 1968 movie.

    They weren't great movies, but they weren't 'slaps in the faces of the creators' or anything. Batman has fought alien farmers, King Tut and Composite Batman/Superman with new, made-up powers. I'm just saying.

    The fact is that they hired Cage for his notoriety and his love of the source material. We don't need more crap like Jennifer Connelly saying that she only did 'Hulk' to work with Ang Lee.

    As far as 'Man-Thing,' it's really just a Sci-Fi/Syfy Channel film licensed from Marvel. NOTHING is related to the comic. It's not even like a 'Swamp Thing' movie.

  5. i liked it, but it wasn't that good for the need for a sequel... i liked him better as nic cage than the rider. how sad for me.

  6. Oh dude I would have paid anything to see the Tim Burton Superman with Nic Cage, I just don't know that any of the local markets would have carried enough tomatoes to suit my needs. Kevin Smith's story about his work on Superman Returns is the absolute best!

    The only scene Nic Cage has done that was more overacted than him looking in the mirror as he turns to the Ghost Rider is when he gets the bees poured on him in The Wicker Man. Nic Cage only plays Nic Cage in films, so you get what you pay for if you're a Nic Cage fan.

    I still say Corman's Fantastic Four is better than the new one ;)