Saturday, 18 June 2016

Ghost Rider (3½ Stars)

I didn't see this film in the cinema when it was released in 2007, because at that time I rarely went to the cinema. It wasn't a matter of principle, it's just that I had difficulty motivating myself to go into the city centre to visit a cinema. For years, from 2006 to 2013, I lived as a recluse, barely going anywhere except to the supermarket and back. However, I bought the film on DVD soon after it was released, probably in 2008. I watched it once, then put the DVD back on my shelf and haven't picked it up again until today. That shows how impressed I was with the film.

This is one of the weakest Marvel films. Not as bad as last year's "Fantastic Four", but then again, nothing is that bad. But having said that, it's difficult for me to say exactly what's disappointing about "Ghost Rider". Nicolas Cage was too old for the role, but to be fair to him he did play the part well. The special effects are adequate. The costume is very accurate, which is unusual for Marvel films.

Something intangible is missing. The public must have liked the film, because it was a huge box office success, even without my attendance. Critics disliked it, giving it almost universally bad reviews. I've read some of the reviews to find suggestions why I don't like it, but none of the criticisms are things I can agree with. For instance, some critics complain about the film's satanic elements, but that was vital to the film if it wanted to be true to the comics. Other critics say Nicolas Cage's acting was poor, but I find he perfectly portrayed a guilt-ridden broody anti-hero.

A sequel was made in 2012, "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance", which was also a box office success. A third film was planned, but never came about. This week I read that a Ghost Rider reboot is planned, which is why I decided to watch the film today. I hope that the new Ghost Rider films will have more magic. I also hope that the Ghost Rider's alter-ego, Johnny Blaze, will be in his early 20's, not a middle-aged man.

Rebel Wilson appears in the film as an unnamed goth girl who Ghost Rider rescues when she's being mugged. She wears a t-shirt with the words "I leave bite marks". Cute. Even in her small role she displays outstanding charisma.

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