THE SHORT VERSION: DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE.
THE LONG VERISION: Oh boy… where to start… The basics always work, and basically, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance SUCKS. Hard. I had little expectations for this one, but my eyes popped more from the unmitigated failure this movie is than the 3D effects I didn’t pay for. (Yes! Sneaking into the movies; score one for me.)
For one, if Marvel hadn’t already scared away future lawsuits when they counter-sued the former co-creator of Ghost Rider, Eddie Murphy might be calling to ask for them to return his script to The Golden Child. But that would imply that Eddie Murphy took the time to watch GH: SOV, which I doubt anyone of repute would ever admit.
So yeah, Johnny Blaze has to protect a child who may be the Antichrist from the Devil himself, with the most predictable of results. But if you’re going to trot out a frillion tropes everyone could see coming a mile away – flaming motorcycle in the rearview mirror or not – why on earth would you eliminate the only one that’s actually good: namely, a dark (re: night) setting? At least half of the action, including the anti-climax, takes place in broad daylight. You’ve got demons with skulls afire, an undead monster, and Lucifer… and they’re throwing down at three in the afternoon? Holy smokes. I think the Antichrist is the collection of writers who put together this boring screenplay. I’m incredibly disappointed by this, as David Goyer, famed for the Blade and current Batman trilogies, is credited as both writer of story and shares a screenplay credit.
Nicholas Cage regurgitated too many groan-inducing one-liners that belong in a Spider-Man movie; Ciaran Hinds played the most unimposing Prince of Darkness since The Haunted World of El Super Beasto’s Dr. Satan (at least that was intentional).
Johnny Whitworth’s Ray Carrigan, who I guess is based on the comics villain Blackout, should go back to gluing quarters to the floor, and Christopher Lambert plays a guy making fun of Christopher Lambert. The demonspawn, Danny (who may or may not be Danny Ketch from the comics; it’s never specified) was mailed in by youngster Fergus Riordan. They could have gotten my chocolate lab for cheaper. Idris Elba was the lone bright spot with his colorful portrayal of Moreau, a badass monk who also knows how to party.
Some of the effects were admittedly quite awesome, although, once again, the 3D element added nothing to my EQ (entertainment quotient). Particularly great was the quick rundown of Ghost Rider’s origin, told through a frenetic half-animation sequence, and later brought back to go into details of a story about an angel – Zarathos – who goes crazy. I also liked the effects used to make everything Carrigan touches decay. (That reminds me of a huge mistake in the film. While testing his powers, Carrigan disintegrates a sandwich, an apple, a Twink… oh, wait, the Twinkie doesn’t dissolve, so he eats it. Get it? Twinkies last forever! Not one person in the audience even breathed loudly at that scene, let alone laughed. Way to kill any credibility for what is your scariest villain.)
I don’t understand the purpose of switching to pitch black backgrounds during some of the fight scenes. It wasn’t realistic in any way (if that was the intent) and just came across as a lazy way to fill in the blanks of a green screen.
A small part of me hopes the Spirit of Vengeance takes some out of Avi Arad, who produced this flaming turd (and many other Marvel films).