Directed by Mark Steven Johnson
Starring Nicholas Cage, Eva Mendes, Peter Fonda, Wes Bently, Sam Elliot, and Donal Logue.
Ghost Rider is a prime example of what the current comic book movie trend has wrought. No one was talking about doing a Ghost Rider movie until X-Men hit and became a big hit back in Y2K. Throw in a comic-book crazed actor who always wanted to play a superhero (Nicholas Cage), have it all done by the writer/director of the successful adaptation Daredevil, and BOOM! Instant comic book blockbuster.
Johnny Blaze had a pretty sweet life. Working with his dad doing motorcycle stunts and the circus, and a very hot girlfriend named Roxanne. But then, his dad his stricken with cancer. While he considers how to handle this, the Devil comes to Johnny with an offer: cure his dad’s cancer, in exchange for his soul. Many years later, the Devil comes to collect. See, the Devil’s son, Blackheart, figures that the time is right to bring about the End of Days. Blackheart goes on a quest to discover a contract that would give him 100 souls, perfect for starting an army. So, the Devil tracks down Johnny, and turns Johnny into the Ghost Rider, charged with hunting down Blackheart and his army of demons and returning them to Hell. And then, Roxanne comes back into his life, and Blaze heads down the rocky road of being a Marvel Universe hero.
What I Liked
I’ve got to agree with pretty much every other critic who said that Peter Fonda is outstanding as the Devil. He comes across like Bill in Kill Bill. And Cage, for the most part, is good, if he’s still very much Cage. The special effects are pretty nifty, too. And great motorcycle stunts.
What I Didn’t Like
It’s pretty much accepted that there’s a formula to doing comic book movies, and Ghost Rider follows the formula pretty well. And also, I don’t think there was much time devoted to Blaze’s struggle to try to control his new found powers. As superhero movies go, it felt kind of phoned in.
The last movie that followed the comic book formula closely was Elektra. I like to think of Ghost Rider as Elektra done right. But still, it’s no X-Men.