Holland has already said some things, and they are all true, and basically comprehensive, but I wanted to flip out about a couple other things also. Actually, really I want to just flip out some MORE about the things that he already said.
The worst part of this fucking movie is that when the directors are on, they do some good shit. SoV looks better than the first Ghost Rider, the action scenes are better and more interesting (except the part with the mining crane; let me tell you, if you’d told me last week that I was going to see a movie in which Ghost Rider climbs into a mining crane and it turns into a giant hell-powered mining crane of doom…I would not have assumed that I would find that scene to be kind of boring). The Ghost Rider just has black smoke like the exhaust from a motorcycle billowing off of him all the time. Idris Elba is lighting a cigarette when the Ghost Rider first manifests, and when he does, the flame on his match gets bigger.
So there’s a lot of “Oh, man, look how awesome Ghost Rider is! He’s going to…to kill that dude. Look out, that dude. You…you probably did some…some bad stuff, or something. So Ghost Rider is…ehhhhh.”
Furthermore, when Ghost Rider gets people, he just hits them with his chain and they burst into flames. And I don’t mean, like, they turn into stunt men who run around screaming while on fire (that would be awesome). I mean they just explode into ash like the vampires in Blade (maybe they just recycled the special effect, or something? Does it work that way?). I think this is stupid, and part of the reason I think this is stupid is because I fucking love Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare.
This is the most awesome super-power of all, in my opinion. In this movie, they say that Ghost Rider sucks out a person’s soul if they’ve done something bad, but really it’s supposed to be that Ghost Rider inflicts on their souls all the pain that they’ve caused to other people. I love this because it’s just a great, Old Testament wrath of God kind of power. It’s always morally correct (in an eye for an eye sort of way), because you never suffer more or less than the suffering that you’ve caused. It’s intimate. It establishes Ghost Rider as an agent of divine retribution, rather than just a fiery dude with a man-exploding chain whip.
Burning up all the bodies with the chain whip just disappoints me, because what I want is a movie where Ghost Rider uses the chain to drag them over and then leaves them screaming on the ground with all that black smoke pouring out of their eyes. I actually feel that this is more rad than just killing them, and I immediately lose respect for anyone who complains that the Penance Stare is a bullshit power.
But finally and MOST IMPORTANTLY:
Can someone please fucking explain to me how civilization now has TWO Ghost Rider movies, and AT NO POINT does Ghost Rider fight a gang of satanist Hell’s Angels bikers? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE. Did no one just sit down and think, “What would be awesome would be if the Devil were just this greasy dude who dresses like Elvis Presley and tools around in his giant Cadillac accompanied by a GANG OF SATANIST HELL’S ANGELS BIKERS”? How is it possible that this hasn’t happened?
Instead the Devil is played by Ciaran Hinds in a suit (and called, inexplicably, “Roarke” — like Cardinal Roarke from Sin City? I don’t get that. Also, if the Devil isn’t going to be dressed like Elvis, why isn’t he dressed like a Bishop or something? Or another biker? OR ANYTHING EXCEPT A NONDESCRIPT BUSINESSMAN?), and the other badguys are just some guys that he knows. It’s not even clear — the Devil hires this one goon to get this little kid, but for some reason the Devil is off in London or some shit while that’s going down. Did he have other business to take care of? Was he up to something, that’s why he couldn’t be there in person? It’s not clear. I feel like I would have liked to see that, if only because everything else about this movie except for the last ten minutes when Ghost Rider gets on a tank and turns it into a fiery hell-tank is completely fucking boring.
UPDATE: Also, talk about a gross fucking miscalculation on the part of the movie-makers, but dudes, no. No one cares about Nic Cage’s feelings. That was not a thing you had to even half-ass. Remember in A Fistful of Dollars, when the Man with No Name shows up to town and starts causing trouble? Remember how much that movie dwelt on his fucking feelings?