Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Movie Review: Ghost Rider

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: The final third
Cons: Too slow with the set up and start; pretty dark (which does fit characters)
The Bottom Line:
Characters fans are
Only ones who will enjoy
Film that is a mess

Disappointing Movie with an Unknown Character

For years, I vocally said I had no interest in seeing the movie Ghost Rider.  It just sounded weird, and, not being a comic book person, I had no knowledge of the character.  However, when I discovered it on TV a few weeks back, curiosity get the better of me, and I watched it.  I shouldn’t have wasted my time.

Johnny Blaze is the son of a carnie, and he is following in his father’s footsteps as a motorcycle stunt rider.  However, a strange encounter one night ends up with the teenager selling his soul to the Devil in exchange for his father’s life.  However, the deal goes bad and Johnny ends up alone.

Fast forward to the present, and Johnny (Nicholas Cage) has a reputation as a man who had completed some death defying stunts.  However, the past comes back to haunt him when the Devil reappears and demands his payment.  It turns out the Devil’s son is attempting to take over the world, and Johnny is the only person who can stop him.  But with strange new powers he doesn’t even understand, can Johnny really do it?

I had originally written off the movie as being too dark for me, and I was right on that front.  The villains in the superhero movies are supposed to be evil; I get that.  However, here is was dark and frankly pointlessly so.  At times, it almost felt like something from a horror movie – and yet this was a PG-13 movie edited for TV.

But that doesn’t even begin to cover the pacing issues with the movie.  The prolog setting up how the teenaged Johnny got into this mess is slow and keeps the movie from getting going in a timely manner.  Yes, I get that we are setting things up for later, but I just wanted to get on with things.  Even when we get to the adult Johnny, I felt like it moved along slowly.  It wasn’t until the second half that things picked up.

Once it does, the movie is fairly paint by numbers for a super hero film, but it was still enjoyable.  The special effects were very good and the action was great.  The ending was creative and I enjoyed that part of it.  The acting over the entire movie was fine as well.

And don’t even get me started on how the villain has the power to freeze people.  At least that’s what it looks like.  Yet he is the Devil’s son.  Really?  I was able to overlook most of my theological issues with the film, but this really got to me.  (And no, this movie doesn't fit in with the Biblical view of the Devil, but I wasn't expecting it to, either.)

I have some friends who are fans of the character who enjoyed this movie, but I expect they will be the only ones.  Casual comic book fans can pass right on by Ghost Rider.

This review is part of the 2014 Funny Pages Write-Off.

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