chocochuy: Kobato Hanato on a Sunny Day (Queen of Cuteness)
chocochuy ([personal profile] chocochuy) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2012-02-18 09:23 pm

Cute Romance Week and Movie Experience : Riding with Vengeance

Greetings, Mortals! Chocochuy reporting for duty...after a long absence!

Today I would like to take the chance to provide you with a double treat : A contribution to the Cute Romance Week as well as providing a brief review of the newest Ghost Rider film which I had a chance to see some hours ago. Now sit back and enjoy the show!

WARNING : THERE MIGHT BE A LOT OF SPOILERS SO DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE THE PENANCE STARE ON ME, THANKS IN ADVANCE.

I am usually more a fan of the cosmic and light-hearted stories from Marvel so that might explain why I have enjoyed the films of Spiderman, Thor and Captain America but there are rare moments where I am inclined to get a fix of darker and edgier Marvel stories. One of mine favorite darker heroes (since 1994) has always been the one and only Ghost Rider, both versions and regardless of the messy retcons, so I remember I was too excited back on 2007 when the first film was released only for me to have some mixed feelings once the film was over. Don`t get me wrong, the performances of both Nicolas Cage and Sam Elliot kicked ass but I think the story was very weak since the very beginning with the elemental demons, No-Blackheart and San Venganza (Its name is funnier if you know Spanish). Ghost Rider had his chance and he would not longer ride the movies` highway.

Or so I thought.

I think it was late 2011 when I had a chance to see the surprising trailer for Ghost Rider : Spirit of Vengeance and even when I am not much of a fan of the Marvel Knights line of films (I am looking at you, Punisher War Zone), I think my inner child wanted to give the Spirit of Vengeance and vowed to at least take a look once February 2012 became a reality. It was earlier today that I decided to go see it at the Matinée hour (since it`s 40 % cheaper) and enjoy the movie without much noise.

The film was basically 95 minutes long and while I enjoyed its "so bad it`s good" status, allow to give you my personal appreciation of the movie. Follow it if you want or disregard it if you want to see the film on your own. Oh, and by the way, this is where the spoilers start.

The Pros:

- Even when the explanation of the Ghost Riders was not so bad on the first film, we get a mixed origin for GR  with  Zarathos been an Angel of Justice that was perverted by the Devil to become the Spirit of Vengeance as some kind of twisted joke. Seeing how the Spirit of Vengeance has become into a crazy Knight Templar punishing all kinds of people regardless of how silly their crimes were (even implying that he had burn the souls of people that made illegal downloads, mind you) and then redeeming himself at the end of the film was not perfect but it was a neat heroic evolution.

- Idris Elba kicking ass by playing Moureau, an alcoholic warrior monk who not only befriends Johnny Blaze but manages to actually separate him from his union with Zarathos thru a heartwarming scene where Johnny confesses his sins. Moureau`s dying scene fighting Blackout is also worth mentioning since, regardless of Blackout`s darkness and decay touch powers, he gets to headbutt him while shouting "I can still see the light". The man is a walking Crowning Moment of Awesome.

- Violante Placido and Chirstopher Lambert didn`t had much screentime but their performances were quite good, at least to me.

- GR using the same taunt that was used to mock him once he starts delivering some unholy retribution. Simply but effective.

- As Johnny Blazes mentions how the Devil uses a lot of forms to gain followers, a picture of Jerry Springer appears on the screen.

- The final fight between GR, Blackout and the Devil might have been better but it felt like a good homage to films like the Road Warrior.

- Ghost Rider, after losing his bike against some mercenaries, jumps into a giant crane truck and uses his hellfire to turn it into Trull the Unhuman or something like that to bring out some unholy vengeance. I don`t know if that was the most absurd use of demonic magic or the most awesome scene in all the film but I blew my mind away.

- Army Ninjas protecting the Devil and his posse of politicians, war mongers and executives.

- Watching an abridged version of the main storyline on the first 20 chapters of the 2006 GR version where the Devil is not actually all powerful on Earth but requiring the use of avatars and human agents. While in the comic book there were 666 avatars of the Devil for GR to eliminate, the movie decides to use only 1 avatar that begins burning out the more he uses his powers, thus justifying him to sire children for him to inhabit for the years to come. His defeat at GR`s hands, while too fast, was satisfactory as he was buried back into Hell before he could react. I actually applauded on the cinema during that scene since it showed GR having certain strategy while fighting the Lord of Lies.

- Ghost Rider peeing like a flamethrower and whenever Johnny Blaze goes nuts. It`s Nicolas Cage at his best at comedy.

The Cons:

- While one might imagine that Dark and Edgy are mandatory for Ghost Rider, this movie sinned a lot with the explicit scenes of GR actually killing in cold blood as he burns mooks to ashes, eat their souls and spits hellfire bullets with prejudice. Don`t get me wrong, I liked him to do some of that stuff but I guess it would have worked better on more dangerous foes and not the poor saps he killed instead. The dark comedy used all over the film seemed rushed at best and did not produce many laughs from yours truly.

- The Devil`s son plot has been used to death already and this film did not provide any new stuff to the trope.

- GR`s costume was way too simple. I get it that they wanted to make him look less than Danny Ketch but a charred black jacket was not enough. I liked the charred skull effect but the rest of him seemed lazy at best.

- Johnny defied Mephisto by keeping his GR powers at the first film. This film starts with him realizing it was a stupid idea to do so since he has become into a berserker killing machine. Was not Johnny Blaze supposed to be an expert demonologist that could have found a way to take advantage of his curse? Imagine this film been the reversal of the Incredible Hulk film from 2008. While the Hulk film retconned its 2003 predecessor with great results, the retcons on Spirit of Vengeance can be random.

- Lack of many supernatural adversaries to favor the use of European mercenaries. Heck, even the Army Ninjas did not shine as much as I initially expected. If only we could get GR to fight some giant demons or monsters for a change.

- While it is implied, there is really no Penance Stare on this film since GR simply stares at his victims (without special effects as in the first film) and they suddenly turn into ashes after 50 seconds. The first mook he tries it actually looks confused and mildly scared but never remorseful of his actions. It is later used on Blackout where he simply burns and decays.

- Blackout felt like a joke villain with a destructive power. For most of the film he was a normal mercenary that had the bad luck of crossing paths with GR and then gets enhanced by the Devil to be an albino demon whose touch brings decay (I suppose been an albino cyber-mutant vampire is not as appealing as it was in 1990). One could expect him to act more demonic but for the remainder of the film he becomes a joke character with scenes of him not been able to eat anything except for a Twinkie and been easily pawned by both Moureau and GR. I expected more respect for my pal Blackout as I discussed here but it seems the producers were not able to create the same chemistry between both adversaries.

- The Devil been called "Doctor Roarke" whenever he appears. I know this is a minor flaw but I get the impression that this was a reference to the Roarke Family from Sin City. It did nothing for the character.

- Ghost Rider peeing like a flamethrower and whenever Johnny Blaze goes nuts. It`s Nicolas Cage at his worst at comedy and I am beginning to think he is getting cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Just imagine the following video of him as Fu Manchu and picture it multiplied by 10 to understand how he acts on the movie.


(Well, now that I think about it, watching him go nuts was also very awesome and kudos to him for actually having fun.)

SPOILERS END HERE, MORTALS.


In conclusion, comrades, I would like to comment that, while this film is not the Citizen Kane of superhero movies, it is a great popcorn muncher film to kill the time and it would be much more appreciated at the safety of home. I will give it a 6.5 out of 10.

Now, to provide you with my contribution to the Cute Romance Week on its final day and, since I was talking about GR, allow me to give you the romantic reunion between Johnny Blaze and Roxanne Simpson moments after Zarathos and Centurious have been trapped forever.





There is nothing more romantic like riding into the sunset with the love of your life as Mephisto laughs to his heart`s content while he tortures an ancient Angel/Demon God/Spirit of Vengeance (Arrgh!) and an immortal man. Ah, the beauty of Love.

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