[Before I begin this review I'd like to mention that even though they may or may not be related to the X-Men, I'll still be posting my reviews for the superhero/comic book movies of 2012. So expect my views on The Amazing Spiderman, The Avengers AND The Dark Knight Rises!]
The first comic book movie of 2012 is finally out- Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (SOV)! Now I know many of you guys were really hating on the first movie & Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze, but I don't & I also think SOV really captures the essence of the Ghost Rider (GR) character.
With the origin of Ghost Rider explained, the movie begins with French biker priest, Moreau (Idris Elba) riding down to the Church to find out if "the boy" is safe. This boy, Danny, happens to be of great interest to Rourke aka The Devil, the reason for which is unraveled during the course of the movie. So Danny & his Romanian mother, Nadya, (the unknown but very gorgeous, Violante Placido) are on the run from the Devil & his henchmen i.e. Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth) & his goons. And of course coming to the rescue of mother & child is Ghost Rider & Moreau.
Now let's get onto the various points in the movie. Story-wise imo there was a lot more on offer this time around than with the first GR movie.
The action is SUPER-fantastic! All of GR's powers are on full spotlight in this film. While the previous movie mainly only showed him using his Penance Stare, this time around you'll get to see LOADS of incredible chain action, hand-to-hand combat & victims crumbling to fiery ash & smoke! If you've played the Marvel Ultimate Alliance game you'll recognize moves like: Ravaging Flame, Fiendish Chains (see below), Chains of Retribution (spinning around with his red hot chain), Fear & of course, the Penance Stare! Another great thing here is that the true extent of his power is revealed- turning ANY vehicle he rides into a hell vehicle.
Talking about "designing"- the costume. LOVE Blaze's burnt look on his suit when he turns GR. Even though Nic's hair in this movie looks SO crappy (reminds me of Tom Hanks' HORRIBLE Da Vinci Code hair), he looks great in that leather suit. If we are talking about the look as whole though, that is including his hell bike, then his new ride may not please motorbike entusiasts as much as the Harley Davidson did in GR 1. This time round GR lights the road on fire with his Yamaha V-Max. I went for the flick with a pal who also happens to be a huge bike fan (unlike me :P) so he was pretty bummed that they swapped the Harley for this one. But what pissed him off even more was that all the bike sounds being used in the movie were that of the Harley! Odd...
The rest weren't bad, but then again they didn't have much to do, save for, perhaps, Johnny Whitworth. I liked his Blackout more than GR 1's Blackheart. Maybe it was the powers of his or simply his makeup, but he seemed more appealing as a villian. I also Ciarán Hinds' Devil liked more as he seemed more menacing (when he's not getting totally screwed by GR of course :P) compared to GR 1's Devil, who imo just seemed a bit too calm, cool & sophisticated to be the Devil incarnate! Violante frankly didn't have much to do other than run around, bat those gorgeous eyes of her's & show off with her fake but sexy Romanian accent. :P (Now if only Scarlet Johansson could take a cue from her & do a damn Russian accent for the Avengers!)
All in all, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a good popcorn action flick that's not meant to be taken seriously. My advice to you is just to go for the movie with an open mind & no huge expectations & you'll be satisfied. I'd give the movie a 7/10. It certainly outdid it's predecessor imo.