Saturday, 18 February 2012

Xcursus: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Movie Review

[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.

The movie starts off with a "recap" that's basically the gist of the first movie albeit in an extremely vibrant, colorful, dynamic animation! I absolutely LOVED it. The best part is that this amazing animated imagery will continue to appear during the movie, especially when there are concepts about the GR world that need to be explained to the viewer.

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 direction by the dynamic director duo of Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor is really good! While in GR 1 things are dragged on, this movie moves at a brisk pace, not wasting time on unnecessary things, keeping you interested all along. I was a tad disappointed though that I wasn't able to put my finger on the exact scenes for which Neveldine went on roller-skates, held onto Elba's bike & shot! Loved the whole tone of the film & the tongue in cheek, sarcastic humor. There was one scene that was cut so well that it was humorous...There are also some very other worldly scenes- either in just black & white, or having like a hazy black, white & grey tone which was very refreshing to watch...

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.
With roughly 85% of the movie being CG-enhanced, Visual Effects play a big role here- & they were simply AWESOME! The fiery skull looks waaaay more real this time. The burnt look on the skull & bike is a great idea imo, to show that he's been GR for a while now...And the fire just looks way more wickedly cool on that black skull than the plain ol' white one...All the effects are well done & look really well created. You can tell a lot of time was taken on designing things for this movie than was done on the first one.

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...
Now about the acting. Though Nic was good for the most part, there were times when he was off & it sorta made it look like you're seeing a scene from Superhero Movie 2! It's almost laughable. Especially when he's in human form & is trying to portray the madness that Blaze goes through when trying to resist the urge to turn into GR. It's just wierd. So don't say I didn't warn ya!

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 CiarĂ¡n 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.

4 comments:

  1. I haven't seen the movie yet but after reading the rerview above and on many other sites i fell that it will be a good 3d adventure I'm gonna watch it tonight , hope that i dont come out of the hall criticizing myself for watching it .

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    1. That's great! Hope you enjoyed the movie...This was precisely my main aim of writing the review, cos most of those who hated the 1st movie will avoid this one like the plague. But it's actually not bad- pretty good in fact, if (as I said) you go with the mindset of watching a fun, action-packed movie in the cinema.

      Oh & sadly I wasn't able to catch the flick in 3D...But that's a whole other story. Grrrrr :P

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  2. will watch the movie.. hopefully i will like it too.. thank you for the review.. by the love ur blog tooo...

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    1. Awesome! Watch out for my other 2012 superhero movies' reviews as well...
      Oh & thanks! You can subscribe to it since ya like it- you know the drill. Just saw your blog too & am now subscribing to it...Pretty nifty one you got going there too...

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