Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Ghostrider: Spirit of Vengeance" Review

Well, this will mark my first time reviewing a movie, so I hope you guys dig it.  As stated in my previous post, my lovely wife took me to see “Ghostrider: Spirit of Vengeance”.  You know, going into the movie, I wanted to have a completely open mind to what the co-directors had in mind for my beloved childhood icon.  I saw all of the trailers for the film and I thought it looked really f’n cool visually, and I was really excited to see if the writers could give me a story worth the character’s time.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of looking at some other reviews prior to watching it.  I don’t normally give movie critics a whole lot of merit.  Mainly because I picture them typing away in their mother’s basement (btw-my mother doesn’t have a basement).  Anyway…some of the other guys just seemed to have a bad attitude going into the thing.  It was either “Nicholas Cage is over the top and forced” or “the story is too thin” or “there were too many slow points”.  I should have done this immediately after reading those reviews, but let’s just critique the critic’s for a moment.  First, Nick Cage is “always” over the top and forced.  Cases in point are “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Con Air”.  One of them won an Academy Award, the other won a job as my beer coaster.  Two, the story is about a guy who sold his soul to the devil and now seeks redemption.  I think we can all relate to that.  Three; I kind of wonder if the guys that had a problem with this movie’s slow points were also the ones who could not stop sucking Nolan’s wink finger while reviewing “The Dark Knight”.  I’ll get back to that later.  The co-directors (Neveldine and Taylor) are the guys that made “Crank” and it’s follow up, so you kind of get where they are coming from visually.  They have a very unique “I’m really a camera man on crack” feel that lends itself really well to the comic book genre; especially that dark, “Marvel of the 70’s” variety.  Keep in mind I saw this in 2-D, so I don’t know how their style would translate in 3-D, and I’m almost afraid to find out.  There were also some really cool animated scenes that were used for quickly and neatly explaining some of the back story (for those who don’t know how Johnny Blaze got to this point) and to introduce some other characters and concepts (like what the “Spirit of Vengeance” was originally) .  I thought it was nicely done and was strangely reminiscent of segues used in “Kung Fu Panda”, except more adult -less panda.  The CG here was also impressive, and I applaud the film makers for going outside of the “creature of the night” box with this one.  My point being; there are some great visuals that take place in broad daylight that would have not been as effective in a dark environment.  For instance, the black and “toasted” skull effect and look of “The Rider” is really killer because you can see a lot of detail in the lighted scenes.  Also, the smoke effect is what really makes the CG blend with the practical effects and it makes all the difference.  As I stated before, the story is much like others in the genre.  If you are O.K. with the retelling of concepts (I am btw) than I don’t see you having any problem with the narrative or the pacing of this film.  It was written, in part, by a guy named David S. Goyer (Blade, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight…yeah that guy), probably one of my favorite comic/movie writers.  I think that this movie falls squarely and surely into the “Marvel Knights” line, certainly more so than the last “Punisher” movie.  “Ghostrider: Spirit of Vengeance” kept me interested the entire time.  There were no slow spots for me.  Whether the directors were dousing me with visuals or the writers were giving me some new points to ponder, I was thoroughly amused.  Look at it this way; I worked a twelve hour shift, had a nice big dinner, and caught the 9:45pm showing and was still talking about it afterward.  That’s a hell of a lot better than my first viewing of “The Dark Knight”, which I’ll admit is probably more of a thinker…but still.  Hope this  review was entertaining, if not entirely helpful.  Barlow-Out!


  1. My god Barlow, this sounds remarkably like an un-bias, well thought out review, as opposed to the usual stream of piss and vinegar that comes from people who seem to think a Ghost Rider movie has to have the narrative complexity of Citizen Kane. Very well written, and surprise, surprise, your writing has a "voice." I can't wait to read more!

  2. Hey Marc! Fancy seeing you here lol. Good review Matt! You're definitely a man with many talents, other than being the voice of god for many old IE fans (which I am, but thats another story ;) )

    Havent gotten out to see Spirit of Vengeance yet, as the first GR movie really turned me off any possible sequel. However with Neveldine and Taylor on board it has potential in my mind to be good...but then I recall that other comic book based movie Jonah Hex, and it makes me very much question the pairs ability to pull of a movie that is not written and/or conceived of by them. I'll have to go out on a limb and take your word and give it a try.

    Next time you get out to the movies, check out Safe House. Fucking awesome.

    Keep it heavy Brother!