Entertaining Platt: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

February 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

The movie's mostly okay when Idris Elba's onscreen.

I never saw the first Ghost Rider movie. I heard it was awful and took everybody who said so at their word.

Of course, if I did that with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, I’d have to assume the sequel was even worse. Critics seem to hate it even more than the first one.

But I didn’t make that assumption. Instead, I went to see for myself. And…

I really didn’t think it sucked beyond all capacity for enjoyment.

Yes, it’s a big dumb movie about a big dumb dude with a big dumb burning skull and a big dumb burning motorcycle. But I’ve seen some of these same people sing the praises of that Transformers movie crap, so whatever.

Spirit of Vengeance is silly, but earnestly and creatively so. Plus, it has Idris Elba to offset Nicolas Cage’s craptastic over-the-top acting.

And, to make Cage look like a better actor, they dropped Christopher Lambert into the mix as a crazy canyon-dwelling monk from an order that apparently takes pride in putting Mad Libs all over each other’s faces.

Here’s what I liked about the movie:

* The camera work. Lots of neat shots. Apparently, the directors are lunatics who will do lots of crazy things to get a decent visual.
* Idris Elba. He seemed like he was having fun with the silliness of it all.
* The big set piece fights. Especially in the quarry, when the Rider converts a huge construction machine into a burning, churning death dynamo.
* Some of the dialogue didn’t make me cringe.
* The Superman II twist, with Johnny temporarily disposing of the Rider’s abilities.

Here’s what was meh about it for me:

* The Terminator 2 plot rehash. “Come with me if you want to snark” should have been one of the lines in this movie, as Johnny Blaze is enlisted to save a little kid and his mother from the Devil himself while trying not to turn into a heartless killing machine on them.

And here’s what I didn’t like about it:

* Cage. I’d rather have seen a movie with Idris Elba as the Rider. Elba improved every scene he was in.
* The minion villain. He had a cool power (decay), but he lacked any real acting power.

We saw it in 3D. I don’t recall anything in particular that really stood out as being a WOW! moment because it was in 3D. So, you wouldn’t really miss anything by watching the 2D version.

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