Ghost Rider is one of those pre-MCU superhero movies that’s often reviled by fans of the ultra-successful cinematic universe.
Starring Nicolas Cage as the titular cursed hero, Ghost Rider also features performances by Eva Mendes, Wes Bentley, Sam Elliott, Donal Logue and Peter Fonda, although even with such an impressive cast this film is not fondly remembered.
The reasons why are painfully evident – there’s plenty of laughable CGI and hammy dialogue throughout, but by far the worst part of Ghost Rider is the disappointing action sequences.
For a superhero flick, you’d expect there to be at least one decent fight scene, wouldn’t you? Well, Ghost Rider doesn’t even manage that. While the hero does in fact face numerous (demon? I think they were supposed to be demons) adversaries, there isn’t a single interesting fight scene. Instead, Ghost Rider dispatches each and every foe with almost comic ease, even without having any real grasp on his powers. The final fight against Blackheart is a little more challenging, although it’s still all over within a couple of short minutes.
In fact, this half-baked approach is the film’s ultimate downfall. The hero is probably the least interesting part of proceedings, with Cage’s time as stunt rider Johnny Blaze instead being far more entertaining.
Cage plays a shockingly grounded hero, and despite looking slightly too old for the role of carefree bad-boy Blaze in the beginning, he soon settles into the role as the character accepts his curse. Cage is possibly the only actor in the film who doesn’t seem to be phoning it in, with perhaps the exception of Sam Elliott as Carter Slade (Blaze’s Ghost Rider predecessor).
Perhaps the saddest thing about all this is that the movie’s general premise is sound. An origin for the lesser known hero was a genuinely interesting move from Marvel, but Ghost Rider simply fell short where it mattered: he looked awful – especially considering that Fantastic Four (we reviewed that, check it out) was released two years prior, and Johnny Storm, another superhero wreathed in flame, looked far better than Blaze.
Summary: This superhero film was far from super, but it’s not without a certain guilty-pleasure quality. It’s cheesy, it’s filled with awful dialogue and even worse CGI, and it’s really no wonder that it was universally panned.
Highlight: Any of the several moments where Cage wordlessly points at something in the most dramatic manner possible – pure unintentional hilarity.