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Non-Review Review: Ghost Rider – Spirit of Vengeance

I’m convinced that there must be a half-decent Ghost Rider movie to be made. In fact, I’m sure that Nicolas Cage already made it, in the form of the deliciously pulpy Drive Angry, which touched on a lot of the grindhouse and B-movie qualities one expects from a movie featuring a stunt driver with a flaming skull who sucks souls from criminals. In contrast, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance feels like it’s trying a little too hard. The script feels just a little bit too stilted and conventional, while the direction seems to overcompensate, feeling gimmicky to the point of being distracting and almost disorientating.

Hell’s Angel…

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The Sequel Dilemma: What Does It Take to Convince You To See a Sequel to a Really Bad Movie?

I can’t help it. I am kinda excited to see Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. I know the first Ghost Rider was terrible. I sat through it. However, there’s still a little part of me that’s yearning to get a look at what Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have done to the series. After all, the pair helmed Crank, perhaps the quintessential “very silly, very exciting” action movie. And, to be fair, there have been any number of movie franchises that have recovered from a near catastrophic instalment to offer something new and exciting and engaging.

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Second Chances for Sequels…

What if you have to pee when you’re on fire?

It’s awesome.

I have a confession to make. I am actually kinda looking forward to Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. The trailer looks like it could be either off-the-wall over-the-top brilliant, or mind-numbingly terrifying, but promises to be interesting either way. Still, the taint of the original Ghost Rider, perhaps the weakest comic book adaptation of the past decade (and there have been some weak adaptations), hangs around the title, and I can’t help but wonder if my dislike of the original film should somehow mute my anticipation for the sequel. After all, I’ve seen the concept fail on screen before, so why should I feel even a hint of excitement for a follow-up to a ridiculously crap film? Appropriately enough, with sequels, is it once burnt and twice shy?

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Ghost Rider by Jason Aaron Omnibus

You’re the divine wrath of God himself, Johnny Blaze. Yet you spend all your time cruising around the U.S. of A. Did you really think that was the only country God cared about?

– Sara, The Last Stand of the Spirits of Vengeance

Ghost Rider is a strange character. Created in the seventies, he saw his stock take a huge increase in value during the nineties in the era of “darker and edgier” heroes before slowly fading down to relative obscurity. The closest the character has come to mainstream success has been the god-awful Nicolas Cage Ghost Rider film. So, he makes a strange choice to receive a Marvel Omnibus, somewhat comparable to the Omnibus collecting  The Immortal Iron Fist a few years back. The prestige format is usually reserved for the best of the best, high profile runs (past and present) on characters of either historical importance or receiving a feature film in the coming year. Jason Aaron is a creator rising in prominence, but it still seems a strange choice to publish his Ghost Rider run in the format. That said, it is perhaps the best run ever written on the character.

Head-to-head, skull-to-skull...

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