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More coherent and fun than the first
on 3 September 2012
This will be a pretty divisive film. Unfortunately Hollywood seems unwilling to bite the bullet and give us the Ghost Rider film we deserve - one where he's genuinely dark and dangerous, where the foes are appallingly vicious and lethal, and where the peril feels real.
Instead (maybe it's Cage, maybe it's the producers wimping out) what we get is a slightly better movie than the first. A little darker and dirtier, this time we get a grungier Ghost Rider - covered in leather that's charred and flaking in the heat, and riding a bike that looks more dirty and beaten up, less 'Hollywood'. We also get Idris Elba's alcoholic warrior monk.
However we also get considerable predictability - a mum trying to save her kid (pretty ineptly), the devil trying to steal the kid for an evil prophecy, and some henchmen for the Rider to destroy. Cage is thankfully a tiny bit more reined-in this time, playing the soul torment angle better; and other improvements include the idea that his Rider will punish the seemingly innocent too ("Everybody's guilty of something") and the fact that this time his main opponents are tougher to kill - unlike in the first movie where he pretty much killed them the moment he got in range.
The effects are fun, the story is weak, the acting is patchy, the violence and threat could be better, and it's still not the film we all hoped.
Is it a disappointment? (Even to someone like me who's not a die-hard comic book fan)? Yes.
Is it still quite a lot of fun? Yes. Does it expand and improve on the original like a sequel should? Again, yes. Don't write it off. If you're looking for some decent entertainment, this Rider's still got a few miles left in the tank.