Reviewed by: John DeYoung
Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer
Demon Possession and Influence—Can Christians be demon possessed? In what ways can Satan and his demons influence believers? Answer
Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer
Why was Hell made? Answer
Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer
Will there literally be a burning fire in Hell? Answer
What should you be willing to do to stay out of Hell? Answer
How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer
What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer
The Good News—How to be saved from Hell. Answer
|Featuring:||Nicolas Cage, Wes Bentley, Eva Mendes, Matthew Long, Peter Fonda, Sam Elliott, Donal Logue|
|Director:||Mark Steven Johnson|
|Producer:||David S. Goyer, Stan Lee, Gary Foster|
|Distributor:||Columbia Pictures / Sony|
“Long ago he made a deal to save someone he loved.”
From the pages of Marvel Comics comes the chain wielding, motorcycle-riding superhero, spirit of vengeance, “The Ghost Rider.” “Leaving Las Vegas” and “National Treasure” star Nicholas Cage plays Johnny Blaze, a motorcycle stuntman by day, but at night, in the presence of evil, he becomes the flaming skull rider of right.
In order to save the life of his father, Johnny sells his soul to Mephistopheles (The Devil) played by “Easy Rider” star Peter Fonda. Along with Cage and Fonda, “2 Fast 2 Furious” actress, Eva Mendez plays Roxanne Simpson, a television reporter, who is trying to get a lead on this mysterious rider of the night and Johnny’s old flame. (Get it, flame? Flaming skull?)
With every good superhero, you must have a villain. Enter Blackheart, Mephistopheles’ power hungry nemesis and son—portrayed by “Weirdsville’s” Wes Bentley. He wants to create a new Hell and dethrone daddy as the king of the netherworld. Mephistopheles agrees to release Johnny’s soul, if he consents to be the supernatural agent of justice and defeat his sinister son and his entourage and stop his evil plan. Will he be successful? He is the Ghost Rider, after all.
As a comic book fan, I never could understand how someone that comes from the depths of Hell or practices black magic can be a symbol for truth, justice and the American way. Ghost Rider, Son of Satan and Dr. Strange come to mind. To me, Ghost Rider is a secondary Marvel Comics character that is little known to non-comic action and adventure fans, for example Spider-Man, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Punisher and X-Men. Before the movies came out, everyone had a pretty good idea who these characters were.
Before a “Ghost Rider,” “Daredevil” or even a “Blade” movie was released, Marvel Films should have considered putting together a Captain America, Thor or even an Iron Man flick (which is now in production starring Robert Downey Jr.)—first before going to these second stringers. Even a live action Avengers movie would have been great! It’s like DC coming out with a Phantom Stranger or a Question movie (all together now, who?) before making a Batman or Superman flick. OK. I’m done making my comic book movie etiquette speech.
Being familiar with the character and the series, I can say that Ghost Rider’s fans will be very disappointed. There were a few times I thought Nicholas Cage was going to go into his Elvis impersonation. The way I understood the film, Johnny Blaze came from Texas, yet Cage would lose his Southern drawl, from time to time. When he tried to bring it back into his character, I thought he was going to burst into “Hound Dog.” I know that Cage always wanted to do a comic book based movie, but he should have stayed away from this one.
Cage’s co-star, Eva Mendes was very attractive, but her acting abilities left a little to be desired. At times, I felt she was struggling to be convincing in her role as Blaze’s love interest, and it sure came through on screen. To me, Peter Fonda as the devilish Mephistopheles was really bad casting. If I were get somebody to play a role like this, I would not get somebody who looked like somebody’s grandfather. Fonda’s devil appeared too soft and gentle for somebody that is capable of doing unspeakable evil.
One thing that really bothered me about “Ghost Rider” was the comic relief. In other words, there was too much. Here is a story about a guy who sold his soul to the Devil and became his fiery skeletal “bounty hunter” for the rest of his natural born life. I’m sorry. I missed the humor in all that. Mark Steven Johnson, who also wrote “Daredevil,” really missed the essence of what a Ghost Rider story should be. Snappy one-liners and corny play on words isn’t something I would have incorporated into a movie like this. “My skull feels like it’s on fire, but I’ll be alright?!” I just kept thinking, “Please stop!”
The one thing I did like about the film was its look. The special effects were awesome, and, at least, the features of the Ghost Rider character were right on track. It was if the Ghost Rider, himself, stepped out of the pages of the comic and landed smack on the screen. Bravo, too, to the creative team. One person who truly impressed me in this film was “Hulk” star Sam Elliott, who played the caretaker of a cemetery that finds Johnny after his first transformation. His portrayal and his brooding nature really fit.
As a Christian, I would stay away from this movie at all cost. To me, this movie gives honor to anything that represents evil. I was totally taken back by the demographics of the audience, which consisted of many impressionable youth. The problem I see is that because Ghost Rider is considered a comic book hero, many of these kids will think that maybe Satan’s not that bad, if he developed Ghost Rider to fight another evil entity. However, Jesus says differently in Mark 3:22-23 and 26. I’ll take His word for it.
In order for us to get the message of salvation out, I truly believe that the Christian community must consider using non-traditional ways of spreading the gospel, much like the way the dark side is using such tactics as movies, television, music, video games and comic books to desensitize our society. The definition of good and evil is not a black and white issue anymore—more like a shade of gray. In this day and age, righteous and unrighteous is not as clear cut anymore. In this case, I have not seen a serious Christian comic book since Eternal Studios came out with Archangels, The Saga. As a major comic book fan and a Christian, nothing would please me more than to see something like Archangel turn into the next Spider-Man, Hulk, or X-Men.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None
also see the sequel: “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” (2012) review
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.