Flaming Skull

Ghost Rider makes the same mistakes as every other edgy Marvel adaptation made in the 2000’s. By favoring clean PG-13 campiness over the R rated scares an anti-hero like this is made for. No wonder Ghost Rider and Daredevil share director Mark Steven Johnson. Plus Marvel foolishly sold their rights to the Spider-Man owners at Sony. Ghost Rider is one of many dark characters created by Marvel in the 70’s. First appearing in Marvel Spotlight #5, Ghost Rider has an edge look that he totally pulls off (according to Rebel Wilson). It doesn’t get more badass than a spiky leather-clad motorcyclist with a flaming skull riding a fiery chopper. I definitely recognized the look when I first saw the trailer. My mom helped by getting comics for my brother and I, so it only made sense for her to take us to see it in theaters.

Despite all the demons, Ghost Rider has no horror atmosphere. I was 11 and none of the intended jump scares made me flinch. Likely thanks to Nicholas Cage’s involvement. Rather than the alcoholic chainsmoker from the comics, this Johnny Blaze enjoys Jelly Beans and orangutan videos. Cage has always been a huge comic book fan, but why Ghost Rider? His origin remains the same. With a young Johnny selling his soul to the Marvel version of the devil, Mephisto. Played by Peter Fonda in a clever bit of irony. When his stuntman father dies anyway, Johnny rides off with the Ghost Rider curse. Leaving behind his girlfriend Roxanne! She’s blonde in the comic, but you can’t go wrong with gorgeous latina Eva Mendes. Cage brings a lot of his cheesy Cage-isms to the role, but why does Roxanne have a Magic 8 Ball?

The main threat is the demon son of the devil Blackheart. Who looks more like an emo Wes Bentley than a monstrous demon. Similar to Blade, not just because of Donal Logue. He plans to unleash Hell on Earth with a contract of souls. Along with the help of his elemental boy band. Johnny receives help from the original Phantom Rider who also acts as Caretaker. You get what you’d expect from a cowboy Sam Elliott. As bad as Ghost Rider technically is, the initial transformation is awesome. As is his look, chain, Hell Cycle, and soul burning Penance stare. It’s just the CGI that looks more goofy than edgy. Blackheart is only defeated when he foolishly becomes Legion and has all 1,000 souls burned. Ghost Rider can’t hold a flame to its source material, but I still have fun with the uncaged portrayal.

18. Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider rides

Followed by: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

3 thoughts on “Flaming Skull

  1. I really enjoyed this one myself, and thought it still maintained it dark, edgy roots fairly well. An R rating, then as well as now, would’ve probably resulted in a gore drenched bloodbath that seems to be the only thing Horror and Horror-esque fans want nowadays, taking away from the atmospheric roots that it was most likely intended to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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