Just days after basing my opinion of the impending release of Ghost Rider on its trailer and my knowledge of the comic's history, Cinematical has validated my uncanny vision:
- So after months of delay, several unimpressive pieces of promotional material, and an alleged press blackout, tonight (only a few short hours before its release date) we finally got to take a look at Mark Steven Johnson's Ghost Rider -- a Marvel Comics adaptation that, frankly, never should have even made it past the pre-production stage. This is a shapeless, confused and entirely muddle-headed movie, and it's one that got green-lit only because, hey, Spider-Man, Batman and X-Men turn huge profits, and as of a few years back, each movie studio was falling all over one another to get their hands on some of the "secondary" Marvel characters.
And therein lies the basic problem with Ghost Rider: It's not about anything. One could argue that the Spider-Man films are about growing up and learning responsibility; that the X-Men represent the strength of the marginalized, the disenfranchised and the weird; Batman focuses on that inner battle between light and dark that we all have to deal with. Ghost Rider? Well, it's about a skull-faced undead motorcycle rider who wields a chain and whose face is on fire. Beyond that, I give up. I've seen coffee commercials with meatier subtextual elements.
- Seems that Meph needs Johnny to become his "ghost rider," a magical bounty hunter who must stand in the way of the evil Blackheart (Wes Bentley, so wooden he splinters) and his three elemental sidekicks. Johnny must also woo his old girlfriend (Eva Mendes, counting the beats until her own line deliveries but packing a whole bunch of cleavage-intensive blouses), chuckle briefly with his comic relief (Donal Logue, completely un-comic), and deal with huge volleys of exposition from a wizened old weirdo (Sam Elliott, the only actor in the flick who seems to realize how insipid the whole thing is).