This review isn’t exactly a review, see it more like me geeking out on one of my most beloved superheroes ever.
There has been some time after the release of the second Ghost Rider movie and buy now I don’t think that there is a person out there that doesn’t know how bad this movie is (he either saw it himself or as in my case got a warning call from a friend or two).
As everyone knows
Everyone that doesn’t live in a cave that is.
no movie can have a frame to frame reproduction of a comic's or a book’s aesthetic and feel, at best they can stay faithfully to the majority of the script giving good references to the original work as the Lord of The Rings Trilogy, at worst we have something like Eragon.
We as viewers understand that (trolls excluded) and cut some slack to the poor bastards that rewrite and edit the story.
But then something like Ghost Rider comes along and pees in our dreams.
I won’t start now the yammering on the movie (the first) tow much time has pass from its release and many others have yammer longer and probably better than me, I will say two thinks thou:
1) I liked Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider, it fits him.
2) The only scene I liked is with the two riders in the desert.
That’s the one!
For someone that doesn’t know Ghost Rider through the comic this is just another mediocre movie, for someone that knows Ghost Rider it’s a tragedy.
Lets see why.
The origin story got in to the movie about right, Johnny Blaze, son of a stuntman, after the death of his father gets adopted buy a stuntman that his father was working with and his family, when he was fifteen he gets in to an accident with his bike and his foster mother dies, before she dies she makes him promise to never ride in the show, so he doesn’t, years later his foster father gets diagnosed with cancer and he is biter that he doesn’t have a son to take over the job (I guess his daughter, an excellent stuntwoman in her own merit doesn’t count), so Johnny makes a deal with the devil to save his foster father, the deal is struck but then the old man without knowing that he is cured, tries an extremely dangerous stun thinking that if he is to die he better do it with his leather on, he dies and Johnny in a scene of anguish, pain, complete stupidity and useless bravado grabs a bike and complete the stun himself. The devil comes soon after to collect but Johnny is resisting him, just in time and to save the day Roxanne walks in and saves his ass.
Sure that’s how it works.
In the following weeks Johnny Cage pass his days as a stuntman and his nights he tries to hide as he transforms in to the Ghost Rider.
He mostly tries to keep a low profile and you really need to get out of your way to make him come after you, (unlike some other superheroes), in the first 13 issues the only think that really makes him move his ass is the constant kidnapping of his girl.
After a long line of failures Satan finally manages to get Roxanne to renounce her protection on Johnny thus putting him under Satan’s power again until this guy appears.
He reminds me of someone, but I just can’t remember whom.
He frees him from Satan’s power and cut him off his deal, he steel transforms as the Ghost Rider the night but now he is weaker, a lot weaker.
Even in his newfound weakness Ghost Rider starts to go out of his way to help others and later he discovers that he actually likes that, oh! and that he can now control the transformation.
At that point I firmly believe Marvel couldn’t hold her self back any longer and started throwing idiotic villains at him and some heroes to balance the tide, so we see him team up with the Stunt-Master, Daredevil and The Son of Satan (without of course counting his crossover with the Thing, Hercules and others) and saving damsels in distress the one after the other, he manages to get a job in a movie as a stun double of Stun-Master? (wtf? Seriously wtf?) and finds for himself some new gals to love. He has managed to get his power back (even more that he previously had) as he faces the devil and exorcise him from a woman that turns to be Roxanne Simpson his first and true love. For various reasons he leaves here. His curse wins out in the end and he has to leave the set for good as a) the movie gets canceled and b) his demonic nature revealed to the public. No worries though because soon after this happens!
Only one word can describe this page: Badass!
Yes! He fucking races Death with final prize (what else) his life.
Things go only uphill from there on. No not for Johnny Cage, never for Johnny Cage, for the story, for us. He continues to wander and help people wherever he can but he discover that as Ghost Rider he has rage in his heart and he becomes ruthless, he struggles every time to control his urge to kill and maim and bath every guilty one in hellfire. He fights an old Ghost Rider that didn’t manage to free himself from the devil, destroys an evil sadistic Genius and his flying disk, meets Doctor Strange, destroys cults, loses the title of the best Stuntman in a fair contest, travels in time to meet the Night Rider (His first name back in 1967 was Ghost Rider) and to help some Indians, gets separate from Ghost Rider and manage to unite with him again, catches the interest of Asmodeus, travels to Arabia and finally finds something that resembles a home at a circus as a head stun-man.
At some point Asmodeus goes to Mephisto (previously known as Satan) and asks to have Ghost Rider under his responsibility, Mephisto reveals that the true name of Ghost Rider is Zarathos and decides to have a contest with Asmodeus.
Nah! No way that ever happens, not a snowballs chance in hell.
So he splits yet again Zarathos and Johnny Cage and puts them on a special race. They have to reach the end of a road full with demons and traps together and if they managed it at the end of the line freedom awaits them, they wont be united any more. Of course thinks don’t go as smoothe and even though they reach the end of the line they fight each other and end up united together yet again. But a chain reaction starts. a little time passes and Zarathos comes in contact with a being that reveals him his true identity, he tells him that once he ruled a nation that worshiped him, he gave them power they gave him the souls of their victims, but Mephistot saw his rise and decided to stop him. He manages to trap him and erase his memories thus making him a slave for eternity. The person that reveals all this is called
Or as I prefer to call him: Pimp!
Yeap. This guy orchestrates the permanent release of Zarathos buy giving him all the control of Johnny’s body and imprisoning his mind (Johnny’s mind) in his realm. Somehow Johnny manages to escape and return to the circus were he finds Roxanne that asks his help. The comic (watch this its important) ENDS with the soul of Zarathos and the soul of an archenemy of his trapped inside a gem to fight and torment each other for eternity then this happens
Johnny Blaze and Roxanne go to leave their lives, probably get married, possibly have many kids and maybe they do all that together. And the story ends. That’s it. Fin. Credits roll, the crowd claps and the fat lady leaves the scene.
I insist on the fact of the end because its important, and there are two reasons for that:
1) Every story must have a beginning, middle, and end part. They might be far away (like the Wheel of Time series) but the must exist. I understand the need to extend the story for profit, but still come on, an end must exist.
2) Every other Ghost Rider ever published was either crap, or a mediocre bullshit (probable exceptions the runs of Garth Ennis, Road to Damnation and Trail of Tears), I am referring of course to the second and third volumes of Ghost Rider were chaos and complete bullshit manage to erupt in a tsunami that threatens to swallow all of your good memories of the First Rider.
Conclusion: If you want to know about the Ghost Rider read the first Volume its better than any other, coherent and down to earth (or as much as down as Marvel can get), a real piece of Gold in 89 issues.
Thank you all!! Don’t forget to check my other reviews and short stories