On the Big Board
|The dumbest of dumb fun
|Ho-hum, yadda yadda. Not everything makes a good movie, Marvel.
|Somebody stop Mark Steven Johnson before he ruins another comic book character. Nicolas Cage...what happened to you?
|I only watched a few minutes before I couldn't take any more.
|I doubt I'd have been impressed with this when I was 14, much less now.
Having been in production limbo almost as long as Superman, Ghost Rider was finally able to find a champion in Daredevil writer/director Mark Steven Johnson. With star - and comic book fan - Nicholas Cage still attached to the project, Ghost Rider remained on Marvel's must-do list. With Johnson on board, the project has finally become a reality.
Ghost Rider is the Marvel Comics character that is best described as a demon of vengeance and justice, if those two qualities can ever be mixed together. Ghost Rider is Danny Ketch, or depending on your age, Johnny Blaze, both of whom were motorcycle daredevils who died under malicious circumstances. The main character, whoever he is, becomes Ghost Rider the Spirit of Vengeance, a metaphysical force out to seek revenge against villains. The spirit takes the form of a leather jacket-wearing man with a skull for a head. He rides a motorcycle with wheels of fire and wields heavy iron chains. Oh, and the skull is on fire.
The Ghost Rider character was part of the renaissance Marvel Comics - and comic books in general - experienced in the '80s when the anti-hero became the hottest thing on the market and drove sales to then record highs. Ghost Rider prospered alongside such characters as Wolverine, The Punisher and the newer and edgier Batman. While the name Ghost Rider is the least recognizable of all the names mentioned, the image of Ghost Rider did find its own niche within pop culture and is just as recognizable as The Punisher’s skull insignia.
The biggest struggle for the big screen adaptation of Ghost Rider has been the internal scuffle over the film’s potential rating. While most of the talent that has been associated with the film has pushed for an R rating - a move that would make the film a more faithful adaptation of the source material - studios have been pushing for a more kid-friendly and financially lucrative PG-13. Some time after the release of the PG-13-rated Daredevil, the studio won out and found a director willing to give them the gritty PG-13 film they are looking for.
While Mark Steven Johnson’s Daredevil was an ultimately hollow piece that disappointed fans, Sony and Dimension Films saw enough in Johnson that they handed him the reigns to Ghost Rider. Daredevil’s strong opening at the box office convinced the studio that the rating of the film was extremely important and they moved ahead with the man who had already delivered a hit. With Nicholas Cage well into his 28th year of commitment to the project, Sony had a property, a director and a star in line and greenlighted the project. The challenge now becomes how to differentiate Ghost Rider from the other mid-tier comic book projects out there. This won’t be easy for Johnson as everything about this project reminds one of Hellboy, Daredevil and The Punisher, none of which are as memorable as Sony and Dimension would like Ghost Rider to be. (Walid Habboub/BOP)
Comparison films for Ghost Rider