FilmJuice have my review of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
Question: Nic Cage plays a flaming skeleton on a motorbike in a film directed by the guys behind Gamer (2009) and Crank 2: High Voltage (2006), what is not to like? Answer: The script. Much like Justin Lin’s Fast Five (2011), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is just a few jokes and few decent plot points away from being a really brilliant action film. Without a decent script, the film is simply an inordinately silly and entertaining action romp featuring some brilliant cinematography and some genuinely revolutionary use of 3D:
Most 3D techniques operate by either creating an illusion of depth, or creating the illusion that something on screen is jutting out into the cinema. 3D films create these illusions by forcing your eyes to focus on two different things at the same time, which is why watching 3D films can be a headache-inducing experience. While Neveldine/Taylor make good use of ‘traditional’ 3D effects, they also set out to push the limits of 3D by intentionally recreating those moments where the 3D techniques break down and your brain rebels, forcing you to look away from the screen in disgust. The result is a series of sequences that are both deeply unsettling and entirely appropriate given the context and subject matter. Think of the way in which Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible (2002) used brown notes and violent camera work to induce feelings of unease and you will get some idea of how visceral an experience Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance can be.
Lacking decent dialogue, compelling story-telling or engaging characters, Ghost Rider 2 is almost an art house flick in that its primary pleasures are visual and cinematic rather than narrative. Fans of ground-breaking cinematography and silliness will lap this up, those seeking a more traditional comic book movie may well find themselves shifting in their seats.