Movie Week #2: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’
Certain movies are guilty pleasures – when you get right down to it, you have to admit that they’re never going to be classic films, they don’t have any socially-redeeming value, they’re never going to win awards, they’re never going to be anyone’s all-time favorite movie, and a lot of people are going to scoff at their very existence. However, they do get made, and they do attract an audience. But… why!?!?
Easy – Because they’re guilty pleasures. They tap into a need that a particular audience has. For those of us who grew up with comic books, the recent glut of superhero movies has been an interesting time. Some of those movies are wonderful, with great acting, intelligent plots (at least within the bounds of the genre), and great special effects. ‘Iron Man‘, ‘Spider-Man 2‘, and ‘The Dark Knight‘ are fine examples of the genre. However, at the other end of the spectrum, you find ‘Daredevil‘ and ‘Ghost Rider‘. They’re called ‘guilty pleasures’ for a good reason. Knowing full well what likely awaits, you still venture into the movie theater.
When we ran through the list of possible movies for this week’s edition of the blog, both Mike and I paused a bit when ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance‘ came up. How would the other person react to that movie as a candidate? I off-handedly mentioned that I had the first ‘Ghost Rider’ film on Blu-ray, and Mike’s eyes lit up. “If we want to see the second one in the theater, it’d be smart to watch the first one again to make sure we’re familiar with the plot points” Mike said (or words to that effect). Of course, both of us knew that the chances were essentially zero that we’d actually need to know plot points from the first movie to watch the second one, but… guilty pleasures…. it gave us an excuse to watch the first again. The deal was sealed when we decided we could also use this pre-movie-watching as an excuse to sample our Beer of the Week for the Drinks section of the blog (see my review & Mike’s review).
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ is a great example of a guilty pleasure movie – it was a guilty pleasure to go see it, and I strongly suspect it was a guilty pleasure to make it. The movie was exactly what we expected it to be. If you need a plot summary or a discussion of the special effects, then you’re missing the whole point of ‘Ghost Rider’. The moment you first heard the name of the movie, you knew whether or not it was a flim that you were going to watch. It didn’t matter what the reviews said, it didn’t matter what the story involved – you were either going to see it, or you weren’t. It’s a guilty pleasure movie. I strongly suspect that the only reason it was made was because it was also a guilty pleasure movie for Nicolas Cage. I can’t imagine that there was a huge groundswell of excitement in Hollywood at the idea of filming a sequel to the first ‘Ghost Rider’. But, Nicolas Cage has clout, and I think he wanted to do it again. Guilty pleasures come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Truthfully, I enjoyed Cage’s performance more in the second movie – he seemed happier to be in the second film than in the first. The story was weaker, the effects were better, and they set up a few details at the end for a third film. We’ll see if Cage gets the urge yet again… it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
One final note – Mike and I went on a weekday evening and it seemed like we’d have the theater to ourselves, until a lone person showed up about five minutes before the start. We both recognized a fellow traveler, out indulging in a bit of guilty pleasure viewing.
And speaking of guilty pleasures, ‘Resident Evil: Retribution‘ is opening in September…