The movie version of Ghost Rider would be a lot better with good acting in the roles of the protagonist and antagonist, but instead we get Nicolas Cage at his absolute loopiest in the title role, with Wes Brantley just dreadful as Blackheart. At least we have Sam Elliott, Donal Logue, and Eva Mendes…. The great superhero movie rewatch endures Ghost Rider.
Nicolas Cage is an interesting case. Sometimes he’s magnificent. (He absolutely deserved his Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas, and his loopy performances in Raising Arizona and Amos and Andrew remain personal favorites.) Sometimes he’s terrible but makes it work. (He’s out-acted by every single person in both Moonstruck and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, yet he’s vital to the success of both films.) And sometimes, he’s just terrible. (I still haven’t forgiven my wife and brother-in-law for making me watch Drive Angry.) Ghost Rider is one of the latter, as he gives a surreal, bizarre, utterly ridiculous performance in a role that he was already too old for by the time the film started production. Seriously, there’s a reason why most people in sports aren’t still active at the age of 41, even accounting for the his devil-provided invulnerability.
There is no moment in this film when I was convinced that Cage was playing Johnny Blaze. Hell, there were very few moments when I was convinced he was playing a denizen of this planet. I hasten to add that I’m only talking about Blaze here—I had no trouble believing the CGI Ghost Rider. Honestly, the CGI of Zarathos (never called that in the movie, but that was the demon’s name in the comics) was more convincing than Cage.