The “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” trailer popped up online late last week, and what else is there to say about it other than Nicolas Cage closes out the new footage by pissing fire? Well, it turns out there’s a heck of a lot left to say, which is why the MTV Movies team jumped into the comic book action for an expert commentary.
The trailer begins sweetly, with a score reminiscent of “Lost” and some epic title cards: “He fought the curse … evil will force him … to face his demon.” But any wacky notion that directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who also helmed the “Crank” films, have delivered a kinder, gentler Johnny Blaze is quickly dismissed when the music picks up and the flames flicker to reveal our first look at the new Ghost Rider.
It’s a look the directors have spoken with us about at length. “We wanted this black skull, with this gasoline fire and this black, inky smoke to get this real feeling of explosions and fire and heat,” Neveldine said at San Diego Comic-Con. “That’s something we really went for: ‘Let’s feel the heat in this movie.’ ”
The grittiness of this Ghost Rider most definitely shines through in the trailer. Charcoal skull? Check. A whiff of gasoline seemingly rising off the screen? Check. Neveldine and Taylor not holding back in this trailer and delivering a full-on look at our hero right off the bat? Check. And they don’t stop there, quickly showing off Ghost Rider’s signature move, the Penance Stare: He looks into your eyes and makes you feel all the pain and suffering you’ve ever inflicted on other people. This is no fairy-tale power. This is not X-ray vision. This is a hard-core demonic power, one which was not played very well in the first film. Even in this quick shot, the Stare looks very cool.
Speaking of demonic powers, the trailer got us thinking this film might not just be a sequel to the 2007 original, but to Cage’s “Drive Angry,” the 3-D action flick that had the actor busting out of hell to inflict gory revenge on his enemies. Crazy talk? Sure. But since “Drive Angry” hardly performed well enough at the box office to justify a sequel, we’ll take whatever we can get.
We get to see plenty of Ghost Rider here, but the trailer gives us the briefest glimpse of Johnny Whitworth as Blackout. He’s part human, part demon, all bad news. Whitworth is a guy to watch — hardly a household name but one who delivered an energetic supporting role in the largely forgettable “Limitless.” With Neveldine and Taylor in control, there is serious potential for killer fight scenes between Blackout and Ghost Rider.
Another character we get a peek at is young Danny Ketch. Comic fans will know him as one of the guys who eventually becomes Ghost Rider. The big departure here is that Danny is a kid. In the comics, he’s a young man. While this film probably won’t turn into a passing of the torch from Cage’s Johnny Blaze to Danny as the next Ghost Rider, it’s nonetheless cool to see filmmakers laying the mythological groundwork.
The trailer ends with pure, absurd fun: Ghost Rider declaring that it feels awesome when he pees fire. That’s essentially how Cage feels about the movie as a whole. “The Ghost Rider is just the coolest-looking superhero, and it has to be the one that goes to film and looks the best,” the actor told us at SDCC. “I think they’ve achieved that with this.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.”