Spoilers Abound. This is your first and only warning.
I’ve been putting off sitting down and writing about this but the time has come for me to settle down and get it done. I finally got round to borrowing the blu-ray off a friend having seen various trailers/clips that suggested the film could be good fun, though also at the time I recall mixed reviews. Any-hoo I missed it at the cinema and was finally able to catch up on disc.
Unfortunately I found it a bit of a disappointing experience to watch. The ideas that looked like they could’ve been really good fun weren’t really expanded on, Nic Cage seemed to be sleep walking through the film… I don’t think that having the big CGI creature as the hero really worked either – it meant that anyone could’ve been playing this character for the majority of the film with Nic Cage only brought in for the odd scene of exposition and a large amount of gurning around.
I think for me one of the problems was that this could’ve (should’ve?) been a very dark film and the darkness really wasn’t emphasised beyond a couple of scenes right at the very start – when the devil appears for the first time (the source of the main characters powers after he makes an unfortunate deal) the scene was very effective but this all seemed to disappear as the story continued on through.
The idea of a man given the power of hellfire to roam the earth doing deeds for the devil – and then turning and using this power for good was an interesting one, and the designs all seemed good. I also like that the actions taken by characters in the film felt like they had consequences – when a street is destroyed you see the police investigating what happened to the street and the main characters stumbles across this more by accident. Though this was only true to a point – there is a moment in the film where Nic Cage transforms into the Ghost Rider in the middle of a prison and then just walks out – this just seemed to me really unbelievable that the police would just stand by and let this happen – it was really bizarre and just jarred a bit.
Another disappointment for me were the badguys henchmen – these seemed a really good idea – taking different elements as their strengths. The first one was defeated possibly a bit too easily, but rather than realising this and working together, each encounter the henchmen lead to a one on one battle… Every time. The characters just didn’t appear to learn from their mistakes leading to quite a soulless repetition of fight, exploit weakness, win.
Like I said I found the whole film somewhat underwhelming – I’ve seen talk a sequel is in the works, and I just hope that this manages to patch up some of the holes that have been left by this, at least elevating it beyond average superhero tosh which is what it appears to be at the moment.