‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ Trailer Premieres Online

by on June 12th, 2014
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Superhero movies have been dominating the box office for over a decade, but not all of them have been home runs. There have been some painful failures, and most would consider 2007’s “Ghost Rider” to be among them. Most comic book fans rank it toward the bottom alongside “Catwoman.” The key difference is that “Ghost Rider” somehow managed to pull in $200 million in worldwide box office. This means that the superhero movie nobody really liked is getting a sequel, titled “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.” The first trailer is now online courtesy of iTunes and, amazingly, it shows quite a bit of promise.

Before the trailer begins there’s a brief message from directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. The duo is new to this franchise, taking over from Mark Steven Johnson. Neveldine and Taylor are best known for creating and directing the “Crank” films. They seem to have brought the same manic energy that franchise exuded to this picture. This is extremely welcome given the rather flat and boring feel to the first “Ghost Rider.”

The trailer opens with images of burning embers and some text with voiceover by star Nicolas Cage. The embers give way to fire, which then pulls back to a reveal of the Rider himself. The look is more or less the same as in the last movie, flaming skull and biker jacket, but there are some subtle new touches.

The big thing is that the flames actually seem to be emitting heat this time. The fire that engulfs the Rider’s head seemed purely cosmetic before. This time there’s black smoke coming off which makes the air around it waver from the heat. Even the skull itself now has a certain scorched quality. Careful observers will note that the leather jacket is cracking and bubbling from the flames.

As this is just a teaser trailer — the film isn’t due to release until February — what follows is a flurry of quick shots with only snippets of dialogue and little story. However, the liveliness of these shots is a visceral departure from the sterile presentation of the first film. The shots shown are mostly of the Rider either on his flaming motorcycle or using his signature chain as a weapon. There are enough shots of Nic Cage, whose casting was one of the few things that worked in the first film, to make the connection between the two. There are a few quick shots of the supporting cast but the clear intent is to sell the intensity of the Rider.

The problem with the original is that it tried to be a standard superhero movie, which was a waste of the concept of a man cursed to be a demon’s personal bounty hunter. This trailer makes it clear that the new directors have embraced the insanity inherent in the premise. There are two moments that really capture this feeling.

One is a very quick shot of a piece of heavy construction equipment on fire in the manner that the Rider’s motorcycle usually is. Though it passes quickly, the shot implies that if the Rider gets at the controls of any vehicle it becomes fiery and hellish like his signature motorcycle. The other moment is a gag at the end when a young boy asks Cage what happens if he has to go to the bathroom while he’s on fire. It’s best to see the trailer for the answer, but it shows that this film is aiming for fun rather than the excessive seriousness of the previous film.

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