Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

  • Review Date: February 17, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012

Common Sense Media says

Crazy, violent, dumb action sequel quickly burns out.
  • Review Date: February 17, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012

Age(i)

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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A similar message/theme as most other Marvel superhero movies: With great power comes great responsibility. Here, a character agrees to take on great suffering in order to help others. Unfortunately, his power also involves a deal with the devil, and violent behavior with no consequences goes hand-in-hand with the impulse to help.

Positive role models

Ghost Rider isn't one of the more admirable heroes in comic book movies. He struck a deal with the devil, and he's in constant torment. His power involves punishing and/or destroying the wicked -- i.e. vengeance rather than assistance. A boy is shown to be a skilled pickpocket.

Violence

Very little blood, and all of the violence is heavily FX-based, but viewers do see characters rotting and burning. A boy of about 13 and his mother are in danger; they're both physically attacked, pushed around, and hit. The boy is kidnapped and treated roughly (he's injected with a needle and gets a small cut on his face). There are also threats and heavy fighting, guns and shooting, car chases, crashes, and explosions. Minor characters die. Some scary stuff (Ghost Rider's skull face is quite creepy). Characters behave angrily and crazily.

Sex

In an animated graphic, the main character's bare butt is glimpsed during a motorcycle stunt. In another scene, it's implied that a businessman is trying to pick up a beautiful woman for sex, but nothing overt is said.

Language

One use of "f--k." Also "merde" (which is French for "s--t"), "ass," "d--k," "goddamn," "a--hole," and "hell." "Idiot" and "balls" are seen in subtitles.

Consumerism

Part of a popular comic book franchise. A Twinkie is part of a well-placed joke, but the label isn't shown, and the product isn't mentioned by name.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A secondary character is referred to as an alcoholic. He's seen drinking briefly from a flask and sipping from a bottle or two of fine wine, but he isn't shown drunk, nor does he really demonstrate alcoholism. He's also seen (nearly) lighting a cigarette.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is the sequel to the 2007's Ghost Rider and is based on a Marvel Comics character (albeit one who seems more on wreaking vengeance than assisting people in need). There's lots of strong, if mostly bloodless, fantasy violence; unlike the original movie, this one is in 3-D, which makes some of the action/violence even more intense. Characters burn and decay; a woman and a boy (about 13) are slapped around; there are fights, explosions, guns and shooting; and lots of stuff catches on fire. Ghost Rider's skull face is pretty creepy, too. Language is infrequent but includes one use of "f--k"; there's also some brief sexual innuendo and a quick reference to a minor character being an alcoholic (he's shown drinking but not drunk).

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Previously, former stunt rider Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) made a deal with the devil and became Ghost Rider, a fearsome ghoul who rides a blazing motorcycle and feeds on the souls of the wicked. Now, attempting to hide from the world, he receives an offer from a priest (Idris Elba). If Johnny can help rescue a mother (Violante Placido) and her son (Fergus Riordan), he can get his humanity back. But what Johnny doesn't know is that there's something special about the boy and that the ultimate evil on earth won't rest until he's captured. Can Johnny save the world -- and also himself?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

For this sequel, the Ghost Rider franchise has changed directors; now we get the demented team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the boys behind Crank and Crank: High Voltage. The result is a slight improvement in style, but unfortunately, the movie still lags behind in the script and character departments. There's some gleefully twisted stuff (for those who like that kind of thing) -- such as Johnny trying to fight off the transformation to Ghost Rider, speeding down the street, screaming and cackling with the effort. He also switches from a flaming motorcycle to an enormous flaming crane in one shot (apparently it doesn't matter what vehicle he rides).

But the story -- loosely borrowed from Superman II -- is sluggish and uninspired, with several bald spots of logic, and it has a distasteful penchant for violence against women and kids. The cardboard characters never inspire any connection; Cage plays his character as a touch too crazy, though Placido is genuinely appealing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance's fantasy violence. Was it gruesome or thrilling? How does the impact of this kind of mayhem compare to more realistic violence?

  • What kind of superhero is Ghost Rider? Is he a good guy -- a role model? How does he compare to other superheroes?

  • When Ghost Rider agrees to take back his powers to help others, is this an admirable act, or a selfish act? Or can it be both?

  • Why are so many action/superhero movies based on comic books? What's the appeal?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 17, 2012
DVD release date:June 12, 2012
Cast:Ciaran Hinds, Nicolas Cage, Violante Placido
Directors:Brian Taylor, Mark Neveldine
Studio:Columbia Pictures
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Superheroes
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, and language

This review of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old Written byJeffrey9789 February 20, 2012
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

I loved this one better then the first ghost rider !!!!!!!!!

This movie is awesome because it has more action as the first ghost rider and it has more ghost rider feel to it. It has diffrent characters in this one except Johnney Blaze. I saw this one in 3-D this one is awesome in 3-D there are so much stuff coming out of the screen. Also this feels more like a reboot then a sequel. see this movie in the theaters in 3-D or 2-D

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old Written bymrbright February 24, 2012
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Filled with Nonstop Action

This cool, action packed thrill ride will blow you away. Nicolas Cage gives his craziest performance yet as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider. Ciaran Hinds gives a pretty decent performance as the devil. I am a Christian and did not like the devil, also a strongly negative role model. However, there are some positive messages. This film is very violent and is sometimes gross. There were a lot of little kids in the theater and they were all freaked out. There are some scenes that will make you jump, for example, during the very first scene after one of the people says, "I'm done with this conversation." The secondary villain has the power of decay and uses it on people. Ew. Sexual content is only implied, not shown. No nudity. Lots of language, about 20 mild obscenities and one f-bomb. The secondary villain eats a Twinkie. In the beginning, Blaze searches for as many drugs as he can and takes a lot. Overall, everything was so awesome including one of the best action scenes I have ever seen. There is a little lack of story and an abrupt ending, but I recommend you see it.

What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byPaladin357 June 16, 2012
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Right on for the fans, not so much for newcomers

I became interested in the comics for Ghost Rider in my High School years, and what has struck me both then and now with this movie, is that Ghost Rider is a very unique character. He's not a flashy super role model like Captain America or Superman, nor is he a dark anti-hero like Wolverine or the Punisher. Instead, he's almost like the Hulk, in that he's like a force of nature. You unleash him, be prepared to deal with the consequinces. Now, on to the movie, this one is hard to classify as it isn't exactly a sequel, but it isn't a reboot either. It uses the origin from the first movie, albeit a cut down and editted version, and uses little snippets of semi-animated drawings to explain some of the less immediately important details. A slight heads up, there is a bit of crude humor in the origin's one, particularly with a picture of a butt. Johnny Blaze now finds himself in Europe as he's constantly looking for a way to remove his curse as well as keep it in check. Admittedly, they're a little vague on this, until it is better explained later in the movie. It boasts a surprising amount of humor as well, lightening the mood when it needs it. The story is often missed in the rush of the movie's action scenes, but the discerning viewer can pull out a very well done story that few catch. The action scenes are where this movie shines, particularly with the fans of the comics. Ghost Rider, kept at a disappointing range in the first movie, is now up close and scary, fighting hand to hand as well as hand to chain, a much needed addition to the movie. The villains are a little underdone. Roark, the devil in human form, is a bit lack luster, and while he deliver's a stunning acting preformance, the power of the character is rather downplayed. While it is plot relevant, it does leave something to be desired. The villain Blackout is played rather different than the comics, with different powers and origins, but all told, he also delivers a decent preformance, if a little unbelieveable at first. Ghost Rider's appearance makes a change as well. The bleached white bones are gone, replaced with a charred blackened skull that adds much more intimidation to the character. The spikes are also gone, ditched in favor of the interesting effect of the leather on the jacket boiling and bubbling with the heat. The motorcycle is scaled back significantly, which while it is not the artisitc masterpiece of the first film, it allows the character himself to stand out, without being overshadowed by the motorcycle. There are several good messages and role models placed in the film, with the moral that anyone can change, and that you can bring good out of a bad situation. The character of the priest Moreau, constantly says that no one is beyond redemption. There is some use of alcohol, however, no one is ever drunk, and at most, only a few sips occur. Cursing is also present, but surprisingly rare, reaching its worst at a single F-bomb. Overall, the movie seems a bit like an apology to the fans for the lack of action in the first movie, and while those new to the character may not enjoy it as much, it is a must see for Ghost Rider fans.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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