Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Movie Poster Image
Crazy, violent, dumb action sequel quickly burns out.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 17 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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.

What 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).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCozymonster Bigman January 12, 2018

One of the worst, in my opinion! Hated it!

Sure, there's a lot of gory and brutal violence in this movie, and that's content that's not appropriate for young kids, but the story was nonsen... Continue reading
Adult Written byage 10+ March 14, 2012
Kid, 11 years old February 24, 2012

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 prett... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byrebo344 February 10, 2015

An improvement to the original, but also a bit worse.

And when I mean dumb, I MEAN DUMB. Positive: Idris Elba : No matter how bad the movies he play in, he's still a likeable guy. Ghost Rider's Design... Continue reading

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?

There's some gleefully twisted stuff here (for those who like that kind of thing). Johnny tries 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). For this sequel, the Ghost Rider franchise 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.

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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