Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

  • Review Date: February 17, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

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
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
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

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • 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.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old 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 bydarthsitkur October 28, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

better than the first one

this one kicks the crap out of the first one, and it's from the creators of the crank series which makes it even better lol, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are freakin awesome directors lol
Teen, 13 years old Written byFILMCRITIC500 March 21, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

its grrrrrrreeeeeeeaaaaaaat!

should have won an Oscar. one of the greatest films of all time. packed with explosions, terror, epic camera shots and great special effects, teens who love action, see this now!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass