Ghost Rider (2007) is a supernatural action film based on the comic book of the same name from Marvel Comics.Johnny Blaze, the son in a father-son motorcycle stunt team, is in love with Roxanne, the daughter of the richest man in town. After planning to run away with her, Johnny discovers his father is terminally ill with little time left. The Devil (in a Cameo performance by Peter Fonda) shows up and offers Johnny a Deal with the Devil. Johnny asks the Devil to save his father's life. Miraculously, Barton Blaze is cured of his cancer, but dies immediately afterward in an accident because the Devil wants Johnny freed up.Realizing what he's just gotten himself into, Johnny takes off and abandons his sweetheart at their meeting place.Fifteen or twenty years later, we join Johnny (now portrayed as an adult by Nicolas Cage) on the road. He's now a world-famous stunt cyclist, and repeating the Survival Mantra "you can't live in fear", knowing the Devil hasn't come for him yet, but he keeps living through the increasingly insane stunts he does.Meanwhile, Blackheart, son of the devil, shows up and has decided it's time for the old man to step aside for a new Lord of Hell. He summons three elemental demons to serve him, promising that if they help him defeat the Devil, he'll give them nobility in Hell.Meanwhile, Roxanne has turned up to interview Johnny after his stunt. Johnny takes this as a sign and asks her out. But the Devil of course picks the night she agrees to give him another chance to call in his marker. Johnny refuses, but cannot resist the power of hell. He transforms into the Ghost Rider and dispatches the first of Blackheart's minibosses. Now Johnny must try to control the power of the Rider, defeat the elemental demons, and Blackheart - all while trying to keep Roxanne out of the line of fire.The rest of the film plays out like a video game. Meet a mentor. Character Development (such that it is), Boss Fight with one of the minibosses.Despite the critical consensus, the film managed to do well at the box office. A not-quite-sequel/not-quite-reboot was released in 2012, subtitled Spirit of Vengeance, which featured Idris Elba in a supporting role and was helmed by Neveldine/Taylor, the guys behind the Crank films and Gamer.
This film has the examples of:
Age Cut: The film starts with young Johnny and Roxanne, then cuts to the adult Johnny.
Assimilation Backfire: Blackheart No Sells Blaze's penance stare power the first time it's used on him since he doesn't have a soul. When he draws the trapped souls of San Venganza into his body in a bid to increase his power, Blaze realizes that he's made himself vulnerable to the stare and uses it to destroy him.
Body Horror: Johnny's transformation into the Ghost Rider.
Bullying a Dragon: The prisoners should have realized that picking a fight with the Ghost Rider while he's in jail cell is a bad idea.
Cassandra Truth: Johnny confesses he's the Ghost Rider to Roxanne, but she believes it's just a fear of commitment sort of thing.
Call It Karma: The Penance Stare. If you look into GR's eyes while he's within an arm's reach of you, he can force you to experience every iota of pain you've ever inflicted on others without cause in your life. Your average hood just realizes he should go home and rethink his life. A villain will be reduced to a vegetable - unless they don't have a soul.
Ghost Rider is Johnny Blaze, but the different appearance of Ghost Rider (Chain wrapped around the torso, and the spikey one) is the comic book costume of Danny Ketch (Ghost Rider II). Originally, the chain was exclusive to Danny, who had the spike-bearing costume. When Johnny was brought back for the new comics, he inherited the look. Johnny originally wore stylized black leathers with a high collar and that was it. Also, Johnny's version of Ghost Rider fired blasts of flames while Danny had the Penance Stare. This version has both powers, though the Penance Stare is given more importance by the plot.
Barton Blaze became the reason why there was a deal with Mephisto, not Johnny's adoptive father, Crash Simpson. (Although there was a mention of Roxanne Simpson's father, who, ironically, didn't approve of her relationship with Blaze.)
Confessional: Blackheart mockingly confesses to a priest before killing him.
Johnny's Deal with the Devil is an odd one. He did it to save his beloved father rather than for personal gain, which is presumably why he is able to control the Ghost Rider's powers so quickly. Johnny also never actually agrees to signing. He cuts himself, bleeds on the contract, and Mephisto considers it sealed. That may actually account for his inability to remove the powers once the contract was complete.
The main plot item the contract of San Venganza, was the result of basically an entire crapsack city making deals with the Devil.
Really, Mephistopheles — you kill the guy's father, force him to abandon his Love Interest, and then make Johnny stand her up when he reunites with her, and you're surprised that Johnny can control the power of the Ghost Rider, doesn't have to give it back after fulfilling the terms of the contract, and has sworn to fight your evil influence wherever he finds it?
Instant Expert: It looks that way, but Johnny knew the Devil would be coming for him from his teens, and has spent the intervening years reading a lot of metaphysical and paranormal books to prepare himself for what he'd become when the Devil called in the marker.
Just Hit Him: Blackheart seems to prefer pushing Ghost Rider over to punching him, and even pushes Johnny into a church that he obviously wanted to enter. The wind demon, too, does little more than knock Ghost Rider around.
Marquee Alter Ego: How frequently the Rider gives way to Johnny... especially in the big fight scene at the end. Justified by adhering to the very earliest comics, where Johnny only became the Rider at night/in the dark.
Mind Rape: In addition to being Hellfire, the Penance Stare of the Ghost Rider rips a target's mind open, so as to make them relive the pain they've caused others with every sin they've committed.
New Old West: The movie tied in an older Western character by the same name (who existed in the comics but was unrelated to the modern character, initially). Besides being set in the American Southwest, the creators of the movie were intentionally going for a Western feel in several areas, albeit with a supernatural twist. For example, the clothing of Blackheart and his henchman were made similar to traditional Western costumes with an updated look.
Nitro Boost: What Johnny uses in his Blackhawk Helicopter jump stunt.
Oblivious Janitor Cut: The eponymous biker rides down the side of a office building, shattering glass windows all the way down, and the janitor, wearing headphones again, doesn't notice the broken glass until after Rider is long gone.
Ominous Latin Chanting: We hear a gleeful burst of this when Johnny is forced into his first Ghost Rider transformation.
Absorbing every soul in the town of San Venganza causes Blackheart to be vulnerable to the Penance Stare.
Johnny Blaze seems to lose his free will as a consequence of selling his soul to the Devil, as he is unable to refuse to become the Ghost Rider, or even to get off his bike when Mephisto doesn't want him to. Once his big mission is complete and his soul restored, though, Blaze has no trouble refusing the Devil's offer to free him of the Rider or in using the powers of the Rider against Mephisto's plans on Earth.
Souls are the source of free will, and if one makes a Deal with the Devil, they ultimately become a puppet. However, the intent behind the deal can make this more complex: because Johnny "did it for love, to help someone [he] cared about, not for money or fame" "puts God on [his] side."
Personal Arcade: Appropriately enough, there's an Evil Knievel pinball in Johnny Blaze's apartment.
Post-Modern Magik: The Ghost Rider of the past hands the current one his shotgun which fires Hellfire (if in the hands of a Ghost Rider). This might be a subtle nod to an era in the comics when Johnny Blaze lost the mantle of Ghost Rider, but used a shotgun that could shoot hellfire with what remaining power he had.
Power Echoes: Upon absorbing all the souls in San Venganza, Blackheart's voice is his voice plus all of theirs.
Promoted Fanboy: Nicolas Cage is a huge Ghost Riderand comic book fanboy, who has wanted to play Ghost Rider since he got into acting. He actually has the Rider tattooed on one arm; they had to cover the tat so he could portray the role.
Young Johnny bails on running away with Roxanne after he realizes what his Deal with the Devil will turn his life into.
Years later, Johnny goes to some lengths to get Roxanne to agree to dinner with him. She grudgingly agrees, but this same night is the night Mephisto calls in the marker and forces Johnny to become the Ghost Rider for the first time.
Thememobile: The rider's motorcycle takes on that whole 'flaming demonic skull' motif. To a lesser degree, it's true of the previous Ghost Rider's horse as well.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: The Rider won't kill humans, though the Penance Stare leaves its victims mentallyravaged. It is directly proportional to the amount of senseless pain and suffering they've caused others.
Transformation Trauma: Johnny's first transformation into the Ghost Rider is seriously disturbing. The indicators of his condition go from his skin turning red and steaming when wet to his eyes lighting with the fires of hell, to the flesh burning off his skull and hands.
Victorious Childhood Friend: Subverted. Roxanne wants to not forgive Johnny, but their love for each other has not been diminished by the years. Only once they get through the events of the movie, she knows they still can't be together because Johnny has sworn to fight Mephisto in revenge for what he did to Barton Blaze.
Villain Ball: While screwing people that make a Deal with the Devil is pretty standard, it isn't very smart to do it with a prospective Ghost Rider, since the event that starts the plot proves Ghost Riders can in fact ignore the Devil's orders. Given that Mephisto doesn't use Johnny until years later, there was little reason to let his father die immediately.
What Could Have Been: The novelization ended with an explanation of how Johnny Blaze got off the murder charges, having "some hotshot New York lawyer" make a mockery of the prosecutors case. Said lawyer was supposed to be Matt Murdock. Which is almost certainly a Shout-Out to the original Ghost rider concept. He was intended to be a Daredevil villain, but it was just too good of an idea.