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Film / Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

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"It doesn't matter how far you run, there are some demons you just can't escape. My name is Johnny Blaze."

"See, you're a baaaad man! And this thing, the Rider, he feeds on bad men. And he's hungry, he's hungrier than he's been in years, and THAT'S why I'm shaking. 'Cuz right now, the only thing standing between you and the Rider is me, and he's just—he's—... SCRAPING... AT... THE DOOR. SCRAPING AT THE DOOOOOOORR!!"
John Blaze

Spirit of Vengeance is the sequel to 2007's Ghost Rider, released in 2012 and starring Nicolas Cage in the title role once again.

Struggling to control Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze has moved to Europe. He is contacted by a Christian order to find and protect a boy named Danny from the Devil himself, and in return he gets to rid himself of the Rider.

This film has the examples of:

  • Actionized Sequel: This movie has a lot more action scenes than the first, and they're all longer and more destructive. For quick comparison, The Rider's bodycount in the first movie is four demons, while in the sequel his human bodycount numbers in the dozens.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Before exorcising Zarathos from his body, Moreau pleads Johnny to confess his deepest guilt. With obvious emotional pain in his voice, Johnny confesses that he agreed to Roarke's deal because saving his father was an act of selfishness rather than any act of altruism.
  • Action Mom: Nadya packs a knife and gun and isn't afraid to employ a little Car Fu.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Danny rebuffs Roarke's insincere friendliness with "What's wrong with your face?" Carrigan has a hearty snicker over it.
  • Adaptational Badass: Blackout in the comics is just a dude who can suck out the light of environments, and he isn't at all that much of a challenge to the Ghost Rider, but his movie self nearly kills the Rider.
    • The Rider himself is sort of zig-zagged. He's far more direct, actually fighting (and killing) humans rather than just avoiding them, and has several more blatantly cool and showy powers, but displays a lot less cleverness and and combat savvy. The Penance Stare has also gone from something that almost instantly paralyzes its target and swiftly burns their soul out to... just staring at them while being really scary, which seems to do... something... ... eventually.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Zarathos is shown as more of a benign being in this movie compared to his more asshole-ish comic self.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Roarke, implied to be Mephisto going by a different name, is a Non-Action Big Bad, in contrast to the Physical God he is in the comics. Justified; Mephisto mentions that he inhabits human bodies when he's on Earth, and so he isn't able to use the full extent of his powers without burning his mortal shell. Which is why he wants Danny, who is implied to be half-devil.
  • The Alcoholic: In every other scene, Moreau is constantly chugging from a flask. The first thing he does once he reaches the monastery to exorcise Zarathos is to seek out the wine cellar and enjoy himself.
  • The Antichrist: Danny is the son of the Devil himself and possesses all of his father's powers...
  • Anti-Anti-Christ: ...but is otherwise an ordinary child, and at worst comes off as a little creepy.
  • Anti-Hero: The Rider starts out as a Nominal Hero... Johnny himself highlights that the Rider will go after anyone with darkness in their soul, and is incapable of judging extremity, circumstances, or mitigating factors; he slaughters the wicked without mercy and seems to enjoy it. After being empowered by Danny instead of Roarke, he becomes much closer to a standard hero... he's still violent, but he actually lets a number of the mooks live when he doesn't actually have to kill them, and briefly breaks off his pursuit of Roarke to save a "sinner".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Devil's previous human incarnations have included Vlad the Impaler, Idi Amin, Billy the Kid, Joseph Stalin... and Jerry Springer.
  • Ascended Demon: What Johnny Blaze becomes when he becomes Ghost Rider a second time...with blue flames and a soul to keep.
  • Aside Glance:
    • Ghost Rider does this when he pees fire.
    • At the quarry, he takes a moment to roar at the camera.
  • Ax-Crazy: The angel-turned-demon Zarathos is explicitly stated to be insane, and Ghost Rider kills mooks aplenty.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Moreau can still hang with demons despite not having any powers.
    • Such as surviving straight drops of 20+ feet while chasing after Nadya & contorting his body in mid-air after being knocked off his motorcycle and in the same span of time, shooting at the tires of the SUV chasing after them.
    • Nadya, in spades.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Take it away, Johnny:
    Johnny: This power that we have comes from a dark place, but it's not who we are. And we can use it to help people.
  • Black Comedy: The Rider's jokes are mostly this. Such as "Roadkill", which he says to a dead foe stretched in the road.
  • Bloodless Carnage:
    • People are turned to ash and set on fire. But, as you can guess from its PG-13 rating, there's no blood and gore. Though there is one very quick aerial shot in which a mook is cut in half by the Ghost Rider's chain and you see that his upper half plops on the ground, with what appears to be a puddle of blood.
    • A few mooks are also taken down with gunfire with no signs of blood.
  • Bilingual Bonus: When Moreau is shooting up the place to interrupt the ceremony between Danny and Roarke, you can briefly hear him shouting "Mea maxima culpa!" For people who know Latin, they know this means "My most grievous fault."
  • Body Snatcher: Roarke's plan for Danny.
  • Bond One-Liner: After Ghost Rider tosses Carrigan off the truck to get run over: "Roadkill."
  • Brick Joke: This exchange:
    Danny: What if you have to pee when you're on fire?
    Johnny: Oh yeah, it's like a flamethrower.
    (Cue imagery of the Ghost Rider pissing flames)
    Roarke: Think of a flamethrower.
    (Cue imagery of the Ghost Rider pissing flames)
    Danny: (doubles over laughing)
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames:
    • Carrigan is never called Blackout, the name of his character in the comics. The name Ghost Rider is only spoken once (otherwise, it's "the Rider").
    • True to the CinemaSins "roll credits at the title drop" gag, Blaze declaring himself as the Ghost Rider is the last line in the film.
  • Composite Character:
    • Zarathos appears to be combined with Zadkiel, since it's revealed that he's a fallen angel and his flame is blue.
    • Combined with Decomposite Character and Adaptational Name Change: In the comics, Johnny and Danny's mother is Naomi Kale, and Danny was adopted by Francis Ketch. In the movie, Danny's mother is Nadya Ketch.
  • Continuity Nod: While in a restaurant, Johnny drinks water straight out of a pitcher.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Averted with Blackout. Despite being supernaturally empowered and strong and skilled enough to go toe-to-toe with the Rider in a straight fight, he's still as vulnerable to the Penance Stare as any other human.
  • Cool Bike: The Rider's mount of choice in this film is the 200hp second-generation Yamaha Vmax. And unlike the previous film, where the Rider's bike transformed from a typical motorcycle to a fantasy bike made of chains and fire, the new bike retains its identity, and instead looks like it was just pulled from a furnace.
  • Creator Cameo: Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.
  • Custom-Built Host: The devil needs to possess a human body to walk the earth, but they quickly burn out from trying to contain him, especially if he uses any of his infernal powers thus limiting his overall influence and forcing him to rely upon deals. As such he fathers Danny Ketch (through making a deal to save his mother) specifically so that the boy can exist as the perfect vessel, capable of allowing him to walk the earth with no restrictions.
  • Darker and Edgier: This movie features a lot more violence and dark humor than the first. It also features darker aspects in general, such as the Rider's Ax-Crazy being amped up. Even the look of the film is edgier than the first one. Whereas the original Ghost Rider movie had several vibrant colors (particularly the colors blue and orange) in most of the shots, this film mostly has ash grey filters all over the place. The design of the Ghost Rider is also more rugged and creepier than it used to be. It is also the only two films to use the Marvel Knights banner (the other being Punisher: War Zone)
  • Deal with the Devil: Like the first movie, an infernal pact drives the plot; Nadya was dying and Roarke "offered" to save her life in exchange for one little thing... as Johnny puts it, she's the Devil's baby-mama.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Moreau shows up in the first scene and has an extended action sequence before we ever get a glimpse of Ghost Rider or even the title. Additionally, the opening sequence is set up with the possibility that Moreau died, but we quickly learn he survived.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • Carrigan, a puny human, manages to K.O. Ghost Rider during their first encounter using a grenade launcher and a rocket launcher, a feat that high-level demons couldn't manage in the first film.
    • Also, more literally near the end, where a de-powered Johnny punches Roarke right in the face.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: According to Blaze's opening narration, the Rider will happily Penance Stare a person even if only sin is something as minor as shoplifting a DVD.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Moreau's last act of defiance is to headbutt Carrigan.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Carrigan was pretty tough even before he gained powers. In fact in the final fight, he does much better than Blackheart's demons did in the first film and almost succeeds in killing Ghost Rider because unlike them he doesn't over-rely on his supernatural powers, but rather is simply damn good at Good Old Fisticuffs.
  • Evil Counterpart: Carrigan and Blaze are both men empowered by unholy magic who are nearly invincible in combat. The Rider and Carrigan also share a twisted sense of humour and thirst for blood.
  • Facial Horror: Roarke in a nutshell, since the Devil's essence can't inhabit a fully human body for long. Half of his face is sunken, one of his eyes is bloodshot, and looks just wrong in general. Most of the damage was done giving Blackout his powers, so part of it may be self-inflicted.
  • Fallen Angel: In this version the spirit of the Ghost Rider is one, a spirit of justice meant to protect the innocent that was dragged to hell, driven mad seeing the evils of humanity, and became the spirit of vengeance.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: During Johnny's Rider monologue, the Ghost Rider turns the lights of his eyes on the viewer while explaining the threats of the penance stare.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Nadya proves to be far more effective with a sniper rifle than her knife. Moreau can do both though, and Ghost Rider - let's just say he takes smashing to a new level.
  • I'm Not Afraid of You: When Carrigan boasts this to Ghost Rider it proves to be his undoing.
  • Indestructible Edible: Blackout is hungry, so he goes through the lunch of a guy he killed. The sandwich rots, the apple rots, but the twinkie just sits there.
  • Jerkass: Carrigan, Even before getting turned into Blackout.
  • Knight Templar: The Rider is depicted as having become much more merciless in this film, to the point where Blaze suggests that it would use the Penance Stare on someone simply for illegally downloading an mp3. This explains why Blaze abandoned his original plan from the end of the first movie to use the Rider's powers for good, and is hiding out in a warehouse in Eastern Europe.
    • Although it's not so much that he can't use the Rider's power for good, but he literally can't anymore.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Danny's presence is shown to weaken the Rider and even turn him back to his human form when subconsciously accessing his powers. Johnny realizes this is why he lost the first fight with Carrigan after he rescues Danny and Danny forces him back to his human form when he gets angry. This is removed after Danny repowers him at the end
  • Large Ham: Nicolas Cage seems to have forgotten to take his anti-crazy pills because he's friggin' insane in this.
    It's scraping at the door! IT'S SCRAPIN' AT DA DAAAAAAAWWWWWW!!
  • Leitmotif: The Rider has one that plays every time he does anything awesome. In other words, it plays once every five minutes.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Moreau showing up at Johnny's hideout of self-imposed exile, dramatically declaring that his (Moreau's) brothers are dead and so should he be, but for the grace of God... and then a quick flashback to him hanging upside down from a tree.
    • Also, when Roarke is describing his power, he tells Danny to 'think of a flamethrower'. Earlier, Johnny had described "peeing [as the Ghost Rider]" as a flamethrower; Danny instantly cracks up.
  • Mook Horror Show: Lampshaded; after the first encounter with Ghost Rider, Carrigan describes the experience was like "something out of a horror movie".
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When Carrigan uses his powers, he causes all light in the nearby environment to black out from the victim's perspective, in the comics, this was his actual power, hence his name being Blackout. Also Danny as in Danny Ketch, the second Ghost Rider in the comics.
    • Ghost Rider turns blue at the end, like the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Blackout was about two seconds away from killing Ghost Rider. And then he made the fatal mistake of looking into his eyes.
    • Roarke explaining to Danny that they have the same powers.
  • Nominal Hero: Zarathos is pretty much a psychopath who is just there for the killing. It is only Blaze who manages to keep the Rider in check.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Roarke is unable to use The Devil's powers without burning out his body, so in a fight he's pretty much just a dude in a suit. He at least seems to be a decent getaway driver, though.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Roarke's minions actually chant when they perform The Rite.
  • Parental Substitute: Blaze becomes this for Danny along the movie.
  • Plot Hole: Roarke uses his powers to install a "firewall" in Danny's head so that Blaze can't track him... but does nothing for his minions that Blaze will still be able to track. Possibly explained by Danny being Roarke's son, and therefore susceptible to manipulation by Roarke, whereas Carrigan and the others are just ordinary people.
  • Power Degeneration: The more Roarke uses his powers, the more burned out his host body becomes. This actually drives the plot.
    ''Think of trying to use a flame thrower made of paper mache."
  • Precision F-Strike: Johnny Blaze was the "Worst fuckin' deal" Roarke ever made.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Go... home!" Said to the devil.
  • Resist the Beast: Johnny's problem throughout the movie, as the Spirit of Vengeance takes delight in brutally punishing even the pettiest sin.
  • Rewrite: While keeping in continuity with the first film for the most part, Mephisto is retconned out in favor of the less ostentatiously named Roarke. Moreau does say that "The Devil goes by many names." The real change is that Mephisto was manifesting in the real world himself before, but now can only act through a host body. This one happens to be named Roarke.
  • Retcon: It's kind of a soft-reboot, only using the first film's events in vague broad strokes.
  • Roguish Romani: Nadya Ketch is a Romani thief.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Eastern Europe, particularly in Turkey.
  • Shout-Out: An example of the "Deal" shows a man shaking hands with another man who is on fire. Remind you of anything?
  • Shown Their Work: The movie actually depicts the Javelin anti-tank missile's top-attack mode and IIR thermal sights accurately (albeit at very short range)
  • Take That!: Jerry Springer is one of the Devil's incarnations.
    • Johnny confesses that his greatest sin is that he made a deal with the devil to save his father's life not for the sake of his father, but for his own selfish weakness at not being able to be without his father. The film was made three years after the infamous One More Day storyline where Peter Parker made a deal with the devil to save his Aunt May's life. Johnny even says "He was ready to die" when confessing, something that also applied to Aunt May.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: A rather annoying example. In every commercial, Ghost Rider is seen tossing a man into the air, then grabbing him by his chain, prepared to kick the guy's ass. Not only is this man the Big Bad, but this happens seconds before the climax.
  • Two-Faced: Roarke is a more subtle example, half of his face is much older than the other.
  • Universal Driver's License: The Rider can drive anything with a driver's seat, and convert it to a hell-born mechanical nightmare while doing so.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: Daniel Ketch isn't Johnny's brother, like he was in the comics.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The Rider goes for this approach when dealing with sinners, due to it's Ax-Crazy nature.
  • Villainous Face Hold: Head monk Methodius has Johnny, Moreau, and Nadya captured so he can execute the latter's son. He holds Nadya's jaw whilst telling her there's nothing she can do to save her son before knocking her unconscious.
    • Blackout later returns the favour, holding Methodius's jaw so that he's forced to look him in the eye as he slowly kills him by rotting his flesh. He does this again to a powerless Johnny, whilst mocking him that Danny was now possessed and witnessing the execution. Fortunately, Danny gives him his Ghost Rider powers back before Blackout can kill him.
  • Walking Wasteland: Carrigan is brought back from the dead by Roarke as Blackout, with the ability to decay anything he touches.note 
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: Ghost Rider is stated to eat the souls of sinners, rather than just using the Penance Stare.