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WMG / City of Angels

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Nicolas Cage is playing the same character in City of Angels, Mandy (2018), Drive Angry, and the Ghost Rider movies

The order would go like this: In City of Angels, Seth starts out as an angel, invisible to mortals and on God's errand. But during the course of that film, he falls in love with Meg Ryan, who tragically dies. After coming to terms with this tragedy (or not... who knows?) during that film's Gainax Ending, he moves on, settles down again and starts a new life, changing his name to Milton Red Miller.


This leads to Mandy (2018). His idyllic life with the eponymous Mandy shattered by the events of this film, he is forever cracked and broken... nothing like the angel he once was. He lives a broken, tumultuous live, turns to crime and sleeping around, destining himself to Hell.

Thus follows Drive Angry. When his daughter (that he had either by remarrying, or out of wedlock) and son-in-law are killed by a cult and his granddaughter kidnapped, Milton cannot sit idly by and let Hell get away with it. So he steals the Godkiller and drives out of the infernal realm to set things right. Unfortunately, though he does, he also is doomed to still return to his damnation. But it's obvious he will rebel. He's broken out once before, he'll do it again.

So now comes the Ghost Rider films. Having been so rambunctious and having caused so many problems, Milton is turned into The Spirit of Justice, allowing the Devil to wield him like a weapon. But when the devil curses Johnny Blaze with the Spirit of Vengeance, the angel Seth/Milton turns the tables and becomes a crusader for justice. The fact that Johnny Blaze starts out as a young man who looks nothing like Nicolas Cage who grows up to look like him is a sign of Translation Convention: the grown up Johnny Blaze probably still looks nothing like our favorite batshit actor, but having us see the angel's visage instead of the mortal he's attached to is a sign that he's the same character.


So when Johnny Blaze recalls that "there was an angel" in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, he's hazily recalling Seth/Milton/Red's backstory.


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