Cage brings comic hero to life

Riding his stunt bike by day as Johnny Blaze, Nicolas Cage takes on the starring role in the next big comic book adaptation Ghost Rider. The film hit theaters on February 16.By Jonathan Schulter

After months of delays and scrutiny by comic book fans, the big screen adaptation of the popular Marvel comic Ghost Rider starring Nicolas Cage (Lord of War) finally hit theaters and turned out to be a great success. The much-anticipated film was an exhilarating and adrenaline-pumping ride that is a joy to watch. There are great special effects and the story keeps you hooked, but the overall message is the highlight of the film.

Johnny Blaze (Cage) is a young stunt rider along with his father. When Blaze discovers his father is dying of cancer, he is forced by the love for his father to make a deal with the devil. He gives his soul away to become the legendary and deadly apprentice for the evil Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda, Easy Rider) known as the Ghost Rider.

By day Johnny is indestructible on the stunt circuit, but when the time comes Mephistopheles returns to capture him again. Johnny is then forced to utilize his Ghost Rider abilities to fight the powerful Blackheart (Wes Bentley, American Beauty) and his allies. Meanwhile, Johnny tries to get back his childhood sweetheart, Roxanne (Eva Mendes, Hitch), whom he was forced to walk away from as a young man.

This film is truly a visual treat from start to finish. The special effects are a bit over the top, but fun to watch. The Ghost Rider’s transformation is incredible to see on screen. The action never stops as viewers watch Ghost Rider on his frantic pace to discover who and what he is and dealing with what he has become. The plot is easy to follow and is exciting to see unfold.

Another great aspect of the movie is Cage’s performance. He is truly a perfect fit for the role of Johnny. He shows us Johnny’s struggles to adapt to his new lifestyle of being the legendary Ghost Rider. Additionally, Fonda as the evil Mephistopheles and Sam Elliot as Johnny’s mentor were great picks for their respective roles.

The greatest aspect of this movie is the story. Johnny is a comic book character whom viewers can truly relate to. He is a character who is somewhat careless and doesn’t think before he acts like most people today; however, he has a big heart. Johnny makes a deal with the devil to save his father and he fails because he was careless and thought too soon; however, his intentions are valid. He then gets a second chance to make his father proud and obtain his childhood sweetheart, whom he had to give up when he was younger.

The film’s only downside was that the Ghost Rider was hard to understand while in character. Whenever he spoke, the dialogue sounded cheesy, and there was no development or poise to the character. Johnny was far more interesting and was more developed.

Ghost Rider is about second chances and how people must search in their own souls and grant second chances for the people they love. It’s a truly powerful message that stretches far beyond the comic book realm and into human nature.

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