Nicolas Cage (2011's "Season of the Witch") was reportedly a die-hard fan of the Marvel comic book series prior to filming 2007's "Ghost Rider," which made its hokey creative failures and scripting woes all the more unfortunate. There is no way this decidedly soft, innocuous version was what Cage envisioned at the onset of signing on, and it's only with the luck of a profitable box-office that's blessed the actor a second chance to get things right. Hence, original director Mark Steven Johnson is out, edgy, epileptic filmmakers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (2009's "Gamer") are in, and "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" is billing itself as a reimagining rather than a sequel (methinks the studio is simply trying to cover its bases for all the naysayers out there). And how does it fare? Slightly improved in a few departments, but riddled yet again with a trashy script and groan-worthy aims at humor that don't fit in with the film's darker, grittier style. Imagine if a stock third sequel to "The Transporter" had supernatural undertones and a fiery, skull-headed, motorcycle-riding, chain-whipping hero, and you won't be far off from what "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" is like.
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