Review Detail

8.8 4 10
FanMix February 23, 2024 505
(Updated: April 01, 2024)
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The vast majority of the Nicolas Cage weirdness has thankfully been removed minus him drinking the large jug of coffee and a few instances of melodramatic pointing although I don’t think there’s a way the instance of his melodramatic pointing at San Vanganza could be cut out or around though I’d love to be proven wrong on this point and speaking of points the removal of the pointless and pace breaking subplots such as the dinner date improve the flow and pace of the narrative immensely.

Combining his first two nights as the Ghost Rider into one night not only drastically improves said flow but it helps to reduce the Super Villain count much quicker making more room for the developed characters of the overall narrative and ultimately making the ride far more entertaining to watch and experience, not only that but the amount of activity Johnny is forced to undergo in this now combined night makes his exhaustion when he reaches the Caretaker’s graveyard much more believable than it was in both the theatrical and extended cuts.

Speaking of said Caretaker’s residence there are two scenes surrounding that area that I think could have been trimmed with the first example being when Johnny falls at his fathers gravestone so that instead of the camera shake and the Caretaker’s cringy line it immediately cuts to black as Johnny hits the ground with the other scene being the one where Johnny leaves the graveyard after hearing of the potential harm that Blackheart may cause as it lingers on the Caretaker chewing for a bit to long.

Though on the subject of Blackheart this following statement definitely feels a bit odd without the conversation between him and his father ‘’He thinks your better than me I don’t know who’s more pathetic you or him’’ well I understand why you cut it out I personally think a trimmed version of said conversation could have worked which would maintain some of Blackheart's depth as an antagonist and would have strengthened the whole father and son motif that this film has but it would help to better make sense of his statement I mentioned above.

Roxanne was definitely strengthened by the creative editing choices here as the removal of the majority of her scenes and the restructuring of others helped to improve her likability as a character a fair bit and made Johnny come of as a slightly better ex boyfriend as well thanks to the removal of that awful freeway scene in the original.

Well I wasn’t sure about the removal of the conversation between her and Johnny at his apartment at first as I thought it would lead to a plothole of how she would figure out that Johnny is the Ghost Rider I than came to realise that being as how he is the only stuntman in the narratives present day events and as the Ghost Rider is literally performing several stunts near her vicinity she would logically deduce that the flaming skull demon on a motorcycle is in fact her ex boyfriend and quite honestly I really dig this more genre savvy version of Roxanne though I wouldn’t say I dig this line of dialogue from her.

‘’No this is what you are this is what you were always meant to be’’ as to why I don’t quite dig this line it’s because I feel it makes her come of as really insensitive especially considering that in his painful journey to get to where he is Johnny had to lose his soul, his father, his friend, his career, his mentor figure and deal with both relationship issues and skin tissue burning from his initial transformation along with the fact that since he’s chosen to continue his solitary life as the Spirit of Vengeance he is also regrettably losing her. I think it would have been better to either cut there conversation out all together or maybe trim it as the silence of their emotional parting carries the rest of the scene.

On the subject of things that carry through a scene or more accurately scenes the manner in which you deployed the use of the non linear narrative through Johnny’s various states of unconsciousness in order to slowly reveal more about the character and those around him through segmenting his origin story was an efficient and genius way to keep the flow going through the past and present and the mannerism of ways you transitioned from the past to the present and vice versa helped to make those narrative based transitions feel like they were truly part of the movie such as the one where Mack smacks Johnny alongside his face.

The reason why this one works so well is because of the way the camera sound and flash transitions into the scene where the Devil first meets him which you effectively foreshadowed with an earlier but trimmed flashback that occurs as he’s making the jump and it naturally provides more context to the previous flashback though as for said meeting between Protagonist and Antagonist I did feel that the decision to make it brighter inside the tent undercuts the atmosphere of said scene which I felt was brilliantly conveyed with it’s subtle blue tint and low lighting in the original and extended cuts of the film.

Though on the subject of devilish and demonic related flashbacks and present night scenes the multilayered crossfades you used for Young Johnny and Young Roxanne’s moment by the tree after The Devil’s ‘’Forget about love’’ made for both great narrative and visual symbology and the quote used by Johnny in Spirit of Vengeance perfectly symbolises his situation in the flashback as he is quite literally at a crossroad both visually and mentally which strengthens the crushing impact of The Devil’s cruelty with said cruelty strengthened further when he meets Johnny again in the present and purposely leaves out the terms and conditions of what would happen if Johnny succeeded in destroying Blackheart.

Great idea to cut out that little snippet of dialogue and on that note there is one other little snippet that I think could have been cut with said snippet being the effect that occurs from 01:29-01:32 as in all honesty it really doesn’t look that great though as to how it could have been cut perhaps replacing the visuals but not the audio with one of the stock fireball effects from Johnny’s first transformation sequence would help to give the scene a little more flare especially if some fire SFX were added on top of it.

Though one VFX effect that did work from both viewing and editing experience and I know is apart of the original source and the manner in which your repurposed the moon fireball as a cross fade and feathering effect into the daytime stadium scene narratively linked well to the idea of a legend becoming true just as linking the two stadium scenes together helped to move along the whole stuntman subplot at a quicker pace while maintaining the coherency and momentum of said subplot, just as the removal of the whole investigation subplot strengthens the momentum of the story even though said removal leads to a small jacket related continuity error but from experience I can understand why attempting to make said jacket consistent throughout would be a pain.

What pain is removed though and made far more bearable is the use of the Karen Carpenter song and the extension of the ZZTop song made for not only a great way to bypass some Nicolas Cage weirdness but it extends really well into Blackhearts introduction with Blackhearts statement of ‘’One city…at a time’’ making for a perfect narrative and visual transition into said city, In terms of your utilisation of time based continuity the manner in which you repurposed the Blackheart church scenes to gel better with the Caretaker scenes with the increase in brightness does a nice job in maintaining said time based continuity and suggesting that it is daytime when these take place.

Though there were two odd continuity based cuts during the Gressil fight with the first occurring here 26:45-26:46 and the other occurring at 26:59-27:00 which also had a slight flash frame issue though what didn’t have an issue and additionally was and is a very good idea was the creation of the Mid Credits scene.

What makes the idea of your Mid Credits scene work is that the repurposed opening credits and it’s visual background along with the films official ending credits and background blend together effectively as if they are apart of the same sequence and that you effectively have Johnny following through with the first steps of his grand speech at San Vanganza, additionally it captures that MCU Mid credits scene vibe very well and yes I am aware this isn't an MCU era Marvel Movie. The little easter egg you’ve blended into his Penance Stare is not only a nice little dose of fan service but it effectively gives a satisfying conclusion to a subplot that said film leaves incomplete thus fixing the problem with said films subplot, now I find myself imagining what a crossover film between these two characters would look like though I am sure plenty of Youtubers and Fanfic writers are already on the case with that little crossover fantasy.

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