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The Unloved, Part 90: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Nic Cage is not an actor every director can handle. He'll steal the thing from you like a basketball and shoot a three-pointer from half court while you're still wondering what accent he's doing. Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor knew EXACTLY what to do with him and they gave him a volatile turn worthy of his power. 

2011's "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" was the final nail in the coffin of an interesting mainstream American cinema. Marvel gave the two visual punk rockers the keys to their franchise and they took a flame thrower to it, turning a viable cash cow into something with sick-ass personality. It lost money, it got bad reviews, and Marvel never took another risk again. Even still I wouldn't trade this movie for what might have been; I'd never ever ask any real artist to apologize for their art. "Spirit of Vengeance" was a defiant act of graffiti and I'm grateful we got this before the doors were closed. 

The American cinema is in deep trouble. The only solution: Give these two guys millions of dollars stat. Taylor made the brilliant "Mom and Dad" with Cage and Neveldine made "The Vatican Tapes," but if we brought them back together this damned art form might still have a prayer. 



Scout Tafoya

Scout Tafoya is a critic and filmmaker who writes for and edits the arts blog Apocalypse Now and directs both feature length and short films.

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