Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is the sequel to 2007’s Ghost Rider. It begins with a group of heavily armed high-tech mercenaries led by Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth) attacking a fortress-like monastery somewhere in Eastern Europe. The mercenaries want to capture young Danny (Fergus Riordan) and his mother, Nadya (Violante Placido), who are sheltering in the monastery. Apparently years earlier Nadya made a deal with the Devil, who appeared to her in the guise of a man called Roarke (Ciaran Hinds). She agreed that she would have the Devil’s son in exchange for her life. Roarke now wants his son to perform a satanic ritual in a few days’ time.
Nadya escapes with the help of a gun-wielding monk named Moreau (Idris Elba). Moreau approaches Johnny Blaze, or Ghost Rider (Nicolas Cage), who has been hiding out in an abandoned town in Eastern Europe. He offers Johnny a deal – protect Danny and Nadya from Roarke for the next few days and the Church will lift the curse on him.
This movie has intense fantasy action violence with frequent shooting, explosions and death. Much of the violence is cartoon-like. The movie doesn’t show a lot of blood and gore, but the violent scenes are very intense in 3D. The movie does show some realistic violence, some of it against a child. For example:
- Mercenaries attack the monks. The mercenaries shoot and kill everything in their way (the scenes don’t show any blood and gore). One man points a gun at a monk’s head and shoots the monk at close range (the fatal injury occurs off camera). A mercenary throws a monk over a balcony to his death (we don’t see him hit the ground). The men shoot at Nadya and 13-year-old Danny, but Nadya and Danny escape uninjured.
- Nadya shoots several men without worrying about it.
- A man handles Nadya roughly and forces her to the ground with her arms behind her back. He hits her over the head with a gun.
- Men throw Danny onto the ground and knock him out by bashing his head into a car door.
- Roarke injects Danny in the neck with a hypodermic syringe. This makes Danny unconscious.
- Ghost Rider uses flaming chains to slice and burn his enemies. He grabs his victims by the head, which makes their heads explode in flames. Attacks don’t seem to hurt Ghost Rider at all, although he’s riddled with machinegun bullets and blown up by grenades and missiles.
- Several flashback scenes of battles show shooting, bombing and blood-splattered soldiers.
- A man puts a mobile phone next to Danny’s ear. The boy listens, then screams out and falls to the ground unconscious.
- A monk holding a sword forces Danny to kneel on the ground and rest his head on a stone block. The monk raises his sword to cut off Danny’s head, but a demon stops him.
- After Carrigan gets supernatural powers, he kills numerous people by causing their flesh to instantly rot and turn to ash.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, some scenes in this movie could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:
- When Johnny Blaze turns into Ghost Rider, he appears as a flaming skull-headed demon. One scene shows Johnny shifting between Ghost Rider and his normal self while riding a motorbike and laughing crazily. Another scene shows Johnny lying on the ground convulsing. Clouds of black smoke and black chains spew from his mouth as he tries to rid himself of the Ghost Rider demon.
- The character Roarke has a creepy appearance with a face that looks abnormal.
- The Devil changes Carrigan into a demon of decay and darkness. Carrigan looks like a corpse. He has long white hair, white skin, blue veins, black eyes and rotting teeth. There are vivid images of Carrigan’s victims decaying and turning to dust or leaving crumbling stone-like statues behind.
- Danny vomits fire from his mouth into Johnny Blaze’s face.
- Danny jumps from a wall and lands badly. We hear the sound of his ankle breaking.
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
This movie has some sexual references. For example:
- A businessman approaches Nadya and asks her if she is a ‘gypsy’. He says that he has lots of money. Danny intervenes and the man quickly leaves.
- Nadya is dying from wounds and hears the voice of a man (the Devil) asking her if she wants to make a deal. The movie gives us the idea that Nadya has the Devil’s son.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie shows some use of substances. For example:
- In several scenes, Moreau drinking from a small flask. He also drinks wine from bottles. There’s a reference to Moreau being an alcoholic. Moreau never looks like he’s drunk.
- While in hospital recovering from injuries, Johnny Blaze asks a nurse for morphine and valium. The nurse won’t give them to him, so he steals several bottles of pills from a medical cabinet. He pours a lot of pills into his mouth.
- Roarke injects Danny in the neck, which makes him unconscious.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie shows some cartoon nudity and brief, mild sexual activity. For example:
- There are cartoon images of Johnny Blaze showing his buttocks during a motorbike stunt.
- A man tries to kiss Nadya roughly on the mouth, and she pushes him away.
None of concern
This movie has some coarse language throughout.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is an action fantasy based on a Marvel Comics character. It targets a male adolescent audience, and its special effects and computer-generated images should appeal to that audience.
You should note, however, that the movie is rated M. It’s darker and more menacing than the first Ghost Rider movie and is too violent and scary for children under 13. This is partly because it shows a young boy as a victim of violence. The 3D effects add to the intensity. It also contains coarse language, which children might imitate.
The main messages from this movie are that we all have free will and choices. Our environment and genetics don’t always determine who or what we become.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:
- Selflessness and self-sacrifice: Johnny shows these qualities when he decides to continue as Ghost Rider.
- Unconditional love: Danny’s mother shows unconditional love when she puts his needs above her own and never gives up on him.