Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Trailer; More Nic Cage!

Yesterday, we brought you the trailer for "Trespass", the next movie from Nicolas Cage. We already know that Cage is lacking in funds and likely takes all the work he can get. Which would probably explain why it looks so bad.

Today, we have more Nic Cage goodness for you, but I'm not going to lie, I'm a little more optimistic about this one.

2007's Ghost Rider was pretty much panned by critics. Rotten Tomatoes claimed it was "a sour mix of morose, glum histrionics amidst jokey puns and hammy dialogue", on its way to a 27% tomatometer ,but I think that's a little unfair. Ghost Rider was misunderstood. It was a western disguised as a comic book movie -- you don't have to look any further than Sam Elliott to confirm that one -- and in an odd way, it worked. At least for me.

But hey, we're not here to defend my stance on the original Ghost Rider film. We're here to look at the second one, titled "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance":

The trailer obviously doesn't offer much in terms of story, but it does have a grittier, darker feel, which will likely be good for the franchise. It's also nice to see Hollywood stick with a film and make an actual sequel, in an age where there are more reboots than actual franchises.

Nic Cage is the only returnee to the film. Mark Steven Johnson has been replaced by Neveldine/Taylor, the duo behind the Crank movies, Gamer -- second gamer reference on the site today! -- and, unfortunately, the script to Jonah Hex. Mark Steven Johnson has also been repliced in the writing department by David S. Goyer (story), who has had the benefit of working on the Nolan Batman trilogy and plenty of other comic book films, with Scott Gimple and Seth Hoffman working on the screenplay. The most notable addition to the cast is Idris Elba, who's pretty much awesome in everything he's in, but Johnny Whitworth, Ciaran Hinds and Christopher Lambert should also be good additions.

The story itself takes place several years after the first film. Johnny Blaze (Cage) has exiled himself, convinced his powers are a curse. Blaze is eventually commissioned by Moreau (Elba) to protect a mother and son hunted by Roarke (Whitworth), who turns into the supervillain Blackout. Hinds takes over for Peter Fonda as the Devil, but it is unclear whether he will play the same character as Peter Fonda in the first film.

Obviously, this is going to be a film we're going to have to wait for before passing judgement on. It looks like Marvel and Columbia have taken a step in the right direction with the franchise, but there's really no way to tell for now, considering the complete turn in the direction of the second film, and the unexpected fact that it isn't a clean reboot. Moreover, it's small $50M budget and February 17th release date say a lot about what expectations the studio have for the film, but let's hope that they've learned their lessons.

I'll be watching "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance", if only to see Nicolas Cage losing his shit once again.