Sunday, March 18, 2007

Nicholas Cage whirls his MEGA LONG flaming iron chain from waist height

Hello. This is my first review at Leftist Movie Reviews. I was invited months ago or something by AradhanaD to post reviews here, but then I stopped watching movies.

This review has spoilers. Not that it matters.

This is going to be a very short review. I saw the comic-book-based movie Ghost Rider, and was ROTFL the whole way through. What was it? A hypermasculinized mélange of stereotypes wrapped in a nonsensical enigma wrapped in a heavily overwrought resurrection of Faust. We are treated at the beginning to the usual glorified retelling of the White Man's conquest of the desolate, uninhabited West, and then we proceed from there to a tale about a budding motorcycle stunt man's heartbreaking take of a predictable loss caused by a deal with the Devil, a white man on a cane. A fairly good-looking young man eventually grows up to bear, sadly, the droning voice and completely wooden, expressionless face of Nicholas Cage, performing ever more ridiculous stunts to prove himself worthy of his father as well as challenging this limits of his Faustian bargain.

Finally, the Devil comes to take his due, and that involves turning Nicholas Cage into a FLAMING SKELETON IN LEATHER to fight his enemies, who are ghoulish creatures with few interesting characteristics and are all defeated in one way or by Cage waving a giant flaming chain from waist height. In the meantime, his ex-girlfriend, who has gone from alluringly naive but wholesome country girl to glamourous yet completely incompetent sports TV reporter---and is played by someone who must be some exotically objectified Hispanic pop star, I'm sure, I hardly pay attention to these people---endured heartbreak yet again, only to be take hostage by Cage's enemies and freed with minimal effort by the FLAMING SKELETON IN LEATHER.

One scene that particularly struck me was when Cage, in FLAMING SKELETON IN LEATHER mode, decides to rescue a young white woman being mugged by a young white man. Cage uses his Total Perspective Vortex powers on the young perp to destroy him. That really encapsulates what this movie is all about, which is merely the wish that the world would conform to a simple Manichean model, where powerful masculine hero defeats EVIL wherever it may be, with no distinction made between little perps and big perps.

And that, of course, is no different from 90% of superhero movies out there. What were you expecting? I'm sorry to disappoint AradhanaD, but I cannot bring any serious powers of class analysis to bear on this movie---or at least I can't bring anything new to it, because there is nothing new or unusual about this movie. It's primary quality is that it is so badly done, which is also its most redeeming quality: it is hilariously funny. I guess, to be fair to the creators of this movie, they didn't really stereotype dark skinned people, largely because they were absent---unless you count comically stupid supervillains with blue-tinged skin. I apologize to all blue humans if I have not done right by them in this review.

Alright: I will throw you one bone. This movie was clearly made to give voice to one cultural strand in North America: a certain segment of the working-class midwestern/southern white population. If these people exist that way, then the hero is intended to be seen as coming from among them. The chief villain is dressed in Gothwear, so perhaps---stretching it---he is intended to represent the decadence of urban liberal media or something. But that's all I can give you.

Comments happily open. Crossposted at my blog, Politblogo.

No comments: