Ladies and gentlemen, it's almost here. The sequel that no one seemed to be clamoring for, starring an increasingly disgraced Oscar winner (no, Marlon Brando did not come back from the grave) and directed by two of the world's foremost experts on Red Bull, "Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance" hits theaters next week.
The Nicolas Cage Marvel superhero vehicle has been getting less-than-glowing early buzz (even the uber-geeks in attendance at Butt-Numb-A-Thon gave it a collective thumbs down), and Columbia Pictures has decided not to have any critics screenings before it opens (which usually means exactly what it sounds like it means).
Still, eternal optimists that we are, HitFix has four good (well, maybe passable) reasons to not give up hope of this movie being watchable.
1. Watch your dreams come alive, via a flaming, laughing skull
Cage has been known to (ahem) occasionally ham it up onscreen, but the "Ghost Rider" series has truly given him carte blanche in the scenery-chewing department. Here, he cackles like an undead Beavis while living out every teen boy's fantasy (well, one type of fantasy): Using a flaming wrecking ball to break stuff. This must be what co-directors Neveldine/Taylor (the "Crank" films) see when they close their eyes:
2. Everyone likes Idris Elba
Even when he's in a movie like this, doing some sort of accent (Caribbean? Russian? Elvish?) and acting opposite a comatose Cage, it's hard to take your eyes off the Emmy winner ("Luther," "Thor"). Here he offers a glimmer of hope to the cursed Johnny Blaze.
3. You don't like words
If you're the type of person who'd rather watch old VHS tapes of late-90s era MTV (fast cuts, hot girls, nu-metal) than hold a conversation or put up with "dialogue," then you might just fall in love with this "Road Warrior"-esque scene:
4. It can help you in your line of work
Say you're a doctor -- then you can pore over this clip's detailed look at the human skull (engulfed in flames, of course). Or, maybe you're some sort of chain enthusiast. Well, then, this is the movie for you (ummmm...OK, we're really stretching it for No. 4).
"Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" opens in 3D February 17.