Ghost Rider: Cage is a Dork
Let me start out by saying this: I don’t dislike Nicolas Cage, I think he’s a fine… no, fantastic actor. In the right role he can be captivating and utterly convincing. His performances in Birdy, Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas, and Adaptation were among a few of his film choices that have demonstrated the great range he has. For all of his skill as an actor, Cage suffers from a crippling disorder which retards his competence when it comes to choosing roles for himself.
This may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t know Nicolas Cage personally. However I do get the distinct impression that he’s a huge dork. As evidence to support this impression, I can only offer the fact that his obsession with comic books and super heroes led him to name his son Kal-El. Now, as other dorks (such as myself and to a greater degree, you) would know, Kal-El is the name that Superman’s parents gave him before setting him off on his way to earth to avoid being caught up in the destruction of Krypton.
I’m not suggesting that Cage’s fascination with comics and superheroes is the aforementioned ‘crippling disorder which retards his competence when it come to choosing roles for himself’, but, like all dorks, Cage seems to have a somewhat skewed view of himself. Seriously, ask any dork, we all think we’re cool. In our heads we’re the epitome of awesome and that, in those same heads, means we are Superman, or Batman or (if you’re a dork with self esteem issues) Aquaman.. or, in my case, The Silver Surfer. Where Cage’s problem becomes just embarrassing, and I mean MORE embarrassing than having a web site where you post random crap that no-one gives a rats arse about, is that he makes movies. Movies like Snake Eyes, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Face Off and National Treasure in which he plays the action hero type character (albeit often with a nasty twist). But here’s the thing.. He’s a dork. No matter how he bulks up, or how long he grows his hair, or how damn fine an actor he is, he’s still a dork.
Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep are also fine actors, however you don’t see them lining up to play Spiderman or Wonder Woman (Although, I bet Hoffman would jump at BOTH roles if offered) because they have an understanding of the types of characters that they are capable of portraying. Or to look at it another way, they are aware of the kinds of characters that an audience will accept them in the role of. And yes, we should be able to suspend disbelief but the fact is that movies ain’t radio, so the images on the screen have to match up with what our expectations are. And Cage isn’t Superman, no matter ho much he wants to be.
What you may not know is that Superman Returns is the first in a long line of Superman based projects to actually make it to cinemas. Since Superman IV was released back in ’87 there have been no less than ten attempts to bring the man of steel back to the big screen. All manner of names have been linked to these projects over the years: Kevin Smith, Brett Ratner, Tim Burton to name just three. Cage was signed on to play the Supes role in the version that Burton developed but, fortunately, that was one of the versions that ended up on the scrap heap. Eventually, as we all know, Brian Singer and crew got Superman Returns off the lot and that ended any chance that we’d have to contend with seeing Cage in the blue suit.
We do, however have to contend with seeing Cage force his lanky frame into the lead of a different comic book to movie adaptation… Johnny Blaze, aka Ghost Rider:
Right, to be clear, I’m not overly familiar with the Ghost Rider character, but that doesn’t usually stop me from being interested in checking out an adaptation of this sort. Far be it from me to wish ill on any creative production, however when you choose to run with an actor who so clearly is wrong for the part (I mean, seriously, what the hell is that thing on his head? No wonder they set it on fire!) you doom your own endeavor to failure. I hope I’m wrong, and I hope that this film turns out to be great and pleases fans of the comics, but I just can’t help but think that Cage’s rabid desire to play a superhero has him shoehorning himself into a role as ill fitting as that jacket.