Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a 2012 American 3D supernatural superhero film based on the Marvel Comics antihero Ghost Rider. It is a loose sequel to the 2007 film Ghost Rider and features Nicolas Cage returning to his starring role as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider. It is also the second film to be released under the Marvel Knights banner after 2008’s Punisher: War Zone. The film was directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, from a screenplay written by David S. Goyer, Scott Gimple and Seth Hoffman. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was released in theaters on February 17, 2012.
Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage) was a former stunt rider who often teamed up with his father on various stunts. When he discovered that his father’s death is impending, he makes a deal with a man named Roarke (Ciarán Hinds) who claims to be the Devil in exchange for his soul and a curse to be set upon him. Johnny now hosts an entity called ‘The Rider’, a fiery demon who punishes sinners, no matter how petty the crimes are. However, his father dies anyway, and having two minds fighting for control over his new powers, Johnny attempts to stay as far away from mankind as possible and hides out somewhere in Eastern Europe (Romania).
In the present, a drunken priest named Moreau (Idris Elba) attempts to warn the monks at a castle that the Devil has sent out forces to retrieve the boy and his mother hiding there, despite the head monk’s (Anthony Head) reassurances. At that moment, mercenaries hired by Roarke breach the castle and kill all the monks except for Moreau and the mother, Nadya (Violante Placido) and her son Danny, who escape. Moreau chases after them, as well as the mercenaries. Trying to protect Nadya and her son, Moreau is driven off a cliff before he shoots the mercenaries’ tires, delaying them before they can go after the mother and son. He survives, as a tree breaks his fall. Moreau seeks out Johnny, who has been living in isolation in an abandoned village. Johnny is at first refusing, but when Moreau promises that the secret and ancient order he is a part of can exorcise the curse from his soul, Johnny agrees.
Nadya and Danny are found by the mercenaries, who drive their car off the highway and crash it. Their leader, Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth), takes Danny after a struggle and attempts to execute Nadya. Meanwhile, Johnny, who has been holding back the Rider for some time, unleashes him, and transforms. He arrives just as Carrigan is about to kill Nadya and kills two of his men. The Rider senses the great evil in Danny and tries to kill him, but Nadya distracts him long enough for Cardigan to knock him out with a grenade launcher and takes away Danny. Johnny wakes up in a nearby hospital and confronts Nadya, who is also there. They both join forces in order to save her son. Meanwhile, Roarke arrives in Europe, and sets up a “firewall” to prevent the Rider from finding Danny, but advises Carrigan to run, as he can still sense ‘him’.
Nadya takes Johnny to one of Carrigan’s contacts, and finds that he is in an old quarry. Johnny begins to transform, and when Nadya confirms her son and Carrigan’s location, Johnny rides there mid-transformation. Carrigan prepares himself with an army of his men, including a rocket launcher that could hopefully defeat Johnny. The Rider appears and a battle ensues while Nadya frees Danny. The Rider makes short work of the mercenaries by “riding” a Bagger 288 and kills Carrigan. As Nadya and Danny escape, the Rider catches up to them and attempts to kill Nadya. But in Danny’s presence, the rider is forced to turn back into Johnny Blaze, partly due to being the Devil’s son. Roarke approaches Carrigan’s corpse, and resurrects him into the being known as Blackout, who can render a person’s environment pitch black and decay anything he touches. Roarke sustains some injuries due to his weak state on the Earth and sends Blackout to retrieve Danny.
Moreau catches up to the group and leads them to a Sanctuary, where the monks, including Methodius (Christopher Lambert) ensure the protection of Danny. Before the exorcism, Moreau explains to Johnny that the Rider was once the Angel of Justice, Zarathos, but was tricked into going into Hell and was driven insane. Retaining his sense of justice, Zarathos became a Spirit of Vengeance, though Johnny questions if the Angel is still inside. Johnny is successfully exorcised, but Methodius reveals his treachery and plans to kill Danny to prevent the Devil from taking over his body and achieving higher powers. Johnny, Moreau, and Nadya are imprisoned as Danny is about to be executed. However, Blackout arrives and kills Methodius and the monks, retaking Danny back to Roarke. Nadya is devastated by what has occurred, but Johnny swears to rescue Danny, even though his powers are now gone.
Armed, the group makes their way to a coliseum, where Roarke and his followers gather to enact the trade. Moreau distracts the followers while Johnny tries to get Danny, but is knocked back while Moreau is killed by Blackout. The ceremony interrupted, Roarke opts to kill Johnny in retaliation. Danny, knowing that he has his father’s abilities, returns Zarathos to Johnny, who becomes more powerful and is now able to exist in daylight, appearing to be in full control as well. Danny is taken again and a chase ensues between the Rider, Nadya, Blackout, and Roarke. The Rider dispatches Blackout and causes Roarke’s vehicle to crash. The Rider confronts Roarke, who declares that Johnny is “the worst fucking deal [he] has ever made”. The Rider then literally sends Roarke back to Hell, slamming him into the fiery depths of the Earth. Nadya catches up, but is dismayed to find the Rider pulling Danny’s lifeless body from the wreck of the car. Reverting back, Johnny says that he feels the Angel of Justice reawaken within him once more and resurrects Danny with the Angel’s blue flames. Johnny then rides off, now engulfed in holy blue flames, declaring that he is “The Ghost Rider”.