When news broke of Robbie Reyes's Ghost Rider being featured in the fourth season of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., every Marvel fan from every walk of life was on the internet, chiming in with their opinions — before giving the newest iteration of Ghost Rider an opportunity to actually be seen in action. Fans were immediate to recall the lackluster reception to Ghost Rider (2007) and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012).
Unfortunately, ill will from those two movies led to skepticism over whether Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could get Ghost Rider right. However, fans are going to be quite pleased with Gabriel Luna's portrayal of Robbie Reyes in comparison to the reception to Nicholas Cage's Johnny Blaze.
Did Nicholas Cage Jump The Gun, Taking On Ghost Rider?
Both Ghost Rider films were some of the earliest Marvel movies (existing outside of the MCU). As such, Cage and director Mark Steven Johnson both had quite a task ahead of them when taking on the project.
It was a risk in itself, but both Johnson and Cage went for it with Ghost Rider. The film exploded with fantastic action scenes and even a few gems crafted from the magic Nic Cage brings to the big screen. Unfortunately, the film lacked box office numbers and reception to both films was lackluster, for lack of a better word. That's not to say Johnson and Cage did horrific jobs with Ghost Rider; they just may have bitten off more than they could chew when taking on the project altogether. Ghost Rider requires so much character development that it's not possible to cover all of it in a single film.
The reality is that for a cinematic take on Ghost Rider, there needed to be a trilogy of films at least. But when it came to Johnson's vision for Ghost Rider (2007), the director chose to condense the entire comic book history of Johnny Blaze into a brief introduction rather than fully exploring the character. Johnson did what he could and we should all be grateful for it. However, we can't fail to acknowledge the aspects of Ghost Rider's origins that weren't touched upon in the film.
Not only does Ghost Rider's vast comic mythology need to be explored in depth, there needs to be development for the villain as well, in order to make sense of why the villain is reigning down destruction on Earth and everything Ghost Rider fights for.
Johnson and Cage did an amazing job with the special effects and lead performance. However, the film still failed to depict any sort of linear development for the character. The sequel didn't really touch on its predecessor, almost as if the original Ghost Rider film didn't exist, even though Johnny Blaze still looks exactly like Nicholas Cage.
- What Can The New 'Agents Of SHIELD' Ghost Rider Learn From Nicolas Cage's Movies?
- Five Things You May Have Missed in "Ghost" - The Season 4 Premiere Of 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'!
- The Ghost Rider Made His Debut On 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' — And Blazed New Ground For A Darker Series!
Gabriel Luna's Performance Is Going To Surprise Fans
We now have a new Ghost Rider in actor Gabriel Luna. His portrayal is also going to draw forth a fair amount of criticism, seeing as how he's playing Robbie Reyes rather than Johnny Blaze (Blaze being the the more well-known Ghost Rider).
Still, Gabriel Luna's depiction of Ghost Rider is bringing the character back to life, so to speak. We've only seen a brief segment of Luna's ferocity as Robbie Reyes in last night's premiere of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., but throughout this season we'll see how Luna is going to revive the character in the eyes of Marvel fanatics everywhere. It's going to be a slow burn, but worth it.
And that's why the audience needs to realize that these actors, directors and writers are creating a visual depiction of supernatural characters on television. That in itself is a difficult task, but when they are faced with mass criticisms of why Ghost Rider can be better, it horribly displaces the attention from where it needs to be (on the superb portrayal of Ghost Rider by Gabriel Luna), onto the small inadequacies of the TV medium. In fact, the TV medium is a bonus, because — unlike the Cage films — Ghost Rider's story will have time to breathe and develop properly.
Why Gabriel Luna Will Give Fans A Reason To Invest In Ghost Rider
Luna has already shown some excellent acting chops with his debut as Ghost Rider, and we can't forget to credit Jed Whedon and Marissa Tanchareon for their amazing job on Ghost Rider's appearance, as well as his yet-to-be revealed motivations on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Regardless of the initial presumptions, Gabriel Luna has set himself up to portray a very difficult character in Ghost Rider — but with Jed Whedon and Marissa Tanchareon developing the character from behind the scenes, it's safe to say there'll be an outstanding season ahead. Luna himself already has some noteworthy acting accolades under his belt, and Ghost Rider is soon to be another one.
Just take a look at some of Luna's scenes as Robbie Reyes's Ghost Rider from last night's premiere and see for yourself why Luna is going to knock it out of the park this season.
'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' airs Tuesdays on ABC at its new time of 10 P.M. What did you think of Gabriel Luna's portrayal of Robbie Reyes' Ghost Rider? Did Luna surpass expectations or is he falling in line with Nicholas Cage's portrayal of Ghost Rider? And who played it better, Cage or Luna? What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments section below!