"If someone makes a mistake—a big mistake—do you think they should have to pay for it every day for the rest of their life?" ponders Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage). Or does he deserve "a second chance"?
Carter Slade (Sam Elliott) is sure Blaze deserves a second chance—even if his "mistake" was selling his soul to a devil named Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda) in order to save a loved one dying from cancer. "You did it for the right reason," Slade assures Blaze, "and that means you've got God on your side."
Well, that's a nice thought. In supernatural comic-book movies, though, "God's side" can be a pretty abstract concept, especially compared to, well, the other side. Religious references and iconography are allowed, yet as the powers of hell run amok on the earth, the powers of heaven seem distant and uninvolved.
In Hellboy, the villain went so far as to taunt one of the heroes about how "your God remains silent" while the villain's "god" was active in the world. Constantine at least had angels around, although they seemed impotent and passive compared to the demons. (In one scene demons kill a priest right in front of an angel, who can only comfort him as he dies, and another major angelic figure turned out to be a dangerous wacko.) Then there's Spawn, in which a damned soul subverts hell's plans to attack heaven, without much evident support from heaven itself.
An early Ghost Rider storyline in the comic books featured a startling contrast to this general principle: In Ghost Rider #9, Johnny Blaze is granted his "second chance" by no less than Jesus Christ himself, who delivers Blaze from the Devil's clutches, saying, "Johnny Blaze's soul is beyond you, Satan. He has earned his second chance."
Writer Tony Isabella, ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
This slideshow is only available for subscribers.
Please log in or subscribe to view the slideshow.