Every Nicolas Cage Superhero Movie, Ranked
If his credit list is any indication, there’s nothing Nicolas Cage can’t do.
The enigmatic Oscar-winning actor has been a mainstay of American cinema since 1982, when he made his screen debut in the high school classic Fast times at Ridgemont High. Since then, he has gone on to appear in over 100 films, ranging from his Oscar-winning performance in 1995 Leaving Las Vegas (1995) to his iconic role as Benjamin Gates in 2004 national treasure. Most recently, he had an all-time performance as a struggling truffle forager in 2021 Pork.
But we’re not here to talk about any of those movies. We’re here to talk about his first adventure in comic book movies: 2007 ghost rider. This film and its crazy sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, are respectfully celebrating their 15th and 10th anniversaries this week. Both films star Cage as Johnny Blaze – AKA “Ghost Rider” – the famous Marvel anti-hero with a flaming skull and an equally flaming motorcycle for his transportation. ghost rider was Cage’s first foray into the world of superheroes, and since then he’s appeared in five more such films. So, because this is about SYFY and not the Oscars, we’re going to rank these six films.
6. GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (2012)
spirit of revenge gives the impression that its predecessor The black Knight in comparison. Cage plays the titular Ghost Rider, but he feels like a completely different character than the original ghost rider movie presented to us. The 2007 film portrays him as a raw anti-hero; here, spirit of revenge completely flips the script and tries to make him a quick, sarcastic action hero, and it just doesn’t really work. Not to mention that the film – which surprisingly succeeded in recruiting Idris Elba into its cast – has a contrived plot that feels more like bad Ghost Rider fanfiction. It is not surprising that after spirit of revenge met with poor reviews and a disappointing box office, Cage said he was done with the character.
5. GHOST RIDER (2007)
One of Cage’s most endearing qualities as an actor is that whatever the role, he gives more than anything. Like, anytime. That much, ghost rider is by no means a great movie, but Cage’s Marvel debut really sees him embody the unhinged essence of Johnny Blaze. Cage is absolutely go ahead here, and delivers the campy dialogue with a perfect tinge of action movie enthusiasm. In a fight scene, Cage’s Ghost Rider is about to kill Gressil, a demonic sidekick to the villainous Blackheart. As Cage hoists his signature chain of fire through the air, Gressil shouts, “Please have mercy!” Cage then responds, in perfect, over-the-top bravado, “Sorry…all out of pity!” and proceeds to murder the unfortunate antagonist.
ghost rider isn’t in the top tier of pre-MCU Marvel movies (or even the middle tier), but that’s certainly not Nic Cage’s fault.
4. ASTRO BOY (2009)
So why didn’t anyone tell me that Astro Boy is secretly about coping with grief and learning to move on after a tragedy? Because this movie really should have come with an emotional warning label.
In Cage’s first animated superhero film, he voices Dr. Tenma, the head of Metro City’s Department of Science and a grieving relative. Dr. Tenma’s son, Toby, is accidentally killed during a test of one of his own creations, prompting him to create Astro, a robot boy into which all of his son’s memories were uploaded. Throughout the film, Dr. Tenma is torn between rejecting Astro for not replacing his human son and accepting him as the beacon of hope in his life that he previously lacked. Fortunately, this is a children’s movie (although my description so far certainly doesn’t make you think that), and Dr. Tenma and Astro live happily ever after as father and son. As always, Cage gives it his all, and what more could you ask for from a lively scientist?
3. THE YOUNG TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIE (2018)
One of DC’s most underrated films, The Teen Titans Go! At the movie theater is a clever and entertaining addition to the company’s animated canon. This fun and entertaining 84-minute adventure centers around the Teen Titans’ ambitions to star in their own superhero movie after seeing all of their DC contemporaries receive their own live action ride on the big screen. Cage voices Superman, except his version of Clark Kent is more concerned with looking good on camera than saving the citizens of Metropolis. What makes this ironic role even better is that Cage was originally cast as Superman in Tim Burton’s infamously canceled film. superman livesin the late 90s. He couldn’t don the red cape and blue tights at the time, but this film serves as a solid consolation prize.
2. ASS BLOW (2010)
Based on the ultra-violent comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., Kick ass casts Nicolas Cage as Damon Macready, an ex-cop who moonlights as a DIY Batman-inspired vigilante named Big Daddy. He works alongside his daughter, the skilled killer Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), to get revenge on the mob boss who framed him years earlier. Cage plays up the character’s dual nature in an exhilarating way, alternating between a calm but controlling father figure and a ruthless and violent crime fighter. In terms of emotional superhero movie moments, it doesn’t get much better than the scene where, just before he dies, Big Daddy tells his daughter he’s proud of her. Kick ass is a wonder of a movie and is one of the strongest and most entertaining performances of Cage’s career.
1. SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (2018)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse redefined what animated storytelling could do in the superhero genre, and while Nicolas Cage only plays a supporting role in it, he steals every scene he’s in.
Cage voices Spider-Man Noir, a black-and-white version of Spider-Man from a 1930s universe who walks into Miles Morales’ dimension and says things like, “Are you gonna fight or are you banging guns , you tough turtle snapper?” Although he doesn’t quite understand the intricacies of a Rubik’s Cube, Spider-Man Noir is one of the “other” Spider-Men who helps Miles defeat Kingpin by road back to its luscious 30s underbelly of a universe, hoping our black-and-white friend makes a return in the sequels.