Since Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been slowly making significant changes to the DNA of what makes a hero in the franchise. In the past, movies focused more on heroes who did good for no reason other than because it was right. While they weren’t without their flaws, they were mostly the idyllic example of what it meant to be a superhero. However, more recent film and TV projects have shown a much more brutal and complex new type of hero, but how does Ghost Rider fit into this new phase of superheroes?
When Wanda Maximoff was renamed Scarlet Witch, it was clear that nothing would ever be the same in the MCU again. She was more powerful but far more complex after the events of Westview and had since fallen into the role of a tragic anti-hero. Since then, even the Eternals have shown deep complexities in why they fight, while Blade and the Black Knight have teased heroes who made their own mistakes. This new phase of heroes was apparently born out of tragedy and will likely carry that weight well into the future. Even Doctor Strange and Spider-Man went from heroes who made mistakes for the right reasons to those who simply made mistakes and now have to live with the consequences.
Of all the new additions, none showed this more than Moon Knight. Ever since the appearance of Marc Spector, audiences have been offered a character who does the right thing because no one else can do what he does. He has also shown internal struggle as he may want to be better than the killer he thought he was for so long. Ultimately, Moon Knight is a character who doesn’t have time to be the face of a team or an ideal to strive for. He fights hard and violently because he’s the only one who can, and he’s not afraid to take things where few can follow, as he also punishes himself for his own actions in the process. .
While Ghost Rider seems like an odd addition to a world that’s barely scratched the surface of the supernatural, the character essentially wrote the book on the hero’s tragic persona. Johnny Blaze was a man who sold his soul to save another’s life and was cursed for revenge as Ghost Rider. Now he has to brandish his mistake against those who would harm others, but he can barely digest his guilt deep within himself. While all of these heroes suffer from guilt, regret, pain and self-deprecation, Ghost Rider remained the perfect example of a man who does good not because he wants to but because he the finger.
Now, with the supernatural parts of the MCU being revealed, Ghost Rider’s presence has become more and more plausible. Additionally, now that Thanos has been eradicated, a void has opened up that has attracted even smarter and deadlier villains. Enemies like Arthur Harrow, the Flag-Smashers, and Kang all represent villains who exist without code and want chaos to prove their beliefs. As a result, the heroes are now bound to stand up to them, match their brutality, and go further than Iron Man or Captain America could ever imagine. Heroes like Ghost Rider may not be the ideal choice for kids, but the MCU has shown that he and others like him will be needed more than ever.
It’s unclear what’s in store for the MCU as things get much deadlier. Whether Kang or Mephisto would be the next enemies to rise remained unknown. That said, one thing is certain, it’s going to take heroes who aren’t afraid to level up. Heroes like Blade, Moon Knight, Black Knight, and Ghost Rider have only scratched the surface of this new era of anti-heroes that have redefined heroism in the MCU forever.
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