Review of Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)


When I was a child, I wanted to be a Ghostbuster when I grew up. Heck, if I was given the opportunity today to put one of those uniforms and strap on a proton pack I wouldn’t hesitate.

I think I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that most of my generation grew up fascinated with Ghostbusters (1984) and its sequel in 1989. It mixed the paranormal with just enough comedy to make it a classic and essential part of an 80’s baby’s childhood.

When I heard that they were making a film that was a direct sequel from the original two, I was hesitant. Most of the anxiety I felt was derived from Ghostbusters (2016). That film attempted to take the general premise of the beloved classic while making it their own. And, in my opinion, it failed to have that balance between seriousness and comedy. Every character did their best to be funnier than everyone else.

Directed by Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman who directed the first two movies, it is a faithful sequel that honors the legacy of the original films.

Phoebe and Podcast are two of my favorites in this film.

The film begins with the death of Dr. Egon Spengler. We actually see the character on screen for the entirety of this opening scene, but we never see his face. It’s night and the face is shrouded in darkness. It’s a nice way to include the character and to work around the 2014 passing of Harold Ramis.

We then see the three main characters. Trevor (played by Finn Wolfhard), Phoebe (played by McKenna Grace, and their mother Callie (played by Carrie Coon). They’re effectively evicted from their apartment and forced to move to a small town in Oklahoma. Callie’s father left her his home and dirt farm. Without being told who Callie’s father is, we already know that it was Egon because of the stunning resemblance in Phoebe’s intelligence, speech, and deadpan joke delivery line.

Dr. Egon Spengler, played by Harold Ramis

What follows once the family moves to the town is an explosion of nostalgia that normally would destroy a movie. Music, return of an old nemesis, the return of the original cast, and the general plot points of the ’84 film are all there. However, all of this nostalgia is tempered by the backstory of Egon’s trek west and how it affected his family and friends. If nothing else, it’s a wonderful tribute to the late Harold Ramis.

If you’ve ever seen the Netflix original Stranger Things, then you know Finn Wolfhard is an excellent actor. However, it’s really McKenna Grace that shines in this movie. From her round glasses to her stoic facial features, she fills in for the absence of Egon near perfectly.

As far as side characters, Podcast (played by Logan Kim) and Mr. Grooberson (played by Paul Rudd) round out the cast. The only actor/actress that I thought was forgettable was Lucky (played by Celeste O’Connor). I say forgettable not because of O’Connor’s acting, but because the fourth of the young Ghostbusters isn’t given much to do other than be the love interest of Trevor. I’d venture a guess that Lucky was supposed to be this film’s version of Winston because they both join the team later in the film and are the “regular” everyday person.

Paul Rudd plays a character that is basically everyone in the audience that remember watching the first two movies. Rudd’s character grew up with the Ghostbusters and wanting to fire a proton pack and opening a ghost trap. He’s great because he’s relatable to those that wanted to bust some ghosts when they grew up.

I hope this isn’t the last film in the franchise. I would be interested in seeing a sequel to this film and see where Phoebe, Podcast, Trevor, and Lucky go and what ghosts they have to battle as they battle with young adulthood. It would be interesting to see. However, if this is the last film in the franchise, it ends with a fulfilling conclusion that leaves new viewers feeling what the older audience felt back in 1984.

This has got to be my favorite shot in the film.

As of Nov. 20, I’ve seen this film twice. I’ve enjoyed it each time and laughed at the same jokes and teared up at the same touching moments. If you want my advice, go into this film with your critic-brain turned off. Admittedly, this film isn’t going to rank high in the “critically acclaimed” portion of Hollywood. This film is 100 percent fan service. It wasn’t made to win awards. It was made for the fans that have been clamoring for a third film since 1989. If I were to give my honest review as a critic, I would rate Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) a solid 6/10. As a 36-year-old manchild that was obsessed with busting ghosts ever since watching the original films, I would rate Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) a firm 9/10.

I recommend that all aspiring Ghostbusters go see this film in theaters. The CGI is amazing and it’s just so fun to watch all of our favorite actors mixing it up with some of the younger generation. As a side note, the mid credit scene is touching and answers a question we all wanted to know and the after-credit scene teases what could be next for the franchise.


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James Master

A natural born reader, James tackled the works of Stephen King and Michael Crichton when he was in the sixth grade. His influential young mind, now twisted by the science fiction and horror genre, James did what any respectable young man would. He began crafting stories. Instead of playing in recess, James would write stories about dinosaurs and serial killers. He hasn’t stopped writing or reading which is where his path crossed with Burning Willow Press, LLC. Ironically enough, you can find James’s first published work, “The Dark Forest,” in the anthology “Crossroads in the Dark II: Urban Legends” published by Burning Willow Press. His first book, “The Book of Roland” published Feb. 25, 2017, is a 2017 Summer Indie Book Award nominee. It is the first of seven in the Soul Eater Chronicles and it is centered around a katana wielding, gunslinging, pop culture referencing monk named Timothy as he fights the incarnations of the Seven Deadly Sins. His next book, “The Book of Mark”, is scheduled to come out early 2018. James graduated from Indiana University South Bend with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Minor in Film Studies in 2015. By day, James works as a mild-mannered reporter for The Pilot News as well as an editor for the weekly paper The News-Mirror. By night, he works for BWP reading submissions or writing his own works.
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