Has there been any movie in recent history that has as much drama surrounding it as Ghostbusters? It’s such a weird thing to think about when you actually sit down and watch the movie itself—a movie which I would rate as a pretty solid above-average comedy. It’s not the best thing ever and it’s definitely not the worst thing in theatres by far…Ghostbusters is just a good time, featuring entertaining characters, plenty of cameos, and quotable moments.
Right off the bat, I have to point out the real star of this movie. Jillian Holtzmann as played by Kate McKinnon is a gift to this franchise and I’m torn between wanting her to just have an entire movie to herself and wanting her to have the exact same level of involvement in the sequel so that she can bounce off the other characters in new and hilarious ways. Between the dancing, the style choices, the weaponry…this character is wonderful.
That’s not to say that the other Ghostbusters aren’t worth focusing on. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) as a believer-turned-skeptic-turned-believer-again is the heart of the movie, drawing the audience back into the world of ghost busting. She understands what’s going on and is quickly converted back to the world of the paranormal acting as both the audience stand in and a full-fledged, intelligent character in this world. Melissa McCarthy’s Abby Yates as a scientific outsider who never stopped believing is just as hilarious as she is heartwarming. Leslie Jones as the self-taught historian of the team Patty Tolan is a hilarious addition and isn’t as one-note as the trailer makes her seem. She’s arguably the most practical character of the team—she gets them transportation and knows important facts about each haunting location. She’s also one of the funniest members of the new Ghostbusters and I hope we get to learn more about her in the next movie. This movie was primarily about the friendship between Erin and Abby, so there’s still plenty of room to learn more about the other characters.
The villain of the movie, Rowan (Neil Casey) is appropriate for a movie like this—in a story filled with outsiders, he’s the stereotypical outsider-turned-evil. The Mary Sue’s Rebecca Pahle described him as “the toxicity of nerd culture personified, a person who feels like his own ill treatment at the hands of mainstream society entitles him to mistreat others,” and that is such an on the nose description that I don’t dare try to rephrase it in any way. Rowan is exactly the sort of person who would spout the kind of sexist drivel that people who have senselessly hated on this movie have since it’s very conception. He’s the natural enemy of this new team of Ghostbusters because…well…he is in real life too.
Of course, if you’re watching Ghostbusters, you’re there for ghosts (and Holtzmann, but you don’t know that going in). The ghosts are…fine. I wasn’t blown away with them or anything, but they definitely could have done a lot worse. At the very least, I believe that there are ghosts in the room with the characters, which is more than I can say for some other films with that much CGI.
The weakest part would probably be Chris Hemsworth’s Kevin, who, rather than simply being a ditz, comes off so cartoony he may as well be from another movie. There’s a big difference between casually leaving a serious situation to grab a sandwich and not being able to work a phone, to covering your eyes because a sound is too loud. He became less and less endearing with every passing moment on screen. I hope in the sequel they tone him down just a bit. There’s a way to make stupid characters hilarious—plenty of comedies thrive on this—but this was just a couple of steps too far. This will also be a pretty unpopular opinion, but I’m not a fan of the cameos. One or two quick ones are fine, and the presence of the former Ghostbusters no doubt gives the new team legitimacy (“See? They approve of us and you should too!”), but broadly speaking I would have preferred the movie tried to stand completely on its own two feet and save the cameos for the other movies in the series.
And I do hope there are more. This made for a fun night out featuring lovable characters and I’m eager to see what else they can do.