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‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’ Film Review

May 2, 2024 | Admit One

The Ghostbusters franchise, stuck in a 27-year development limbo after Ghostbusters II, faced a rocky revival with its 2016 alternate-continuity reboot—a critical and commercial failure. Afterward, the franchise returned to its roots and continued the story of the original series in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, picking up 32 years after Ghostbusters II and starring a new cast of intergenerational characters, including Paul Rudd and breakout star McKenna Grace.

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Release Date: 03/22/2024
Director: Gil Kenan
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
IMDb: 6.4/10
Where to Watch: In theaters

While financially successful, the film was criticized for its many callbacks and retreads of plot points from the first film, as well as ham-fisted cameos from the original cast that weren’t well integrated with the film’s narrative.

However, franchise newcomers Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, and McKenna Grace shined as descendants of Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis). Grace, in particular, was a natural fit for Spengler’s granddaughter, and carried much of the film on her shoulders.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire continues its story, focusing this time on an original supernatural threat instead of revisiting plot points from previous films

This works to its advantage, allowing the narrative to stand on its own without leaning too heavily on past installments. Unlike the last film, Frozen Empire integrates the original Ghostbusters more naturally into the story than their brief appearances in the last film.

It also introduces new characters played by Kumail Nanjiani and Patton Oswalt, whose comedy chops make them natural fits for the irreverent humor the series is known for. The only downside is that it doesn’t have the runtime to allow such a stacked cast to all fit comfortably into the narrative, resulting in reduced roles for many characters introduced in Afterlife.

Despite falling prey to the common “franchise syndrome” seen in Hollywood’s quest to emulate the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Ghostbusters sequels manage to draw on the strong ensemble dynamics that made the original films so memorable. While they may not capture the unique magic of the first Ghostbusters, they provide a continuation of the story that allows new generations to experience the fun of the franchise.


About our Admit One Author

Isaac Albert Frankel

Isaac Frankel is a freelance writer and content creator specializing in reviews and analysis of cinema, interactive media, and mythological storytelling. He was raised in Prescott, AZ, wrote his first non-fiction book in 2013 after graduating from Tribeca Flashpoint College with a degree in Game & Interactive Media Design, and currently produces content for the YouTube channel: Off Screen.

More of his work and current projects can be found at www.isaacafrankel.com.