Review: ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Pays Tribute to the Past While Paving the Way for the Next Generation

Right from the opening sequence of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, audiences will know that they are in for a real treat.

Following Egon Spengler’s death, his estranged daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) and her two children (Finn Wolfhard and Mckenna Grace) make their way to Summerville, Oklahoma where Spengler had been living as a bit of a recluse at the time of his death. They quickly discover that he had a reason for choosing Summerville and Phoebe (Grace) finds herself following in the footsteps of her grandfather.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife Pays Tribute to the Past While Paving the Way for the Next Generation

Phoebe befriends Podcast (Logan Kim) a conspiracy and paranormal-loving classmate at summer school, while Trevor (Wolfhard) takes a job at the local diner to get closer to Lucky (Celeste O’Connor) a Summerville resident. Phoebe and Podcast team-up with their summer school teacher Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd) who also cozies up with Callie pretty quickly. It’s a small town, who can blame him for zeroing in on the new single mom in town?

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Courtesy of Sony

Ghostbusters: Afterlife doesn’t necessarily introduce audiences to new ghosts, but there are a few new concepts layered over familiar ghosts, like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, which make them accessible to new fans and longtime Ghostbusters fans alike.

Without spoiling specifics, because this is a movie you want to go in as cold as possible for, Ghostbusters: Afterlife goes hard. You will be on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next twist, and trying not to cheer over every little reference to what came before.

Nostalgia has been the fuel driving major IPs and studios for the past five years, to varying degrees of success. Ghostbusters: Afterlife makes a strong case that sometimes nostalgia is exactly what a franchise needs to be refueled with — especially when it’s being used as a send-off for one of the most beloved members of the Ghostbusters team.

The nostalgia never felt grotesque or heavy-handed, it was evenly sprinkled throughout a strong story that featured a cast of young characters that will undoubtedly return again in the future.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Courtesy of Sony

There’s a lesson here that I hope that other franchises can learn from. It’s fun to bring back familiar characters, but the younger generation and the new faces are more than capable of carrying the show. When the cheers of the audience died down, the focus fell to Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s adolescent cast, who saved the world with their own skills and tenacity.

The entire cast of Ghostbusters: Afterlife are phenomenal, but this movie would not be the movie it is without Mckenna Grace and Logan Kim, these two insanely talented young actors did a lot of heavy lifting for the plot. They made solid choices at every turn and really showed off their brilliant comedic timing.

Yes, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a film with a mid-credit and post-credit clip and you do not want to miss either of them. Specifically, the post-credit scene that sets up something that has the potential to be very cool.

While Ghostbusters: Afterlife certainly implies that there have been no other major paranormal incidents since 1984, only a few minor hiccups along the way, I don’t think it completely erases the 2016 Ghostbusters from the history books — despite perhaps trying to. Ghostbusters reboot can easily stand on its own as a spectacularly fun reboot, but it feels like there is room to play should they ever choose to cross the streams.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife pays tribute to a franchise that has endured for nearly forty years with a dedicated fanbase, while paving the way for a new generation to pick up their proton pack and take on whatever ghastly ghoul is waiting to emerge.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is out in theaters on November 19th, 2021. Get your tickets today

Ghostbusters Afterlife

9.5

Ghostbusters: Afterlife pays tribute to a franchise that has endured for nearly forty years with a dedicated fanbase, while paving the way for a new generation to pick up their proton pack and take on whatever ghastly ghoul is waiting to emerge. 

9.5/10
Managing Editor of Entertainment at Your Money Geek | Website | + posts

Maggie Lovitt is the Managing Editor of Entertainment at Your Money Geek, where she covers her favorite topics: Star Wars and pop culture nerdery. She is also a freelance writer and a contributor at Collider and Dorkside of the Force.

When she is not covering entertainment news, she can be found on one of her numerous podcasts or her YouTube channel. In her free time, she is also a novelist, screenwriter, actor, and a member of the Screen Actors Guild.