Critics Have Seen Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, And The Response Is Icy

 Paul Rudd in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.
Paul Rudd in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.
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The Ghostbusters are back…again. Following a successful return in Ghostbusters: Afterlife the classic is team is here alongside the new generation in a sequel that, based on the critical response, will probably work for anybody who is simply dying for more Ghostbusters movies, but is otherwise weak where it counts.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire sees the story pick up from the Ghostbusters: Afterlife ending, with the family played by McKenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, and former teacher and not-quite-stepdad Paul Rudd, as the new professional Ghostbusters in New York City. With support from Dan Aykroyd’s Ray and Ernie Hudson’s Winston, the team has a new spiritual threat to deal with when a mystical orb of unknown origin comes into their possession.

Critical response is not being kind to Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire overall, making it clear this is not the best movie in the franchise. Having said that our own Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire review thinks that the good outweighs the bad, with the new movie a solid balance between the first two movies and the new direction of the last one...

While there’s definitely more of a family friendly vibe, Frozen Empire experiments more with balancing the tone alongside some more mature jokes, and feels like a progression rather than merely playing it safe. Though the overall story could use a little more effort in balancing the emotional with the fantastical, the vibes are definitely there.

Most would agree that the movie has bright spots here and there, but the things that work in the movie aren’t given enough time to shine thanks to a jumbled script. Fresh Fiction says the movie suffers due to a plot that moves in fits and starts, saying…

The screenplay suffers from substantial drops in its narrative momentum. Something significant – like an expository speech dump or a spooky set-up to the Big Bad’s impending appearance – will happen every now and then to move the plot along, but then it’s followed by an excruciating 20 minutes spinning its wheels on unfunny comedy bits. Rinse and repeat.

If there was a major issue with Ghostbusters: Afterlife, it was the way the movie seemed more homage to the franchise than an actual entry in it. Screen Daily feels that Frozen Empire is much in this same vein, with the new movie focusing on referencing the previous ones, rather than trying to have an identity of its own…

Much could be forgiven if Frozen Empire was as mischievously funny as the 1984 film. But in the attempt to bring this series back to life, the recent pictures have demonstrated a stifling reverence for the original, mistaking direct references for a true capture of its anarchic spirit.

Deadline holds a similar opinion. It points out that what Frozen Empire does have that’s new, some interesting stories from the new characters introduced in Afterlife, is pretty good. The problem is that everything else gets in the way of all that, preventing the good stuff from becoming a bigger part of the story…

But, unusually for a reboot, this fan service actually gets in the way of what’s good about this new iteration: Rudd and Coon have a warm and understated flaky chemistry that really works, while Wolfhard and — especially — Grace feel real, awkward and honest in a way that blockbuster teenagers haven’t in a long time.

This is not to say all critics feel that the bad entirely outweighs the good.  iO9 admits that the movie has a whole host of issues on the story side, but argues that Frozen Empire still has the feeling of being a Ghostbusters movie, such that fans will likely be happy with it…

It often favors tone and attitude over a propulsive story, which can drag things a bit, but that tone and attitude nail the indescribable feeling of a Ghostbusters movie, even with a laundry list of problems.

In the end, it seems pretty clear that Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire has some significant storytelling problems, the question for its potential audience will be whether those issues are significant enough to sink the entire film, or if there might be enough Ghostbusters fun in there to make it a fun good time. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire's release date is this Friday.