We never thought there would ever be a day when there were four 'Ghostbusters' movies in existence. For a long time, it seemed that 'Ghostbusters II' really was the end of the franchise, but in 2016, we got a reboot. Sure, it was something fans never wanted, but at least it helped to keep the franchise alive. And now we have the long-awaited continuation of the first two movies. So now that 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' is finally here, it's time to revisit the entire franchise.
Here are all the 'Ghostbusters' movies, ranked from worst to best.
For many, it goes without saying that the 2016 'Ghostbusters' reboot is easily the worst 'Ghostbusters' movie. While many would argue that the film never stood a chance, given the wave of controversy that followed the original trailer (if PKE meters could detect controversy, it would have been off the chart), the hard truth is that this film is simply good.
There are undoubtedly plenty of fans who like the film, and if you happen to be one of them, then that's great, but for the rest of us, it's easy to pretend this film doesn't exist. Nevertheless, it's a real stinker, and makes no attempt whatsoever to be anywhere near as memorable or as creative as the first movie. Or as funny, or scary, or anything that makes that 1984 classic so darn good.
Paul Feig's reboot is just that - a carbon copy of Ivan Reitman's supernatural sci-fi comedy, but without a shred of imagination or originality. While there's an argument to be made for some of the visuals in the movie (the neon-style ghosts are neat and the end-boss does look pretty cool), the fact that its strongest points are surface-level stuff isn't really a compliment.
Cringe-worthy humor, a paper-thin plot and horribly shoehorned cameos from the original cast, 'Ghostbusters' (2016) is nothing more than a (very) cheap imitation.
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Despite being beloved by many fans, 'Ghostbusters II' remains a bone of contention with others. Perhaps it's because it doesn't really offer up anything new other than the supernatural villains it has in store. Or maybe it feels like a re-tread of the original film. Either way, the general consensus is that the 1989 sequel simply feels a little flat for the most part.
With that said, there's still a lot of enjoyment to be had here, and while the film could have been a bit more tightly wound, it's still a worthy-enough successor to the classic that is the first movie. Set five years after the events of its predecessor, 'Ghostbusters II' finds the team out of business, as it seems New York has already forgotten they saved the world from Gozer.
There's a lot to love with 'Ghostbusters II', though, and even at its bare minimum, it's a great ride. The gang's all here (including Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, and Rick Moranis), and there are some thrilling sequences, whether it's when our boys are caught in a river of psychomagnotheric slime, or when they're piloting the Statue of Liberty to face off against Vigo!
As far as sequels to classics go, 'Ghostbusters II' is not the blob of slime many claim it is, and its themes about the effects of negative energy are still pretty relevant, perhaps now more than ever.
Ghostbusters Afterlife (2021)
The long-awaited threequel to the original two 'Ghostbusters' movies has already upset a lot of people, and is now being accused to "giving in to toxic fandom". So it seems the 'Ghostbusters' franchise can't really win. Although such reviews are likely being written by those who love the reboot, perhaps a little miffed that they won't be getting a sequel to that film (and thank Gozer).
'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' is shrugging off the controversy, though, and has made a blast in the global box office on its opening weekend. But does the film deserve the success? And is it living up to what a lot of diehard fans are saying? The short answer is yes - it's a darn good film. If you want a film that's high in both supernatural energy and nostalgia, then 'Afterlife' won't disappoint.
The film picks up 32 years after the original, but this time finds us in Summerville, Oklahoma. Egon Spengler has died and has left his daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) and her two children Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) an old farm, whose basement and barn have all the Ghostbusters equipment. Why? Well, because there's something strange in this neighborhood, too!
While 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' does fall short during its somewhat anti-climactic third act, it still has a few sweet surprises up its sleeve that will either make you punch the air or cry. Or both.
Were you really expecting any of the other 'Ghostbusters' movies to be at the top spot? Of course not! The original 'Ghostbusters' is not the kind of film that can be easily bested by any sequel or reboot. Even the brand-new 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife', despite being a nostalgic love letter, doesn't even come close. After all, the original 1984 classic is lightning in a bottle.
The film became a worldwide phenomenon on its release, and in the decades since has garnered one of the biggest fanbases ever, rivaling even the likes of 'Star Wars'. And does the film deserve all that praise and worshipping? Absolutely. The very best of the 'Ghostbusters' movies blends comedy with sci-fi, and though it has family appeal, it's also bursting at the seams with innuendos.
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this film, though, is that it was probably a bit of an accident. There's no doubt that director Ivan Reitman and writers Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis were trying to make a great comedy, but a film with middle-aged men busting ghosts and a giant marshmallow man attacking New York City really shouldn't have worked - but it did, and we love it.
'Ghostbusters' (1984) is easily one of the greatest films of the '80s, and while the film is of course subjective, if anything else on this list is at the top of yours, then you must be possessed!