It’s no surprise then that Feig decides to tackle this head on, peppering lots of knowing winks (or are they middle fingers?) to all the naysayers who were so vocally against this movie happening. As it turns out, the naysayers were wrong as naysayers often are. Despite what felt like the whole world fighting against it, 2016’s female-led Ghostbusters movie is no disaster. It’s not perfect - not by a long shot - but it’s undeniably fun. Sorry misogynistic internet.
Feig’s franchise freshener places a quartet of new faces in the Ecto-1 and pits them against a quiet loner hellbent on supercharging New York’s supernatural activity and sending the entire city to a ghostly nether region. Plot-wise, that’s all you need to know and really, all we get to know. Gone is Aykroyd and Ramis’s deep love of the genre, instead Feig seems more occupied with gags than ghosts - which is to be expected. After all, as the director of Bridesmaids and some classic US Office episodes, comedy is this filmmaker’s forte but pair that with a Ghostbusters movie - or more accurately, a movie that a lot of fans have a lot of (very specific) expectations for, and the two don’t always gel.
Still, this doesn’t irreparably damage the film. Feig’s Ghostbusters works best when it’s in full-on comedy mode and he couldn’t have picked a better quartet of leading ladies to drum up the chuckles. Kristen Wiig’s skeptic-turned-believer Erin Gilbert and McCarthy’s Yates have fun in their usual playground of ad-libbed humour while SNL ace Leslie Jones as the street-wise Patty Tolan brings some welcome sass to the situation. However, it’s Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzman who gets the most laughs. From her quirky screen intro to her weirdo quips and blonde quiff, McKinnon steals the show with a character that relishes in her own weirdness. Feig’s well aware of this too, even giving her her own action money-shot sequence during the movie’s big bustin’ climax. That’s right, prepare to meet your new favourite Ghostbuster.
In between McKinnon and the stupidly funny Chris Hemsworth (emphasis on the stupid) as secretary Kevin, Feig has so much fun churning out the funny the whole Ghostbusters thing feels a little secondary. Leaps are made, exposition’s dumped and baddie’s preach in a slime-covered plot that feels a little rushed and squeezed amongst countless nostalgia nods that hold the film back from becoming its own entity. In fact, there are so many strolls down memory lane, this sort of feels like the birth of a whole new genre: the nostalg-equel? Sure there’s a catchier name...
Plotting problems aside, Feig does still manage to capture the magic that really made Ghostbusters so appealing in the first place: four nobodies rising to the challenge of saving the world when no one else can. In the words of Winston Zeddemore, they have the tools and they have the talent. Next time out, there’ll be no stopping them.