Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Left Me Feeling Cold

hello world!
Iain McParland
| April 4, 2024
hello world!

Who ya gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS! 

But maybe lose their number after this one. 

Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the previous entry in the Ghostbusters franchise, was the perfect mix of nostalgia and the formation of new protagonists. It had a new, more serious tone, had a younger cast, evoking a sense of heightened peril, and brought in the lovable Paul Rudd as Gary Grooberson. It was a solid beginning to the Ghostbusters Re-quels

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, the latest installment, written by Jason Reitman, isn’t a bad film. It’s fun (although not as funny as I’d hoped), and it gave me all of the nostalgic feels I wanted. However, it had too many member berries and not enough elevation of the new Spengler family to build on what had come before.


Now living in the iconic Ghostbusters HQ, the Spengler family have continued the family business, aided financially by former Ghostbuster Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson). Callie (Carrie Coon), Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Gary Grooberson are living the dream until 15-year-old Phoebe is benched by the now MAYOR OF NEW YORK, Walter Peck (William Atherton). Waaaaaahhhh, cry about it, Phoebe!

When a mysterious brass orb containing a ghostly god is bought by Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), it causes havoc with the aging containment unit in the firehouse, and it’s only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose. Why the heck do these guys keep messing with dangerous, end-of-the-world-type things? LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES, PEOPLE!

I won’t spoil anything else but to be honest, most of it is excuses for cheap references and cameos. 

The Good

This right here is called a ball

Newcomers to the franchise, James Acaster and Kumail Nanjiani, were welcome additions to the cast, providing much-needed comedic flair. In Acaster’s first big Hollywood role, he didn’t feel out of place as the eccentric engineer Pinfield. Nanjiani, as Nadeem, was excellent as always, even if his character was maybe a little out of place in Ghostbusters lore (I won’t elaborate due to spoilers and such).

Character continuity is great. Phoebe is still an annoying brat who is too smart for her own good, making decisions that make the world a more perilous place. Who could forget the time she and Podcast (Logan Kim) opened a ghost trap she found for shits and giggles? Grooberson, although now firmly entrenched in the Spengler family, is still that self-conscious, heart-in-the-right-place goober he’s always been. And Peck is an asshole, true to form. The writers know their material and don’t make any weird decisions with character direction.

What I loved was Winston’s role in the film. After being the fourth, seemingly dispensable, Ghostbuster for years, he’s now the head honcho. He’s the benefactor, driving forward the research into the paranormal. He’s fulfilled all of his potential and then some. 

The nostalgia is great, up until a point. Seeing Janine (Annie Potts) IN THE JUMPSUIT was almost eye-watering. Clips of the old movies, making reference to the time the Statue of Liberty walked across the city, were awesome. Slimer’s return was a delight if a little forced. And, you know, the firehouse! It all got me in the feels… until it became a little shameless. 

The Not So Good

RUN! We left the handbrake off!

The nostalgia is great, up until a point. In the end, there were just too many member berries, and it hampered the plot of the film. It felt like the writers were trying to cram in as many callbacks as they possibly could. Oh, look: Stay Puft Marshmallow men. Over there! The library ghost! Oh crap, we should find a way to get Podcast and Lucky from Afterlife in here, somehow. HOW CAN WE SHOEHORN BILL MURRAY?!?!

It was all too obvious and shoved in your face. Instead of focusing on the new family and scattering veiled references around for people to find, it just felt like another soulless cash grab, capitalizing on 80s and 90s kids around the world.

Now, let’s turn to Walter Peck. Yes, continuity-wise, he’s the same exact asshole we’ve come to hate. But, hello? He’s been around for two end-of-the-world scenarios, saved by the Ghostbusters each time, and he still wants them shut down at every opportunity. Just let them cook! And while we’re at it, the world is a truly f*cked up place if New York elected him Mayor. He’s the most unlikeable man in the whole city!

One hell of a manicure

The villain was cool but ultimately misused. The trailers made it seem like this tall demon thing that could freeze city blocks was inevitable and formidable. When it was released unto the world, then, of course! It’s damn near a God. However, the build-up to that point is long and laborious. We don’t even see “tall, dark, and horny” (as Venkman puts it) until the final half an hour, although it’s shown multiple times for almost half of the trailer’s runtime. That sets expectations the movie couldn’t live up to.


After reading this, you must think I hated this movie. That’s not true at all. It has a lot of things going for it. I liked how it brought me back to when I was a kid watching Ghostbusters with my cousins. I liked how they persevered with the Spengler family and how consistent, if ultimately idiotic, their choices were. The newcomers also filled out the cast very well, adding their own style of comedy. 

Stick to these guys if you want to secure your future!

What I didn’t like, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, is that they forced so many references and former cast members into the story that it just felt cluttered. So jam-packed, in fact, it spoiled the story. If you dig deep, the core premise is great: the containment is failing, and if one more massive deposit is made, the dam will surely break. That’s interesting. 

And you can do that story with just the Spenglers, and it still works. Frozen Empire does nothing to capitalize on the sturdy foundations Afterlife gave it. And I’m sad.

What they did instead was cram every Ghostbuster reference in the multiverse into it and hope for the best.

Share This

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Michael Holstine
Michael Holstine
1 month ago

Firstly, I agree with your assessment. Things did feel a little forced. However, I like you, did like the movie but nowhere close to Afterlife. The biggest disappointment to me was the music. Afterlife killed it by using all the throwback music to the original while working it’s magic. Frozen Empire may have fared better for me if they had done the same. There is a life to the original themes that was completely lost because of this composer’s choices. The detachment from the original score palpable and I was halfway through the film waiting for the experience I had with Afterlife before I figured out why it wasn’t happening.

Comments are for members only. Sign up here to become a member for free.

Get our Newsletter!


Crash or Spyro? Fans Buzzing Over Toys for Bob’s Mysterious Tease

Speculation is abound regarding Toys for Bob’s mysterious logo appearing on their website. What could it mean? We’ll take you through our best guesses as we become more and more excited for the newly independent studio’s next project.
by Iain McParlandMay 20, 2024
1 2 3 863

Read more

Why I Shouldn’t Review The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – An Anti-Review

Everyone doesn’t have to enjoy every game. Different games appeal to different people. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has been released and is receiving universal praise. But here’s an opposite opinion: the reasons why Iain shouldn’t review the game.

Tiger King! Can We Feed This Shit To The Tigers Already?!

With more Tiger King shows on the way, Maria gives her thoughts on the Tiger King series, and how we aren’t being given the whole picture behind the drama.
1 2 3 227
© 2024 CouchSoup, LLC. All Rights Reserved
Terms of Service | Privacy
© 2022 CouchSoup, LLC. All Rights Reserved