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Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire ★★★



Released: 22nd March 2024

Director: Gil Kenan

Starring: Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, McKenna Grace, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray, Annie Potts, Kumail Nanjiani, James Acaster (& more!)

Three years after legacy sequel Ghostbusters: Afterlife introduced us to a whole new generation of Spenglers answering the iconic paranormal call, comes sequel Frozen Empire. With a young and promising cast leading the way, and the OG cast seemingly passing the baton in the previous emotional instalment, the franchise looked to have a bright future. However, the latest entry appears to have taken a step back, over-reliant on the 80s cast and nostalgia-fuelled fan service.

With the Spengler-Groobersons now relocated to the iconic Ghostbusters’ fire station, the new look ‘busters have taken the reins protecting Manhattan from rogue spirits, much to the chagrin of Mayor Walter Peck (William Atherton). But when a haunted and dangerous artefact finds its way to Ray’s (Dan Aykroyd) Occult Books – threatening to bring about a new Ice Age – the two teams must work together to thaw the ghostly goings-on.

Following a chilling opening prologue and a thrilling action set piece with the new gang working together to trap the Hell’s Kitchen Sewer Dragon in a careering Ecto-1, with proton packs a’blasting, the sequel gets off to a promising start. However, with the 15-year-old Phoebe benched from the team and relegated to a Casper-esque side plot after an all-too-brief occult RPG style adventure with Ray and the endearing Podcast (Logan Kim), the Spenglers are short-changed to bring in more of the OG cast.

However, the fun-filled start is short lived with an unfortunately saggy middle due to an overstuffed ensemble all vying for screen time, paired with an unwieldy narrative which attempts to juggle several subplots while attempting to introduce further new characters into the mix. With all this set-up, the eventual exhilarating showdown with a genuinely creepy big bad feels all-too-brief.

Thankfully Rudd is on top goofy golden retriever form, whilst Aykroyd and Hudson are clearly revelling being back in their iconic roles. Yet a surprisingly phoned in performance from Bill Murray rather sours the mood. Chuck in several silly cameos alongside plenty of pointless fan service, the goodwill earned from the heartfelt Afterlife gives way to a more questionable direction akin to the Jurassic World franchise.

While there are several promising action set pieces and a collection of genuine creepy poltergeists, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire disappointingly fumbles the landing due to an oversized cast and a reluctance to move away from the franchises’ past. Still, the gleefully morbid mini-pufts are a lot of mischievous fun, and James Acaster’s scientist proves a welcome addition.

Busting makes me feel so-so good.

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