For nearly 40 years, the Ghostbusters have been synonymous with Halloween and fantastic ghost movies. The story and the classic characters have withstood the test of time and continue to be popular to this day. With Halloween right around the corner, I figured I would binge all four Ghostbusters movies and then rank them. Watching them all again was a fun experience, and I realized a couple key things about the franchise that had slipped my mind. Drop a comment or send us a message on our social media platforms if you have suggestions for another article like this!
Without further ado, let’s get into the list.
4. Ghostbusters (2016)
Release Date: July 15, 2016
Run Time: 2:06
Ghostbusters 2016 is undoubtably the worst movie on the list, and the only one that I think is sucks. The movie itself is not terrible, with decent characters and a semi-okay plot from start to finish. It isn’t nearly as captivating as the other three, but seeing ghostbusters in a modern setting with new-age imaging technology was awesome. Melissa McCarthy puts on a good performance, and Chris Hemsworth as the brainless assistant was funny at times.
My biggest issue that drowns out all other issue is that Ghostbusters 2016 doesn’t seem to like its source material. The entire movie feels like it is ridiculing the two original Ghostbusters movies. There are little gags and pokes at the previous movies, and it just rubbed me the wrong way. Yes, that sounds ridiculous, but for the first Ghostbuster movie in 27 years, it didn’t like the mockery of such a popular movie series.
The discontinuity between Ghostbusters 2016 and the rest of the movies in terms of cinematic universes also steals from the show. Instead of a follow up movie to there originals, we get a new movie set in a new world, that isn’t good and pokes fun at Ghostbusters. Not a good plan for success in my mind and the box offices put that on full display.
3. Ghostbusters 2
Release Date: June 16, 1989
Run Time: 1:48
Ghostbusters 2 brings our classic characters back for a second act, where they are less pleasantly received by the city. Bill Murray, Dan Aykrodyd, Harold Remis, and Ernie Hudson are all really, really good, and while there may be some nostalgia at play there, I think their performances were more than good enough for the movie. Our team works so well together, both in terms of ghost busting, but also in terms of characteristics. Ray, Peter, Egon, and Winston bring different things to the table as a team, and that’s really on display in Ghostbusters 2. The main character development and the act of introducing characters to the audience is over, and the movie gets to focus on showcasing the characters people already love.
Ghostbusters 2 has an interesting story behind it, but for having a nearly identical run time and less character development to handle, I expected more. The story feels a little bit lacklustre and empty from a pure content aspect, and the pacing was a bit slow. Some of the scenes were drawn out, and it led to a less engaging experience. I enjoyed this movie, but it should have more going on. Felt empty and slow at times.
Release Date: June 8, 1984
Run Time: 1:45
What… You mean you talked about all this nostalgia and loving the originals, and the original Ghostbusters is ranked #2?? Yes, yes I did, and yes, yes it is. The first Ghostbusters movie is fantastic and one of my favourite movies of all time. No halloween movie has come anywhere close, and it holds values regardless of how many times I have seen it. Watching Venkman and the boys turn a potential idea into city-wide celebrity is awesome and the idea of chasing ghosts works really well on the big screen. I will say the visual effects don’t hold up the greatest over time, especial the two gatekeepers, but they don’t negatively effect the movie. Just one of those things you chalk up to it being the 80s and move along.
Our characters are awesome, very similar to Ghostbusters 2, but I felt the dialogue was better. The number of lines to come out of Ghostbusters that are hilarious is very large, and it will keep you chuckling. The story also feels more coherent, and the pacing is better. With all of the set-up, a combination between character building and world building, we have less time in Ghostbusters to cover the main plot than we did in Ghostbusters 2. As a result, I felt the movie moved along at a better speed and kept me on the edge of my seat.
Ghostbusters is very, very close to number 1, but our newest member of the Ghostbusters franchise takes the cake.
Release Date: November 19, 2021
Run Time: 2:04
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is my favourite Ghostbusters movie to date, and it gave me hope for the future of the series. Like many people, I was cautiously excited for Afterlife when it was initially release, images of Ghostbusters 2016 glued in my brain. Afterlife is nothing like that. We get some really good performances from Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, and Mckenna Grace in this movie. Logan Kim is really funny as Podcast, but the humour doesn’t go much further. There are plenty of little moments of comedy, but Ghostbusters: Afterlife takes a more serious ton than its predecessors, focusing more on the story and the ghosts instead of the jokes. I like the direction, even if the humour is part of what made the originals so good.
The story on display in Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the best in the series in my mind. We get this glorious combination of the lore built up in the originals, and some new information surrounding our little town, and it turned out wonderfully. Embracing the originals is something that I had hoped to see in 2016 and was very excited to see it done properly in Afterlife. Seeing ghosts crafted by modern technology was very cool, and while we did see that in 2016, the callbacks to the 1984 and 1989 movies were awesome.
Ghostbusters is one of my favourite movies series to date, and 3 out of 4 movies are really, really good. I’m not even sure 2016 should be apart of this list, but it gives us something to complain about so I’ll leave it. The comedy and the characters of Ghostbusters 1 and 2 make for really good movies, both holding up against the test of time. Ghostbusters: Afterlife holds everything I wanted out of a Ghostbusters movie, the characters, the great CGI, and a really solid story knee deep in lore. Yes, Afterlife totally relies on the setup from the first two movies to be able to even walk, but I love that it continues the franchise is a really entertaining way.
With an Afterlife sequel on the horizon, we may not have to wait 4 decades for another good Ghostbusters movie.