Ben Abraham’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ghostbusters: Afterlife may well be fulfilling for fans, Reitman’s promise of “giving Ghostbusters back to the fans” may well materialise. However as someone who isn’t necessarily a fan of the original, holding much less nostalgia for the franchise that Reitman and the writers expect, I felt the film struggling to be a diacritic story in any way.
I might’ve been more impartial to the constant references and blurts of nostalgia if they were more consistent. The first half of the film is relatively fresh and unassuming, the characters are given time to understand the world that they’re suddenly a part of and the mythology is built up well through the young cast and Paul Rudd as a seismologist. However the second half of the film for me lost any sense of oneness and became a fairly boring series of throwbacks to the original as a predecessor to some tacked on cameos. The film relies far too heavily on nostalgia and struggles to articulate any original storytelling that can stand on its own without the original films.
Similarly I was surprised by how small scale the film was in the first act, time is taken to establish the lore and mystery of the town that the characters are living in. A lot of the writing feels indecisive, as if the writers are trying to balance the story for a new generation and the older nostalgic audience. While the younger cast here are good, especially McKenna Grace some of the writing that tries to cater to a younger audience is bad, every joke regarding the character of Podcast fell flat for me. Often the reaction of characters to seeing ghosts for the first time was weak, despite the characters being new to this world, they’re written as if they’re numb to the complexities of the lore, which doesn’t make sense. As a story about family, there’s definitely a lot that works, but unfortunately everything that does work is lazily shrouded in nostalgia, allowing the audience to feel fulfilled when the iconic song rolls over the end credits despite the story itself not being overly memorable.