Phoebe Spengler (Mckenna Grace) in Columbia Pictures’ GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE.

There have been a lot of mixed feelings from movie fans regarding their reactions to Ghostbusters: Afterlife. While it lacked the witty comedic approach the first movies had, this movie had more depth and emotion, and I loved that installment for it. It is now time to examine the latest installment, and I get the desire to lean into more comedy. However, I would have to say that this new chapter in the Ghostbusters saga, while entertaining, doesn’t have the same passion and heart that its predecessor has.

After the events of the last movie, the Spengler family has moved to New York City and taken over as the new generation of Ghostbusters. As the original team experienced, the family now must endure the pushback and consequences of being paranormal exterminators. Now that Walter Peck (William Atherton) is mayor of New York, he resumes his goal of stopping the Ghostbusters’ work by trying to disprove their supernatural claims.

Meanwhile, a new threat challenges our world and the heroes. An ancient artifact unleashes a new threat, and the Ghostbusters must work with Dr. Raymond Stanz (Dan Aykroyd) and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) to defeat this new malevolent force. This proves challenging, as Peck and his team do what they can to denounce the Spengler family and their attempts to keep the evil forces at bay.

Written and directed by Gil Kenan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jason Reitman, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire has plenty of supernatural action and laughs to entertain audiences. That said, this script is a tad messy in that so many characters are involved, and subplots included, that Kenan has some trouble with this juggling act. While I enjoyed the new generation of Spenglers in the previous movie and appreciated their struggles, this movie slights them somewhat. The film doesn’t have the same love and passion as the last film for the source material.

Still, I marveled at the supernatural action and was amused by the humor. First, I enjoyed the inclusion of Kumail Nanjiani, who portrays Nadeem Razmaadi, a very reluctant slacker whose family has direct ties with the latest phenomena plaguing New York. I also enjoyed the return of McKenna Grace, who loves the material and her character, Phoebe Spengler. Everyone else is okay but doesn’t have anything dynamic to do. Dan Aykroyd is the only original cast member who still loves this franchise and contributes the most to this installment from those returning.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is not an exceptional sequel, but it is fun enough. I do believe fans of the franchise will enjoy it, as it has an episodic quality. However, as a standalone movie, there is not enough here to make this film stand out from the rest.

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