To say that Ghostbusters II (1989) is a hated film would be an overstatement, especially when you compare it with Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016), which may have actually resulted in the manifestation of negatively-charged Mood Slime beneath movie theaters!
But to suggest that Ghostbusters II is a beloved film would also be a lie, because it’s often the target of criticism from fans. This is due to the fact that it’s essentially a carbon copy of Ivan Reitman’s original 1984 classic, while perhaps not being as well-packaged or quite as charming.
However, now that the long-awaited Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) is here, it’s time to compare the two canon sequels. The truth is that neither one is perfect, but we believe that, as a sequel, and not necessarily a film, Ghostbusters II is better than Ghostbusters: Afterlife!
And here are seven reasons why…
7. It Introduces a New Villain
Even back when Ghostbusters II was released, it was great to see that it didn’t recycle the same villain from the previous movie. This time, Manhattan faces Vigo the Carpathian (Wilhelm von Homburg), an ancient warlock whose soul has been immortalized inside a creepy oil painting.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife, on the other hand, brings back Gozer (Olivia Wilde), the Terror Dogs, and the Stay Puft. While it’s awesome to see them back on the big screen, perhaps the sequel should have introduced a new threat, or at the very least not wasted Ivo Shandor (JK Simmons).
6. It Has the Original Ghostbusters
There were many challenges standing in the way of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Not only did it have to wow fans as a film in its own right, Harold Ramis (Egon Spengler) sadly passed away in 2014, and almost every fan expected the remaining original cast members to make an appearance.
Fortunately, we get to see Bill Murray (Peter Venkman), Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore), Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz), Annie Potts (Janine Melnitz), and Sigourney Weaver (Dana Barrett). But, of course, Ghostbusters II has the whole gang, including Rick Moranis (Louis Tully).
Related: 7 Things in ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ That Did NOT Go Down Well With Fans
5. It’s Set In New York City
Switching the setting from New York City to Oklahoma was a brave and respectable move for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. But there’s no denying that we tend to associate the Ghostbusters with the Big Apple, and the relationship between the two has been long anchored in our memories.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife makes great use of its setting — spooky mine shafts, creepy farmhouses, and so on. But despite what many fans may say, deep down, they want the Ghostbusters franchise to return to its Manhattan roots, something the end of Ghostbusters: Afterlife even teases.
4. It’s a ‘Natural’ Sequel
Again, this is something that’s in no way Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s fault. The movie took such a long time to get off the ground, and it wasn’t until the reception to the 2016 reboot that Sony Pictures really started to take the idea of an actual sequel to the original movies seriously.
Nevertheless, Ghostbusters II was released just five years after the original film. And, like most sequels that are churned out in quick succession, it has the same feel as its predecessor. Sadly, most long-awaited sequels try way too hard to feel like they even take part in the same universe.
Related: All 4 ‘Ghostbusters’ Movies Ranked Worst to Best
3. It Has New Ghosts
Ghostbusters II introduces a bunch of new ghosts which have since reappeared in video games, as merchandise, and in IDW’s long-running Ghostbusters comic book series. The sequel’s most notable additions are the Scoleri Brothers, havoc-wreaking ghosts bound to electric chairs!
And then we have the Mood Slime (AKA Psychomagnotheric Slime), the river of pink gunk that’s flowing beneath the streets of Manhattan. Okay, so it’s not a ghost, but it is responsible for the emergence of ghosts, and was even reintroduced in Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009).
2. It Doesn’t Rely on Easter Eggs
There’s no denying that Ghostbusters: Afterlife relies heavily on references to the original movie. In fact, if you took half of them out, you’d probably reduce the runtime significantly! On the other hand, it’s fun to rediscover the original Ghostbusters through the eyes of all the new characters.
With that, it can also be distracting, and can even affect our view of the film itself. This simply isn’t the case with Ghostbusters II — yes, structurally, it’s the same film as its 1984 predecessor (Home Alone 2: Lost in New York also does this), but it doesn’t rely on nostalgia to function.
Related: 5 Things the Controversial ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot Gets Right
1. It’s a Feel-Good Movie
Ghostbusters II might be a lot of things, but miserable isn’t one of them. While fans like to point out that it’s set around the Christmas period, it’s more of a New Year’s movie, which the story uses to its advantage, as it revolves around the effects of positively and negatively-charged energy.
And using positively-charged Mood Slime to ‘animate’ the Statue of Liberty is ultimately what saves the day! We’re not suggesting that Ghostbusters: Afterlife isn’t a feel-good movie, but if we had to pick an uplifting New Year’s movie, Ghostbusters II would win out over the latest sequel.
With all that said, we’d be lying if we didn’t think Ghostbusters: Afterlife gets a few things right that Ghostbusters II doesn’t. But either way, we now have four Ghostbusters movies, and between them, 12 Ghostbuster characters! So, needless to say, there’s plenty to choose from.
Jason Reitman‘s Ghostbusters: Afterlife is now available on Blu-ray and DVD, and to rent and purchase across multiple platforms. Given the film’s success, it’s expected that Sony intends to greenlight a fourth movie in the official canon series, but this remains to be seen.
If a fourth movie does happen, though, let’s just hope we get to see McKenna Grace (Phoebe Spengler), Paul Rudd (Gary Grooberson), Logan Kim (Podcast) return to the fold.
Do you think Ghostbusters II is better than Ghostbusters: Afterlife?