Okay, confession time. I actually like Ghostbusters 2 better than Ghostbusters. I know. What am I smoking, right? Hardly anybody likes Ghostbusters 2. Not even Bill Murray! But, Ghostbusters 2 was my very first Ghostbusters movie, so it holds a very special place in my heart. It was the first movie where I was actually introduced to Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, and Harold Ramis, so it definitely has that nostalgia factor for me.
You’re thinking, "Well, that’s the only reason you like it so much. It was your first." That definitely plays a part in my love for the film, but there are actually a few elements that can’t be found in the original movie that are in its polarizing sequel. I’m not aiming to convince you that Ghostbusters 2 is better than Ghostbusters, because I know that’s a losing battle. But, I am saying that maybe the film is a little better than you remember it being, if you’re in the “Hated it” camp.
Even if you didn’t like Ghostbusters 2, I think we can all agree that the Bobby Brown single, “On Our Own” is still a banger. Here’s hoping that Ghostbusters Afterlife can renew faith in the franchise, since we all know how some felt about the 2016 Ghostbusters, which might be even more polarizing than Ghostbusters 2.
The Sequel Raises The Stakes For The Characters
What I really love about Ghostbusters 2, which I didn’t know back when I originally saw it since I watched it before the first movie, is that it is directly connected to the original film. I mean, duh, a sequel should be, right? That’s not always the case, though. Evil Dead II is much more trying to change the tone of the original film, acting as a sort of reboot, than as a direct sequel, and a lot of people haven’t even seen the first Terminator movie and they’re fine with that. But, Ghostbusters 2 is all about how the team is being sued after the events of the first film, because the city blames them for the destruction.
This puts their lives into question and splits them up. Ray and Winston are now doing children’s birthday parties, so you know they’re going to have to rise back to greatness. Egon is experimenting with emotions (which comes back later, but I’ll get to that soon), and Peter has actually moved on up and is doing a talk show now. When his ex, Dana, has a son with her ex-husband, and that baby is in danger, this raises a whole bunch of internal struggles for Peter becuase he still has feelings for her and wants to help.
Heck, even Louis is now the Ghostbusters’ accountant. In every way, the characters have grown, both as individuals, but also apart, which means that the stakes are raised since they need to become a team once again, which brings me to my next point.
The Team Coming Back Together Again Creates A Nice, Warm Feeling In The Heart
Okay, so since the team is out of business after the first movie, they’ve all disbanded and gone their separate ways. I mentioned where each hero went, but let’s talk about that river of slime again, and how the crew gets back together. I think the second movie does a great job of finding a way to get the team to rekindle their passion for ghostbusting, and it all goes back to that river. Dana’s baby, Oscar, is in a stroller that finds its way to an abandoned train station, and Ray breaks a pipe when he’s trying to investigate, so he gets the team arrested.
Then, we get one of my favorite moments in the entire series with the courtroom scene with the Scoleri Brothers, which I think might even rival the library scene from the first movie. The ghosts manifest themselves from the slime and the judge’s negative vibes, and what follows is the crew getting back together and a cool montage where the boys are back in business, which always leaves a warm feeling in my heart after them being separated earlier in the film. Man, I love this movie!
Vigo Is Actually A Pretty Cool And Intimidating Villain
I know when most people think about Ghostbusters’ villains, their mind instantly jumps to The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and that’s cool. I love Stay Puft. I also love how Gozer from the first movie is gender fluid. Really, though, when it comes to Ghostbusters villains, my favorite will always be the Scourge of Carpathia, the Sorrow of Moldavia, Vigo.
Vigo comes out of a picture in a museum, which sounds like a lost Twilight Zone episode and he is genuinely creepy and intimidating. More so than Zuul and Gozer from the first film, even. Granted, the ‘Busters beat Vigo pretty easily, but the build up to that final battle is awesome. I had nightmares as a kid, and I still think he’s really cool.
Janosz Is Comic Gold
Head of the Restoration department at the Manhattan Museum of Art, and Dana’s boss, Janosz Poha (Ally McBeal’s Peter MacNicol), is by far my favorite character in the entire movie. Every line of dialogue that comes out of his mouth (“Soon, the city will be mine and Vigo’s … mainly Vigo’s.”) is outright comic gold. In fact, with his silly accent, he was kind of like the Borat of the ‘80s. If you imitate his voice, any Ghostbuster 2 fan will immediately go, “Oh, hey, that’s Janosz!”
I also just think he adds such a great layer of lunacy to this already crazy movie. One thing that the original Ghostbusters has going for it in spades is its zany characters, but Janosz may just be the zaniest that this series has to offer. His willingness to take Dana’s baby to Vigo so she will be his wife is just played so well, and he’s never intimidating, which is a nice counterbalance to Vigo, who is very intimidating. Ghostbusters 2 is pretty funny, but Janosz definitely steals the movie.
The Concept Of Negative Feelings Manifesting Itself Into Slime Under The City Is Actually Pretty Clever
Lastly, I find the concept of a river of slime that is manifested from the negative feelings people have toward each other in major cities to be super creative and clever. The year 1981 is often cited as the most violent year in New York City history. The film does a great job of exploring the topic of New York, in the ‘80s, being kind of a terrible place to live, but in a humorous way.
The river of slime running beneath the surface was definitely emblematic of the animosity and violence and fear that was coursing through the city at the time, and I think that makes Ghostbusters 2 a lot smarter than people give it credit for. Watch it again, as an adult, with that mindset of what the deeper meaning is, and maybe you’ll appreciate it more.
In the end, I know a lot of people will still not like Ghostbusters 2, and that’s okay. You don’t have to like the movie. But, I definitely think you should give it another chance if you’ve just put it off as being a bad sequel. You might be pleasantly surprised. For info on more current 2021 movies, though, make sure to stop by here often!
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.
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