Although director Jason Reitman (son of Ivan, who made the first two) has done a solid job of satisfying multiple needs while turning out a passably amusing and affecting story, the limitations of the Ghostbusters formula are apparent. Ultimately, however, nostalgia remains the main selling point and viewers attending for that reason won’t be disappointed.
Disney and hollywood needs to take some notes. The 2016 flopped bc reviving/continuing old movies means you need to reference and nod to the classics before it, which it threw all of it out the window. Afterlife learned, did well and got paid. Pay the fan's service, and they'll pay you in box office sales. Simple math.
It has its moments, most of them owing to a quite-phenomenal Mckenna Grace,as a 12-year-old techno wiz, and Paul Rudd, as an easygoing science teacher, but they don’t make up for a general flat-footedness and tendency to wobble.
The effects have a pleasingly retro patina, but the action itself is drab, the jokes scarce, while the town itself is both entirely characterless and oddly deserted, giving the impression that nothing’s really at stake. It’s just what we were warned about all those years ago: something weird that don’t look good.
Rarely has a sequel been this listless, this creatively bankrupt, or this unaware of the charm and appeal of its predecessors. Rarely has a film been this craven in appeasing an imaginary audience by mimicking what came before it and refusing to challenge itself in terms of dreaming up a new world, crafting new characters, or fashioning new stakes.
Afterlife is the kind of movie that leans heavily into the nostalgia factor and does little to really open the door to the next stage of adventures. I think fans view it more positively than they would have if the 2016 film never existed because when you have such a negative film that preceded it, You can only go up from there. And while Afterlife is by no means a bad movie, especially in comparison to the 2016 film or even GB2, It certainly isn't a memorable one.
The characters are underdeveloped to a fault. The mother is given no backstory at all, There is a character called Podcast because he has a podcast, and Trevor is your typical male teenage character. The story is painfully slow at times and the CGI looks dated even for a film from 2021, specifically, I'd like to point out the god-awful Walmart scene so heavily featured in the trailers.
The only two redeemable things about this movie are Paul Rudd and Mckenna Grace. Rudd perfectly captures the few attempts at humor in the film, which is more often missed than hit, but he is frustratingly absent in the second half. Grace is the true star of the film and really helped make it tolerable as this was very much her journey.
All in all, Fans are gonna enjoy it for the nostalgia factor but I feel over time it would be received as highly. It's tolerable but forgettable. There isn't a single stand-out moment in this film and it runs for at least a good 20 minutes too long IMO.
Everything about this film seems as cold and lifeless as the titular ghosts in need of busting. It's a hollow cash grab chock-full of lazy writing and "by the numbers" fan service. It's so devoid of soul that it plays out like a lackluster series of story beats generated by an algorithm. This film does not deserve a fan score lower than the most successful requel that is Scream (2022)