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I Liked Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, But There's One Nagging Issue That Won't Stop Bothering Me

 Bill Murray's Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.
Bill Murray's Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.

Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn’t yet watched Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, so be warned!

Though the film franchise laid largely dormant and cobweb-covered for decades, the Ghostbusters universe is once again a thriving source of supernatural shenanigans and comedic teamwork. Gil Kenan’s New York City-set sequel Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire won the box office during its opening weekend, and while critical responses to the sequel were mixed — read our review — it’s generally been received as a softballed family-friendly romp. I personally thought it was a solid enough viewing experience, while acknowledging there were missed opportunities, but there’s one element that has become unbearably bothersome in retrospect: that ending.

The movie can technically count Kumail Nanjiani’s Nadeem and Mckenna Grace’s Phoebe as its biggest threats, considering both of their actions directly lead to all the ghostly problems, but the actual big bad is the ancient icy behemoth known as Garakka. The threat he poses is as serious as can be, especially when compacted with the storage units going into overload, but it’s the final conflict between the ghastly entity and the Ghostbuster squad that totally fell flat for me, because the story stopped adhering to any and all forms of its self-devised logic. Let’s cross some streams.

Garakka in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
Garakka in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Taking Down Garakka Wasn’t The Only Problem That Needed Fixing

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’s trailers went hard on making it appear as if the entirety of New York City would be under constant threat from paranormal chaos, and the animated series being an influence also implied that a smorgasbord of different ghosts would be causing said havoc. But whenever Garakka finally shows up and let all the spooks loose, most of the previously captured ghosts are just represented by black, featureless forms flying around willy nilly.

Regardless of what they look like, they still represent hundreds/thousands of hauntings and whatnot around the biggest city in the U.S. But after Garakka is taken down without all that much effort going into the win, the team acts as if the job is finished with a capital DONE. I get that their combined focus was locked in on stopping Jack Frost The Ripper — nailed it — but stepping outside should make it immediately obvious that the rules weren’t akin to a “stop the original vampire and all vampires will die” situation. There’s still an overwhelmingly large amount of busting to do.

Snakelike ghost in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
Snakelike ghost in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Everyone Is Celebrating Even Though Ghosts Are Clearly Still Flying Around

I get that it’s something of a Ghostbusters tradition, if not a trope, for the group to be championed en masse after having previously gone through negative PR. And that’s fine. If you manage to take down a possessed Statue of Liberty or a beast like Garakka, you deserve an annual parade, no argument. However, any such fanfare has gotta happen after there aren’t any further dangers to worry about.

It’s something at least the O.G. Ghostbusters should understand, if not the youngest recruits, but what I really don’t get is why random New York City citizens also think it’s a great time to start hooting and hollering positively. I don’t really understand why so many people are around the Firehouse at that point for there to even be a celebration. Ghosts are flying everywhere, and at no point did any of them seem to stop just because Garakka bit the dust. So whatcha so damned happy for, people?

The firehouse in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
The firehouse in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

How Was Anybody Outside The Firehouse Aware And Knowledgeable Of What Was Happening?

To extrapolate from the previous point, I’d think New Yorkers who see ghosts flying around would want to get as far as possible from the Firehouse, rather than flocking to it. But even if the idea was to be around the only people in the city that could readily combat supernatural beings, they’re all still on the sidewalks and streets and not able to see everything that’s happening inside. They probably hear lots of noises, sure, but perhaps with only 5% of the context that would be needed to properly assess what was going on.

So to a random New Yorker, when the team comes walking out of the Firehouse after Garakka, they should have appeared smug AF and happy for no discernible reason, rather than like a group of heroes who deserve a handshake and a back-pat. And yet, not a single person out there looked so much as mildly confused, with extreme jubilance being the only possible reaction that anyone could have.

I obviously grasp that Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire wasn’t going to expand out into a fourth act so late in the game, but I do NOT grasp why the story was written in such a way where the good guys so clearly did not complete the mission, yet still enjoyed immediate rewards. For as self-referential as these movies can be, they aren’t parodies, and yet that’s what the ending felt like, sans all the text gags in the credits. Speaking of...

Mini-pufts playing with pencil sharpener in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
Mini-pufts playing with pencil sharpener in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Post-Credits Scene: Why Are The Mini-Pufts Only Now Branching Out?

If I can be more honest than I’m actually comfortable with, I would probably love to see a whole Ghostbusters spinoff, or possibly just a bunch of shorts, featuring the Mini-Pufts raising adorably violent hell all over New York City. So in that respect, I was amused by their return in the otherwise inconsequential post-credits scene. There’s a lot of potential for truly wild and silly sequences with those murderous mallows, and I won’t balk if Sony makes something happen there.

However, I don’t quite understand why the Mini-Pufts haven’t completely taken over the country by now, if not more of the planet. The fact that we largely see them in close proximity to the Groobersons is understandable from a movie plot standpoint, but as far as “real” logic goes, everywhere from Oklahoma to New York should be completely infested with masochistic goop. At least a minute of every hour of TV news should be devoted to the latest disaster caused by Mini-Pufts running rampant. The military’s flamethrower budget should be getting argued in court.

Perhaps it just takes that much of a concerted effort to stop killing each other in order to do literally anything else. I guess we’ll see if that’s the case in whatever comes next.

In the meantime, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is in theaters now with the trap open for everyone’s money. For more scares, check out all the other upcoming horror movies that are on the way.