Double Film Review – Ghostbusters: Afterlife & Spider-Man: No Way Home

In one of the last weeks of his school holidays we spent a week in Jervis Bay, probably my favourite coastal location. The weather was not good for the holiday-makers and it rained several days but that was good news for the wonderful, small picture house in Huskisson…

Open for a night time screening – the wonderful Huskisson Pictures

Neither of these two movies is exactly ‘hot off the press’ but they are still recent enough for this kind of review. Anyway here goes…

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Forget the Ghostbusters female remake. That’s if you ever saw it. This movie followed the grandchildren of one of the original ‘busters’.

The “ghost” story side of things was pretty much as per the original movie. There’s the gatekeeper, the key master and Gozer the demonic evil one. The ghost hunting and attempted busting was done by teenagers however this time. With a little help from the past…

The Ghostbusters had long split up. Their services no longer required. But  Egon Spengler – perhaps the geekiest ‘buster’ – had spent the intervening years working on something huge in a remote farming area near a spooky looking old disused mine and mountain. When Spengler mysteriously dies his estranged daughter inherits the property and moves there with her two teenage kids . Finn Wolfhard plays an awkward teenager (called Trevor) while his sister Phoebe (played by McKenna Grace ) is as much of a geek as her deceased grandfather. The ghost of her old grandad guides her to find some of his work and she somehow manages to figure it all out quickly.  I know… But it kind of works overall.

Paul Rudd (aka Ant Man in the Marvel universe) makes a decent appearance as the geeky teacher who just also happens to be a big fan of the old Ghostbusters.

It was definitely much better than I expected. But then my expectations were on the low side. Naturally, Dani loved it. It would have been just OK had the film-makers decided not to reintroduce the original ‘busters’. Thankfully they made a welcome appearance at the climax of the movie. Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson played their old characters. Along with a hologram of the late Harold Ramis (as the deceased Egon Spengler). None of this is a spoiler alert really as you know before it starts how it will end – more or less anyway.

The special effects are obviously better than the original movie but they are not over used. The old ghostbusters mobile – the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Sentinel (aka The Ectomobile) – is found in one of the barns and Trevor gets it running. There is even a kind of cameo reappearance for the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (or rather men in this case). If you liked the original two movies then you will almost certainly like this one.

Spiderman: No Way Home

If seeing the first Ghostbusters movie helps with watching and following the Afterlife version (above), then the latest Spider-Man story definitely requires knowledge of previous Spidey movies. All of them in fact. Because the latest actor to play the web-slinger (Tom Holland) meets and teams up with the two previous stars Tobey Maguire (star of 3 Spider-Man movies between 2002 and 2007) and Andrew Garfield  (the star of 2 movies in  2012 and 2014).

Following the previous Spider-Man movie, the web slinging hero has been unmasked and the world now knows he is Peter Parker. In an effort to turn back the clock Parker enlists the help of that master of mystery, Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). The Dr. has some old spell that can cause everyone to forget that they know Spiderman’s true identity. But it is never that easy is it?

All three versions of Peter Parker meet up when the spell conjured up by Dr. Strange somehow goes haywire (with more than a little help from Parker) and alternate universes get mixed up. Characters from these parallel universes come to life in the present/new Peter Parker’s world. This not only includes the “other” Spider-Men but all the super villains they battled. This means that the Green Goblin, Sandman, Doc Oc, The Lizard and Electro (man) all appear and eventually begin to cause chaos. All villains are played by their original actors too so this is a ‘Who’s Who’ of Spider-Man films…

Together the three Peter Parkers manage to come up with some kind of anti-villainy serum that counteracts the bad side of each of their arch enemies. (Yes that part lost me a bit too.) Then they collectively battle the villains so they can inject and (effectively) cure them of their evil ways and thoughts.

Meanwhile Dr. Strange left (the new) Peter Parker with a box of tricks that could send them all back to their own universes. Confusing but clever. It works. It was not as difficult to follow as I thought it would be. Dani also managed to follow the multi-dimensional plot.

Naturally Dr. Strange’s magical powers are needed to help Parker right at the end. I won’t spoil the finale but I thought it was the right ending and leaves it all open for Spidey’s return.

Compared to other recent Marvel super-hero movies this film was great. Also after all the super-duper suits and gadgets Peter Parker had been given by Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) the web slinging teenager had lost a bit of his authenticity – for me anyway. Thankfully from the way this one ended it looks like future Spidey movies will be back where they should be.

Ratings

I would give both movies 4 stars out of five. Both enjoyable and definitely worth watching especially with the kids. If you haven’t seen the two original Ghostbusters or the previous Spiderman movies however I would probably recommend watching them first.

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