When the then-upcoming Batman V Superman came up in the break room at work last year I was thrilled. Finally a chance to wax poetic about whether or not DC’s Cinematic Universe was going to trip over itself in its less-than-subtle sprint to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to ponder the merits of keeping director Zack Snyder behind the camera, and to speculate about just how liberally the film would borrow from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.
Only the conversation was exclusively concerned with how Batman could ever hope to be Superman in a fight, why they would ever be fighting in the first place and what it all had to do with The Avengers.
What a superhero movie has to do to be successful in the eyes of someone who picks up comics every Wednesday is going to be different than what it has to do to succeed in the eyes of a more casual movie goer. When you’re an active fan of a franchise you go into the movie theater with a different mindset, with different questions and with different expectations. Pop culture addict that I am, I usually go into big blockbusters with the more fanatical mindset.
That was not the case with the latest Ghostbusters film.
I’m not a Ghostbusters guy. I didn’t see the original Ghostbusters until maybe two years ago and wouldn’t you know it, I you’re seeing Ghostbusters at 24 you’re seeing Ghostbusters too late. I liked the part where Bill Murray says “this man has no dick” but other than that it really didn’t do it for me. So when I sat down to watch the reboot last week it was an exciting experience in that I really didn’t expect anything from Ghostbusters, good, bad or otherwise. I wasn’t going to be watching Ghostbusters like I’d watched Batman V Superman or Civil War or Jurassic World or The Hobbit. I didn’t have discourses locked and loaded before sitting down in the theater. The only intellectual baggage I brought to the proceedings was the opinion that that stubby green ghost is kind of disgusting.
I had a blast watching Ghostbusters. It’s an excellent comedy that even boasts some solid action. I suspect there were no shortage of references and in-jokes relating to the original two films, but they were totally lost on me and somehow, someway, I still managed to have a great time at the movie.
It’s almost as if an entry in a tent pole franchise can still be fully enjoyed and appreciated without concocting a thesis on it as soon as it’s announced, with various amendments to compensate for every press release and trailer along the way.
So I don’t know whether the Ghostbusters reboot will please or outrage fans of the original. I don’t know if it’s the death of the franchise or an exciting rebirth. I don’t have volumes of analysis to bore my coworkers with when they ask me how my weekend was. I just know that I saw a movie last Thursday and it made me laugh. A lot.