FOR A PREMISE as harmless as that of Ghostbusters, Paul Feig’s 2016 reimagining of Ivan Reitman’s 1984 classic was met with inexplicable backlash: As I write, the film’s YouTube trailer has 930,541 dislikes and a measly 265,331 likes, making it the ninth least-liked video on the website.
This irrational disdain is rooted in the fact that Feig’s remake features a cast of women. Evidently, even in the imagined world of Ghostbusters—you know, the one where a giant marshmallow destroys New York City—men are just as uncomfortable when their roles are replaced by women.
I’d hoped this review wouldn’t center on the misogyny of our real world, but unfortunately, the world of Ghostbusters is mired in it too. The film’s badass, ghost-fighting heroes are played by Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones; as these women tackle the supernatural, they’re painted as hysterical by authority figures, then told to let men take credit for their work. They’re even harassed by online commenters—kind of like how Ghostbros thought the 2016 adaptation’s leads couldn’t reprise the roles of the original all-male cast.
While Feig’s Ghostbusters is undeniably hilarious, the jokes feed into the plot—which is, unfortunately, almost identical to the original, save a few winking signs of evolution. But it’s disappointing that the plot makes Wiig, McCarthy, and McKinnon scientists, while Jones—the crew’s sole person of color—is just Patty, whose deep knowledge of the city’s history is explained by the logic that she works at a subway station but reads a lot of nonfiction.
It’s also odd that in Feig’s refabbed Ghostbusters world, it’s as though the 1984 original never happened. That’ll no doubt cause even more petulant cries from Ghostbros. For the rest of us, Feig’s Ghostbusters is a charming, witty movie about ghost catchers averting the apocalypse.