Ghostbusters ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Something about a terrible past and its aftershocks in the present: Feig actually considers the concept of ghosts being the product of tragedy and murder--Rowan's "million lost souls" seem to be populated entirely by serial killers and pilgrims and state-executed prisoners. But any attempt to reconsider that past is met with belligerent skepticism and YouTube comments. (Meanwhile, the government is not incompetent, it's just... the government. A monolith.) Reitman's Ghostbusters lives in that past too, if you didn't see where this was going--a remake references the forebear, and it feels like genuine echo, a whisper from another universe. Casting Peter Venkman as Walter Peck; making the most reluctant Ghostbuster the first to appear in the new movie; dropping him before he can become a legitimate thorn-in-their-side. There's a weight to that comedy, to a stream-of-consciousness that mucks around with dangerous equipment; it feels more like hilarious danger than flat catchphrase fodder. That said, it doesn't try to poke holes in the original. At its best, it reflects on Ghostbusters living in a post-Ghostbusters world: it fights off the dunce-boy whiners, sure, but more than that, it examines the sarcastic, laid-back attitude that is Reitman's ultimate legacy and contribution. The archvillain's climactic choice of form turns into no big deal, just a little game--and of course it's the logo, a mad nostalgia-bomb ready to obliterate us all. We are each of us Ray Stantz, and here is our Stay-Puft. I dunno, there's probably more to it, but the whole thing had me rolling.