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Ghostbusters: A Great Superhero film?


There is perhaps no film genre more popular right now than the “superhero film” but who are you gonna all for one of the best examples of these kinds of films? Ghostbusters, the 1984 comedy that saw a re-release this past month to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Is it, in fact, a superhero film? The story didn’t originate from a comic book. There are no capes, no spandex, no superpowers, and no singular hero struggling for long stretches of the film as to whether he should take on the great responsibility that comes with having unfounded abilities. One only needs a second look to see what it shares with other superhero films: the storytelling.

Ghostbusters follows the template of the standard superhero origin story to a T, but its own unique concept, deadpan dialogue, and memorable characters allow it to stand proud and apart. The Ghostbusters might not have superpowers, and they might not have bright-colored skin-tight uniforms, but they do have skills , know-how, and technology that set them apart from ordinary people. Through the early passages of the movie, we trace through the origin of the group from out-of-work scientist to paranormal exterminators. When the second act begins, see them in uniform actually busting a ghost In the last act, the Ghostbusters confront the source of the psychokinetic disturbances to save the city yet the characters and progression of the story all feel credible. The film is perfectly paced, with an undercurrent of tension simmering beneath all of the laughs.

And what about the laughs?

They say that comedy is much harder to write and perform than drama, so everyone involved in the making of the film really showed their storytelling panache by not only making it a well told story of the superhero genre, but by making it one of the funniest, most quotable films in history. The four titular characters are distinct people that feel real, and it is fun to listen to the banter between them. We respect their intelligence, we laugh at their witticisms, and we know that they won’t give up. The film has all the elements that comprise the best anyone could find in a superhero film, but it has something more: a truly original comic idea at its core.

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