Calm down, your childhood is not ruined.
Man, reviewing this movie without addressing the controversey surrounding it might be impossible. I'll try to keep it to a minimum.
The Internet, always the gold standard for displaying the best that humanity has to offer, would have you believe that this new Ghostbusters movie is an abomination, that Harold Ramis is spinning in his grave, and that this movie will "RUIN YOUR CHILDHOOD." Nevermind that Ramis might have been the first to suggest a movie featuring lady Ghostbusters, or that the reputation of the franchise was first sullied 27 years ago with the release of Ghostbusters 2. But they're not sexist! Oh no, how dare you suggest that. They'll tell you it was the trailers that let them know that this film would certainly be a failure, but they would probably appreciate it if you ignored their instant hatred and outright mysoginist comments as soon as they heard the words "female Ghostbusters," a decision that was made before a single word was written for the script.
Well, I hate to be the one to say it, but the Internet was wrong.
I kid, I kid, actually I LOVE IT.
This is a reboot. Not sequel (which I admit, would have smoothed things over considerably), but not the remake many had feared. The new Ghostbusters are not the original boys in beige made female, and while a few beats might mirror the 1984 classic, the plot is by and large something new. There's a stumble here and there, but it works 75% of the time.
A major concern I had was casting four women known for comedy. Where the original had Ernie Hudson to play straight man, Winston Zeddemore, I felt having four funny ladies could be too much of good thing. Fortunately, it works. Much like the original film, the cast is truly what drives it and is what you'll take away from it, not the plot. All four have their moments, those moments are well balanced, and they really do have a great chemistry. As it turns out, Chris Hemsworth is a secret treasure trove of comedy, and his role is on par with Rick Moranis's contributions to the original. I can't quite label any one cast member as a scene stealer though, I think everyone will come out of the movie with their own favorite (mine is Holtzman...I think).
Just as the movie shares the same greatest strength with the original, it also shares the same biggest weakness: The third act. Like so many comedies throughout the history of cinema, it seems that the third act is where everyone says, "Oh crap, we're running out of time here, I guess we should tell some semblance of a story." In the 1984 Ghostbusters, the third act is where the film becomes more about the special effects, iconic they may be, and less about its talented cast, and the same is true in 2016. While I liked the villain's scheme and was surprised it was something nobody had ever thought to do with the franchise before (I count the cartoons, comics, and video games...I am a Ghostbusters fantatic after all), the villain himself was cartoony. Like, almost too cartoony. There is an equivalent to Stay Puft, which I knew about ahead of time but liked more than I thought I would, but the resolution is rather phoned in. No less phoned in, however, than how Venkman and company dealt with the marshmallow man.
For all the stumbles the third act makes, I still came away really enjoying this new Ghostbusters. For all the hate thrown its way, actually watching the movie will reveal that it was made with nothing but the best intentions and with pure fun in mind. It's a different sense of humor for sure, but it has to be. Nobody could duplicate what Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis brought to the table together. Hell, they couldn't even do it again when they tried in 1989. But I am happy to report that the spirit of Ghostbusters is alive and well and in good hands, and this lifelong fan hopes we get to see more.