But it was absolutely written, directed and produced with the intention of it being a comedy. The kept takes were the ones that cracked Ivan Reitman up!
If blockbusters have copied it since, and diluted the comedic effect, that is only testament to how well it did it. And really, which are the scenes in the original that are straight drama? Even the oft-vaunted"dead rising from the grave" bit has "never met him" to offset the rest. The big bad is a marshmallow, the solution is a urinal gag, the ominous keymaster/gatekeeper build up is at heart an innuendo, Tobin's Spirit Guide is a gag on 80's lifestyle books about alcoholic drink types, "Oh, they'll be totally discreet", a full army back up for absolutely no reason, etc, etc, etc. Every moment of Ghostbusters is there to propel the joke. That's why it works so well.
However you slice it, whatever their differing styles, all three Ghostbusters movies are comedies*. That was the intent, and that is what they are. Whether they succeed or not is subjective, but it can't be denied that that it what they were meant to be.
*it should be noted that GB2 is more of a gentle Twins, Three Men and a Baby type movie than the post 70's SNL/New York in dissaray feel of the original. All three movies reflect comedy trends contemporary to their release dates as much as respecting the feel of the previous. They are trying to compete in the comedy market before anything else.
I understand that it's a comedy (like I said, it's a key ingredient; the main spice), but I feel like simply calling it "a Comedy," and nothing more, is highly reductive. It's a high-concept science-fiction horror-comedy genre picture, and I don't think most ghostheads have remained fans for the last thirty years just for the chuckles. People might come
to the franchise for the laughs, but they stay for the adventure; the spectacle; the ghost traps and proton packs -- there's nothing overtly
comical about a proton pack. Heck, some ghostheads even love the romance
I love the comedy of Ghostbusters, and personally, I think it's important, but theoretically, if someone were to do a dark and gritty Christopher Nolan-style version of Ghostbusters, it would still technically work. It would just be hard to take seriously, because the concept itself is so ridiculous that you want to acknowledge it with comedy. That's why Christopher Nolan's Batman movies fail in my book: I can't take a guy dressed like a bat seriously. Of course, the opposite extreme of all comedy and no drama is just as bad, and the comedy of the original Ghostbusters is wisely grounded with lots of drama: the Judgement Day scene, Dana's abduction, Peck shutting down the ecto-containment unit, et cetera.
So yeah, to answer the thread's title, I think it's important that GB3 has comedy, but not to the detriment of all the other vital elements. Ghostbusters 2016 tried too
hard to be a comedy, and bombed.