Release Date August 13th, 2021
Genre Comedy/Action
Studio 20th Century Studios
Director Shawn Levy
Cast Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Taika Waititi
Rating PG-13

I wasn’t sure about what to think about Free Guy when I first started hearing about it. The premise seemed like a fun one but video game movies have had a spotty track record, to say the least. The fact that Ryan Reynolds was behind it gave me hope that it could be enjoyable and I wasn’t disappointed. Free Guy brings forward a fresh new perspective and takes viewers through the mind of a character that should realistically be mindless but starts to realize that his world may not be all that it seems.

Free Guy follows an NPC (Non-Playable Character), “Guy”, played by Ryan Reynolds who starts to become sentient as the curiosity about the violent world around him starts to make him question his own reality. Guy is an incredibly optimistic character that is happy with his simple life in Free City waking up at the same time every morning, getting the same coffee, and working as a teller saying the same, “Don’t have a good day, have a great day!” to every customer. He’s even completely fine with his bank being robbed every day. Everything starts to change when Guy meets a girl with the username of Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer) and starts to fall for her. He starts to become curious about these people with the sunglasses and why their lives are so much more exciting than his and he becomes enamored with Molotov Girl. Guy snatches a pair of these sunglasses from one of the player characters and finally sees the world as the other players do with power-ups, missions, and loot all over the place.

Guy starts to level up his character by doing a bunch of good deeds like foiling bank robberies, taking down gunmen, and even helping Molotov Girl hunt someone down. It never stopped being funny to me when Guy would be having a normal conversation walking down the street and a tank would be rolling over cars behind him or something would be blowing up in the background. He’d be completely oblivious to everything going on around him with a big smile on his face. There was always a lot to pay attention to on the screen other than just the main conversation or plot point. It establishes that the game world of Free City is crazy and dangerous while still serving as comedic relief.

Reynolds shed a lot of his snarky reputation for this movie to play a much more pure and honest character. Guy doesn’t have an edge. He’s an open and honest, endlessly optimistic character that is hard not to root for. You want to see this character succeed because it has such an innocent and curious nature, almost child-like in a way. As Guy becomes a player in Free City, he’s very enthusiastic about everything he’s doing whether it’s out of fear or out of excitement. Any time that character was in a scene, it seemed like I couldn’t contain my laughter because of the way Reynolds would deliver his lines. He would be amazed at his new fighting skills as he started leveling up in Free City and then in another scene he’d be gushing about bubblegum ice cream. The wonder that his character was endlessly experiencing was really fun to follow along with.

The second half of the movie is where things slowed down a bit for me as Free Guy opens up the story to talk about how the creators of this game are sparring over code copyright. It’s a good way to tie everything together but this is where the movie becomes a lot more serious than it needs to be. Taika Waititi is cast as the overbearing adversary but I felt that anyone could have been cast in his role because it really lacked a lot of substance. He wasn’t given much material to work with and he just ends up being forgettable by the time the credits roll. Joe Keery is serviceable enough in his role but I found myself wondering why he wasn’t a more prominent piece of the story considering how much of a connection he had to the game. Jodie Comer put forth a good performance in my eyes with her being very similar to Guy in a lot of ways, just a bit more abrasive. She definitely added a lot to the story. There was a romantic aspect to the movie but I didn’t feel like it was handled very well which may be due to the fact that the second half of the movie felt a bit rushed. It may also have been because of how the movie straddles the line between being a comedy and trying to be serious in the second half.

There were a slew of references in Free Guy that were fun to try and pick out. I’m sure this movie would be fun to watch again just to try and be more attentive to what else is going on in the background. There are a bunch of cameos as well from some really prominent Hollywood names and people in the gaming community. There was a lot of fan service in the movie and I really appreciate the little details here and there that they decided to add.

Free Guy was a fun movie that I’d definitely watch again. It has some plot holes and the story does fall a bit flat for me in the end but it didn’t take away from the experience too much. It’s an entertaining film that explored an idea we haven’t really seen before and that’s not something we see often these days with endless sequels, spinoffs, and reboots.

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