MOVIE REVIEW: “Free Guy” stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool , Pokemon: Detective Pikachu), Jodie Comer (Killing Eve [TV series], The Last Duel), Lil Rel Howery (Get Out, Tag), Joe Keery (Stranger Things [TV series], Molly’s Game), Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, What We Do in the Shadows ), Utkarsh Ambudkar (Brittany Runs a Marathon, Blindspotting), and Channing Tatum (Foxcatcher, 21 Jump Street ). It is directed by Shawn Levy (The Internship , This is Where I Leave You), and written by Matt Lieberman (Scoob!, The Christmas Chronicles) and Zak Penn (Ready Player One, The Avengers ).
An NPC named Guy (Reynolds) finds out that the world he lives in is actually a video game, and that he may be the only one who can stop it from being destroyed by its creator.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie this unabashedly fun.
I used to be a gamer back in the day. Though that day was a long time ago (back when Playstation 2 and Xbox 360 were the top dogs). The gaming stratosphere of today is a wild, expansive community built on the shared love of taking control of a narrative or doing whatever you want through the control of a character made of pixels. It’s loads of fun, and a great way to pass the time; “Free Guy” embodies this spirit and crafts an experience that will leave you smiling, laughing, and appreciative that you took the time out of your day to see it.
Ryan Reynolds does what he is known for, whether it be playing a charismatic know-it-all or a charismatic know-it-none. In “Free Guy,” he assumes the role of the latter, portraying an NPC who comes to realize that he is living in a video game. It’s very much the Chris Pratt character in “LEGO movie,” though the thrilling thing about this one is that it’s set in a world akin to Grand Theft Auto. Players can do whatever they want, which usually involves stealing, shooting, and blowing things up; obviously, the NPCs go along with it, but when Guy becomes aware, he takes his life by the reigns and doesn’t look back.
The world that director Shawn Levy captures is utterly amazing. I loved the visuals in this, which emulated video games to a T. Humor is beset on all sides, both through dialogue and visual context, and the amount of physical gags in this is great. There’s no denying that it’s a well-executed picture on a visual scale, and the world that Guy lives in has so much to observe (especially in the background). Part of the style of this movie is also the music, which features some terrific songs that only add to the laughs. It’s a hodgepodge of hip-hop, rap, pop, and oldies; some genres I don’t particuarly care for, but found myself bopping to whenver they would play. Levy and Reynolds had a clear vision when coming together on this, and from beginning to end it is the most realized aspect of the production.
Of course, laughs aside, there’s a story to tend to. “Free Guy” surprises in that there are quite a few themes/plot devices that are dissected. At the start, I thought it was about an NPC rebelling, but it is really the characters of the real world that are steering the narrative ship. It’s balanced well, and everyone plays to the top of their game in their respective roles. The storyline itself regarding Guy is one that we’ve seen before, but the moments surrounding it are fresh enough to keep you engaged. All of the non-playable characters are fun to watch and add an innocent, endearing nature to the storyline that touches on what it means to be a good guy in a chaotic world. I loved the message and it gave me more to chew on with a film that could’ve easily been a style over substance affair. By the end, I found myself smiling. My heart was warm, and I was deeply satisfied in the journey that I took, which held a few secrets sprinkled throughout the narrative (chief of which being Guy’s ultimate purpose, revealed at the end). It’s not an unpredictable movie by any means, and its villain of Taika Waititi wasn’t my favorite (his goal wasn’t really clear), but there are so many pros to this adventure that make it all the worth it to see.
“Free Guy” is a fun, bombastic journey that you don’t get often. Most action-adventures are found in the superhero flicks we are all-too familiar with, and it’s nice to see a bigger budgeted project of an “original” nature (I put quotations because, like I said, it isn’t inventive; but it does excite on all fronts). If you are looking for a laugh or good way to end your day, queue this title up. You won’t be disappointed. FINAL SCORE: 90%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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