Ryan Reynolds Steals the Show as 'Free Guy' Directed by Shawn Levy
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Taika Waititi
Published Aug 10, 2021Set in the gaming world, Free Guy might remind you of the many video game adaptations that have found fanbases of their own — but this film is refreshingly bold with an original storyline to appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike.
The film's solid group of actors use their impeccable comic timing to land every joke. Leading the charge is Ryan Reynolds, who plays the role of a naïve and extremely charming non-playable character Guy in the video game Free City. Reynolds plays to his strengths, using his deadpan humour to charm as the genuinely sweet and optimistic good guy.
Guy goes about his everyday life with utmost enthusiasm and is programmed to do the same routine every day. That is, until he runs into playable character Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer), who inspires him to make his own choices in a world that doesn't offer him any free will. In the real world, Molotov Girl is simply an online alter-ego of Millie. She plays the game in the hopes of finding evidence that the game is secretly built on a program that she and her partner Keys (Joe Keery) developed. She believes that Antwan (Taika Waititi), the publisher of the game, illegally stole their code, so she sets out to find evidence with the help of Guy and Keys.
Comer, who previously showcased her incredible range as an actor on Killing Eve, ascends to the big screen and turns in a memorable performance. She easily slips between her online avatar — a badass assassin with a crisp British accent — and her real life as a down-to-earth, desperate programmer. If only she was given more screen-time to fully explore her character, because she gets sidelined by Reynolds as Guy.
Waititi is a clear scene-stealer as the villain, playing the obnoxiously corporate Antwan. In lesser hands, his character could have gone unnoticed, but he brings an infectious energy that will leave audiences wanting more. Even Joe Keery is given an image makeover, shedding his Stranger Things persona and bringing a whole new dynamic as a young programmer who has much more to offer.
The movie is packed with punchlines that service the characters and the plot; the writers don't just drop them in to make use of Reynolds' stellar comic timing. While many films tend to add jokes for the heck of it, Free Guy smartly and sensibly keeps the film neatly packaged and well-programmed. There's never a dull moment in the film, which has enough action and heart to make this a solid summer film.
This is an entertaining blockbuster filled with massive action set pieces, stellar scenes, and actors that hold their own in a star-studded ensemble. The Easter eggs are pretty solid and the cameos are perfectly cast.
While originality might be in short supply these days, Shawn Levy's Free Guy breaks all the rules of the game and stands out. (Twentieth Century Studios)