In Free guy, Millie (Jodie Comer) is a game developer who seeks to prove that publisher Antwan (the steep Magic Waititi) illegally stole the game code from him and his partner Keys (Joe Keery) Free city, the world’s most popular video game. He infiltrates the game and looks for evidence that shows his original idea was stolen – evidence that he thinks is hidden somewhere deep inside the game.
And you would think the movie is about him, right? But Free guy seems to focus more on Ryan Reynolds offering insidiously moseying over a screen called Guy, which feels like a version Lego movie which switches from “charming, stop-motion-style Lego animation” to “video games” and throws a big dose The Truman Show as a good metric. The result is a pleasant – albeit strange – but largely forgettable summer action film.
Guy (Reynolds) is an unforgettable NPC in Free city, an incredibly popular video game that most closely resembles GTA Online, where human players perform missions, rob banks to get money, and usually cause chaos. Guy, on the other hand, works at a bank, stamps general forms, and hangs out with his best friend, a guard named Buddy (Lil Rel Howery).
But then his life changes when he bumps into Millie, who raises Guy’s chances of breaking his daily worries and being a “good guy” in the video game world of the murderer and thieves.
Reynolds is charming as always Free guy lending him the full length of the opportunity to turn his friendly social media personality into a walking version of a smiling face. The problem is that Guy’s empty slate doesn’t leave him much room to be a real character: his whole character is just “useful,” and all of his hopes and aspirations are rooted in his programming.
Comer’s Millie — who benefits from real free will and thought — carries the film both as an in-game action hero and as a frustrated programmer trying to fight for the right thing. Too bad the film is built around Guy and his less dynamic character. There could have been a version of this movie where he was the protagonist of the story and he was a lovable side character, and it would probably have been a lot more fun.
Meanwhile Free guy Hiding the heroine behind the charming Ryan Reynolds, she proudly uses her gaming impressions: popular streams such as Ninja, Pokimane, Jacksepticeye, DanTDM and LazarBeam appear to comment on Guy’s in-game adventure and to quote an imaginary Free city a game similar to real world success Fortnite or GTA.
As a whole, Free guy is most successful when it illuminates the psychopathic tendencies of video game players from a real – world perspective. Live Grand Theft Auto or Cyberpunk 2077where quasi-wild players rip cities, murder countless thousands of virtual characters, and cause unnecessary destruction, would be be awful.
Guy’s quest to be a good guy makes sense when faced with all of this, though Free guy is not willing to commit to this idea, but descends back to normal action movie prices as soon as it fits the plot.
And this inconsistency is evident throughout the film. Free guythe villain-eating Taika Waititi who seems to have the funniest of everyone in the movie (who says something in a movie with forever sunny Reynolds) instead of doing something new and original.
Free guy considers this a seemingly bad thing — only the film spins on its heels and throws out some of the most egregious cross-references on this side Space Jam: A new legacy at the last show. (It is possible to accurately determine the second second of the post-production process 20th Century Fox acquired by Disney had been completed.)
After months away from theaters Free guy is definitely a nice way to spend an hour or two in the movies. But like an overproduced video game, it has almost too much stuff bouncing between action and romance and comedy and leveling up without doing too many sequels to make none of these things really work.