Free Guy is the best video game movie to date and feels like it combines Ready Player One with Grand Theft Auto. A unique premise that delivers humor and a surprisingly clever love story. The film’s high concept may never reach its full potential, but what it does in between brings an engaging experience for families and die-hard gamers. Free Guy is a hilarious ride that relies on internet culture to catapult itself to the top as a must-see summer hit.
The life of an NPC (Non-Playable Character) can be difficult in the world of video games. Online players can be cruel and you have no control over them. Free Guy examines the gaming experience from the perspective of a highly intelligent NPC. Directed by Shawn Levy and written by Matt Lieberman and Zack Penn. Free Guy stars Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery, Taiwan Waititi, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and Ryan Reynolds. The film centers on Free City, an open-world video game where Guy (Reynolds), an NPC who discovers his status and uses the knowledge to save his world from the game creators.
Free Guy handles humor, action, romance, and its brief social commentary quite well. Never filling overstuffed with an uninteresting romance angle, and provides several likable characters audiences can root for. Outside of Free City, we have Millie (Comer) and Walter (Keery) as the film’s protagonists. Both worked together to develop a game called Life Itself, and its code was stolen by Soonami Games to create Free City. While attempting to expose the truth, Millie’s adventures in Free City as Molotov Girl creates a problem. Penn and Lieberman’s screenplay truly is thought-provoking, having the narrative carried by an NPC is bound to make gamers reconsider the value of these characters.
Guy works as a bank teller, gets robbed daily, and goes through the motions of life. His encounter with Millie unlocks the intelligence that becomes useful in getting Millie and Walter the recognition they want. Free Guy taps into its emotional/romance aspect once Guy discovers he isn’t real, so it sends him on a downward spiral. It’s a difficult moment to sit through at times because he has become a viral sensation that audiences are sure to grow attached to. The commentary on online trends and their influence speaks to the current internet culture.
Reynolds delivers a heartwarming performance as Guy. His uplifting voice mixed with childish innocence makes the character easy to care for. The chemistry between him and Comer amplifies the romantic attraction Guy has towards Millie. Comer is a scene-stealer every time she’s on-screen, her online persona seems to speak to the inner strength she hopes to possess. Keery’s portrayal as Walter, who works with Soonami to expose his stolen codes, is adequate. He’s the romantic interest Millie doesn’t recognize so audiences will feel for his character.
Levy makes the film energetic and fast-paced for most of the runtime. The pacing never feels like it’s dragging because of the well-written characters that are carrying the narrative. Free City is a visually stunning creation to watch come to life through the perspective of Guy. Its larger-than-life landscape is a great escape from the reality, Millie and Walter, deal with. Christophe Beck’s score assists in elevating the film’s romantic moments, as well as the more action-packed sequences. During Free Guy’s finale, Guy’s race to expose the truth about Free City will have audiences on the edge thanks to Beck’s tremendous score.
Free Guy is a video game movie experience that needs to be seen on the big screen. If you find yourself feeling bad about NPC’s you’ve killed in the past, then the movie has effectively gotten its point across. Reynolds is giving one of his best performances here and families of all sizes will have fun in the world of Free City.