79 / 100
Watchable Minutes : 95 / 115. There’s just a little too much fluff here, but overall it’s worth watching for the majority of the actual run time. Definitely don’t pause it to go on a pee break.
Trailer Comparison : I’ve watched this trailer about a million times over the past 16 or so months, and don’t want to watch it again for this analysis, but I’d say it pretty much exactly matches the movie. I hope I never have to watch it again.
Movie or Film : Free Guy is a fun movie that tries to convey a message (and almost succeeds), but it’s still a movie by my standards.
- Run time : 1 hr 55 minutes
- Studio : Fox
- Director : Shawn Levy
- Where to Watch : In Theaters
A bank teller named Guy discovers that the sunglasses wearing elite denizens of Free City are not all they appear to be and soon questions his own reality as he learns that there is more to life than his dull, day to day routine.
Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer star in this easter egg and (social commentary) laden video game movie that successfully redefines the standard for the video game genre. The fact that this movie was half as good as it was speaks volumes to the value that new ideas and IPs have in the modern era of video game movies and filmmaking in general. Not everything needs to be a sequel or a reboot because Free Guy proves that isn’t necessary.
The main story arc about the code for an indie video game being sold, reskinned, and distributed as a new product is something that I’m sure a lot of internet-savvy moviegoers can understand and appreciate. While this movie certainly dumbed down the technical aspect of such a feat, it didn’t go overboard by making it so accessible that it wasn’t even important anymore. This story could have only existed around this core idea and that’s what makes the video game aspect of Free Guy work so well. There are a few things that I really enjoyed about Free Guy‘s story. The first being that the fact that Guy was written as a love letter to Millie by Keys and that it wasn’t just an AI that fell in love with its creator. Guy was able to separate himself from Millie at the end of the movie and go on living his best digital life with his best friend Buddy. I would have been annoyed if Millie ended up with her digital creation. I also enjoyed that the movie threw some shade at the big video game developers releasing buggy, half-finished products to the marketplace (Cyberpunk 2077 anyone?). The main thing I didn’t really enjoy were things like the constant self-aware preaching. It just felt a little shallow. There were so many points covered in rapid-fire succession that it didn’t really do much other than point the finger at the issue and make a joke then move on.
The cast of Free Guy is about as good as it could get. Ryan Reynolds is perfect for a character like Guy because he’s so damn likable and above average in pretty much every category. My only gripe is that he wasn’t really Guy, but just Ryan Reynolds inside the game. Jodi Comer isn’t an actress that I’m overly familiar with (although I can’t wait to see her in Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel later this year) but I think she did a fine job opposite Joe Keery and Ryan Reynolds. Speaking of Joe Keery, I’m glad he’s breaking outside his Stranger Things character and is doing things that aren’t stuck in the 80s. And the surprise cameo by Channing Tatum was also pretty funny. He seems like the ideal character model for basically every teenager who played something like this Grand Theft Auto knock-off before. Lastly, Taika Watiti plays a good scumbag villain, which is something I think he honed in on playing Hitler in JoJo Rabbit.
Free Guy is a visually interesting movie with an alright soundtrack (although “Baba O’Reilly” on the trailer got annoying after a while). I thought that the CGI was suitably video-gamey and doesn’t really overdo it at any particular point. I didn’t like the gamer gear that everybody and their mother seemed to be equipped with. It feels like they looked at a few twitch streams and decided that everybody wears over ear headsets and has garrish LED lights stuck to every possible surface at their gaming set up.
Despite all of the gripes I mentioned, Free Guy is way more entertaining than it has any right to be. I’m glad this movie was finally released and I’d be willing to watch a sequel or two. Shawn Levy is a competent director of movies like this and knows how to get a funny cast to work together.