A critic: Ryan Reynolds managed to play in the film ‘Free Guy’ became the best film to date. The Canadian actor portrays an altogether different kind of hero.
It’s difficult to hear the name Ryan Reynolds without thinking of Deadpool, the sweary and sarcastic alternative superhero he’s best known for playing.
Reynolds stars as a kind and wholesome – but ultimately quite ordinary – bank clerk named Guy. Compared with the 44-year-old’s previous film roles, it’s quite a gear change.
The movie’s titular character lives in Free City, a fictional universe within a video game. (The premise is a little out there, but we’ll come to that in a second.)
After a chance encounter with a young woman named Millie, played by British actress Jodie Comer, he begins to question the confines of the virtual world around him.
Ryan is a writer himself, and he brings a lot of himself to these roles. How did Guy change when Ryan boarded the project?
I would never in a million years dream that Ryan Reynolds would be Guy. I love Ryan, and once he got on board, the script went from just being in development to 100 miles per hour. I did a pass on the script with him, exchanging pages back and forth. He is a great writer. He is a smart producer.
He was looking at things as a writer, as an actor ‘free guy’ pelicula, as the guy who has to go out and sell all these lines and these scenes. His biggest note was, in the original script Guy was a cynical character. He started in a cynical place. “Why do we put up with this?” And he was like, “Guy should be happy where he is.” It really gave the character a much bigger arc. A further place to go. He had a lot of great ideas. It wasn’t just that.
Review of the movie ‘Free Guy’: Groundhog Guy
As the film free guy progresses, Guy starts to notice peculiarities in his surroundings. He ultimately discovers he is a bland background character in a hugely popular video game.
Guy exists only in this virtual landscape, rubbing shoulders with other characters who, unlike him, are operated by humans in the real world.
Thanks to some extremely advanced artificial intelligence code we won’t attempt to explain here, Guy is the only NPC (non-playable character) in Free City who is able to think and feel things for himself. As a result, he starts to become bored with his everyday life.
And you can’t blame him. Every morning he wakes up, says hello to his goldfish titane graruit, picks up a coffee, has a polite chat to the barista and heads into work.
His bank is robbed at gunpoint several times a day as other characters attempt to gain points in Free City. (Amusingly, the bank’s employees are increasingly bored with these routine robberies.)
No matter how injured Guy is, by the next morning he starts from scratch, good as new. He seems destined to have the same day over and over again for eternity, blending into the background of other people’s games.
That changes after he meets Molotov Girl, operated by the real-life Millie, who helps him decipher what’s really going on around him. She enlists Guy to help her take on Antwan (Taika Waititi) Benedetta film, the creator of Free City, who she claims stole her code and IP.
The concept starts out resembling Groundhog Day , but by the end feels more like The Truman Show. It’s a combination of action, comedy and science fiction, and is just the kind of summer blockbuster that cinemas depend on for ticket and popcorn sales.
Perhaps the most unusual thing about Free Guy is it’s an original movie. It isn’t part of a franchise, isn’t based on a comic book, and isn’t a sequel or spin-off. It’s a brand spanking new idea, which you don’t see in Hollywood much any more.
“It’s hard to make a new movie,” says Reynolds. “It’s hard to make something that isn’t based on some pre-existing IP [intellectual property], a comic book, a sequel. It’s very challenging.