‘Free Guy’ (2021) | Movie Review

Directed By:

Shawn Levy

Written By:

Matt Lieberman, Zak Penn


Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi


Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Rated: PG-13 for strong fantasy violence throughout, language and crude/suggestive references

In ‘Free Guy’, A bank teller called Guy realizes he is a non-playable character (NPC) in an open-world video game called “Free City”. This ‘GTA’ inspired game holds a secret embedded in it’s code, that one of the characters in the game ‘Molotov Girl’ (Jodie Comer) is after. On one normal day for Guy, he runs into ‘Molotov Girl’, and his NPC days are over, and he’s going to have to learn to play the game to help ‘Molotov Girl’ find the secrets before the game is turned off, permanently.

‘Free Guy’ is one of the films acquired with Disney’s Twentieth Century Fox purchase. Ryan Reynolds has said his level of involvement is comparable to ‘Deadpool’, and you can see how he is incredibly well suited for this film. Why shouldn’t he be? He produced it! While I wasn’t completely excited to see the film, ‘Free Guy’ surprised me with it’s crackling energy, relentless charm from Reynolds and company, and heartwarming message that makes me feel this is a perfect marriage of ‘The Lego Movie’ and ‘Deadpool’.

This movie does not take itself too seriously, and is perfect young adults who are into Twitch, gaming, and understand the jokes and references that feel tailor-suited for them. I might be bold enough to say this is the best video-game based film we’ve seen so far, even if the game itself is fictitious. The inside jokes when it comes to internet trolls, competitive gaming, and different styles of players all work to set up a believable world, maybe even more so than Ready Player One did.

Ryan Reynolds charmed my pants off, and he’s helped with a stellar supporting cast and lead actress Jodie Comer. Her and Ryan Reynolds relationship works really well in ‘Free Guy’ and in the end I was charmed by them. Lil Rel Howery plays Guy’s best friend ‘Buddy’, a security officer for the bank he and Guy work at. I thought whenever he was on screen he was fantastic but really feel like we missed out on him being getting more screen time.

Where the film lacks somewhat is in it’s real world b-story revolving around Taika Waititi’s character ‘Antoine’, Joe Keery’s Keys’ and Jodie Comer’s real-life counterpart to ‘Molotov Girl’. While it explained most of why the story is happening and the way the third act wraps up everything related to both story arcs is satisfying, I wish there was more. The game world feels much more sophisticated and smart story-wise, and anytime it cuts back to the real world, characters make just weird choices. The actions are clearly done to service the story and not what the character would actually have done, but I don’t think it’s a huge complaint, just where the film was at it’s weaker points.

If you’ve seen Deadpool, a lot of things may feel familiar. Same beats in the relationship, some meta references, and a few great cameos. Ryan Reynolds clearly knows where he works best and he utilizes it well in this film. The cameos are all very strong. One is a little heartbreaking, one will be as shocking as Brad Pitt in Deadpool 2. Very excited to see everyones reactions to them!

Overall, ‘Free Guy’ was a surprisingly entertaining film with heart, humor, random cameos, and is definitely one you should check out. See it on the big screen with proper safety precautions and I promise you won’t have a good time in the theaters, you’ll have a GREAT one.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Patrick Beatty
Patrick Beatty

Patrick Beatty is a film critic and creator of PatrickBeattyReviews.com and the Gaggle of Geeks Podcast network. Watch him Friday’s on ABC4 Good Things Utah talk about movies and follow all his work in the link below.

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