"Ryan Reynolds" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Free Guy is a movie worth the price of admission

Watch Free Guy. Just do it.

By: Chinmay Kulkarni

The stench of video game movies reeks of hyped busts such as Tomb Raider, countless Pokémon movies, Super Mario Bros (jeez) just to name a few. So when another attempt to remake video game worlds onto the big screen is scheduled, it’s easy to judge the movie as a flop based on the history of the genre itself. When Free Guy, directed by Shawn Levy, hit theatres, the initial release of the movie was modest at best, quickly snowballing into a hidden gem. A star-studded cast and excellent plot drive this movie into a must-watch and a feel-good showing that tips the scales in favor of video game movies executing to perfection.

Free Guy is a Truman Show-esqe rendition of a movie set in two worlds, both real and video game. We follow Guy (Ryan Reynolds), an NPC in a GTA-like multiplayer game – Free City, as he gains self-awareness of his virtual world to level up and eventually realizes that it’s manufactured by a game design studio. The source code for the game itself is stolen by Taika Waititi’s character – who runs the game development studio, from two young game designers. The code itself is embedded in a deep, hidden portion of the game. Therefore, the original developers must play Free Guy and coordinate with Guy in the video game world to take back their source code and deliver legal justice on Waititi’s character.

The delivered video game world is a superbly colorful one that mixes realism and common video game tropes. As an example, I never thought I would see a player get teabagged in IMAX quality 1080p quality. I never thought that fueling up Ryan Reynolds’ character would transform him into a meathead jock that would act as a temporary villain in this movie.

Video game movies sometimes try to do too much in the allotted running time of the movie, such as filling in the backstory of certain characters. Free Guy, however, does a masterful job of providing sufficient character knowledge while still keeping the plot moving forward. There are few boring moments, and even slower ones are full of cutesy scenes between characters engaging in video game hijinx or the classic Ryan Reynolds Deadpool schtick that he brings to this movie with perfection.

With the two different worlds presented, we’re also presented with a sense of two separate movies – a mystery plot in the real world, and an action/romance one in the video game world. The chemistry of the characters that travel between these worlds makes the movie extremely entertaining along with the elaborate personalities of the villains in the movie.

Overall, very much a hidden gem of a movie. A movie about an NPC discovering that he’s in a video game has no business being this good.

Final Score – B+

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