In the midst of COVID, something great actually came out of it all: the turnaround for movies from cinema to streaming has sped all the way up. Of course, I still want cinemas (especially the small, art house-y independent ones) to thrive as much as possible, more films are coming to more audiences at the height of their appeal, rather than suddenly becoming more accessible once people have forgotten about them. Free Guy is one of those films.
I’ve been whinging a lot about having no spare time recently, and Free Guy is one of those movies I wanted to see in theatres but missed my chance to. In stepped Disney+ and I finally got around to it whilst on a train journey. The film follows Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who believes he has a perfect life. One day, however, he comes to realise that his life isn’t real at all: he’s a non-playable character in a video game known as Free City, who is forced to repeat the same words every day and complete the same tasks every day too. He then begins to do whatever he can to stop his world from going offline with the help of female games genius, Millie (Jodie Comer).
Free Guy is most definitely your average summer blockbuster… but it’s actually a really pleasant surprise. Much more entertaining than 70% of the usual fodder that gets released when the sun’s out, that’s for sure.
Whilst the concept here is really interesting (I’ve been fascinated by artificial intelligence since Person of Interest), the majority of the story is pretty obvious and formulaic. Whatever you think will happen in this movie… well, it’ll more than likely happen. Certain jokes are funny, yet not laugh out loud, and there are no surprises by way of plot twists or left turns. It’s all very fun to watch, but fairly unoriginal plot-wise for such a good premise.
Let’s talk about Ryan Reynolds for a hot second. I mean, we have to, right? All I have to say is that, once again, he’s the same as he always is nowadays. For this movie in particular, that’s fine, but I really was not wowed by his less-than-life-changing performance. (In reality, I’ve not been overly impressed by him since I saw him in Buried. Deadpool is great, but as I said, he seems to be more of the same there too.) Without a doubt, Jodie Comer shows much more nuance, but mostly I’m here for Taika Waititi who made me laugh more than any other actor on the screen despite only making one or two short appearances.
As expected, the on-screen graphics and special effects are really well done albeit not being too complicated, but what really did it for me was the soundtrack. Any movie containing The Humpty Dance automatically gets a rating boost from me. I’m very easily pleased, obviously. The use of Mariah Carey‘s ‘Fantasy’ only pleased me more… and actually added to the humour, which was lovely.
Overall, I meaaaaan… it would be nice if there was literally more than one female character but hey ho. It’s a fun enough movie to pass time on a train journey, that’s for sure. Am I dying for the supposed sequel? Nah.
Free Guy is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.
TQR Category Ratings:
Costume & Set Design:
Overall Enjoyability Rating: ½