In an open world MMORPG known as Free World, there is a guy known as Guy (Ryan Reynolds). Every day he wakes up says hello to his fish and enjoys working at his bank with his best friend Buddy (Lil Rel Howery). Then the cool people with the sunglasses show up and the bank gets broken into. This is his life until one day he bumps into Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer). She changes his life and from then on his whole world and his understanding of it is changed forever.
Free Guy is something unexpected. I went in expecting to watch Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer be a part of some decently competent meta-jokes about video games and the community as a whole. Now you do get some of that but the film is so much more. What starts off as an SNL skit becomes an exploration of artificial intelligence as well as a surprisingly touching love story.
A roster of unforgettable NPCs
The characters are also endearing, though Reynolds plays that same hapless charm there are key moments where he raises his performance when Guy has to deal with some of the heavier subjects in the film. Along the journey with him is Jodie Comer’s Molotov Girl who is an utter badass in Free World as well as when she is AFK in the real world as Millie. She’s funny, she’s smart and has a great rapport with Guy as well as Keys (Joe Keery) a friend of hers who works on Free World.
Another highlight is Howery’s Buddy. He’s funny, charming and is a true best friend to Guy. He’s the kind of person you want by your side and it’s quite sweet.
Almost all the characters are fun, the only one I had an issue with was the villain of the piece Antwan (Taika Waititi). He’s cartoonish as well as moronic and Waititi doesn’t bring anything particularly memorable to the role. In a world of sentient NPCs and over the top action he stands out and not in a positive way.
The film also has a moment in it that completely pulled me out of it and it may happen to you. The best way to describe it is that audiences will immediately know when Disney bought 20th Century Fox. It’s a moment that is on a tightrope and balances precariously between hilarity and poorly implemented corporate synergy. These are the moments that stick out like a sore thumb that ruin the flow of this brilliant film.
Not just a good guy, a great guy
Free Guy is a fascinating evolution of the videogame genre. It doesn’t rely on nostalgia or gimmicks instead focusing on engaging characters and an interesting premise. It’s a film that asks you to be a better person. Instead of going the easy route to becoming better in the game Guy takes the harder path and it makes him all the better for it. This makes the film all the more enjoyable.
Stay tuned to Scannain for more news, reviews and interviews. If you’re interested head over to GamEir where you can see my interview with Jacksepticeye and DanTDM for their cameos in Free Guy.