Quick Synopsis: Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is a NPC character in Free City (an open-world GTA-like game) who becomes self aware and has to save his world with the help of programmers Millie and Keys (Jodie Comer and Joe Keery)
I had no idea what to expect from this. I say that a lot but I never mean it more literally than I do here, I went to a secret screening at local Cineworld which meant I had no idea what film I was about to see. Truth be told I thought there was a good chance it would be this, and I was hoping I’d be right as I’ve been looking forward to this since the first time I saw the trailer. I’m glad it was this as it’s a really good film, and one I think people will like.
It’s not going to change the world, and it’s not the best film of the year. But it’s better than it should be. It goes a bit further than just pure escapism and at times is genuinely moving. This could have got away with just being dumb fun but the fact it is willing to go beyond that is testament to the work the creators put in.
Turns out a lot of that is due to the non-video game parts. Usually those would be the weakest parts of a movie like this. The boring human parts. But they actually work in this. It helps that Comer is incredible. You probably know her from Killing Eve, but I’ve never watched that so to me everything about her was new and I loved it. Keery was pretty good too, bringing the same neurosis and weirdness he had in Spree. I had no idea there was any non-video game parts in it at all, possibly I’m an idiot. The way they integrate the two plots is really well done too. Plus it’s a logical thing to do really. You need some humanity in it, and if the only notable thing about Guy is that he has traces of humanity, then you can’t just depend on other video game characters to provide that. It also provides the film with the best of the two endings.
Yup, it has two endings. Well it has two worlds, so both worlds need closure. It’s here where we have quite a big misstep, it goes with the wrong one. The real world ending should have been the one, the video game one didn’t have the right emotional nuance to end the film on. I mean, it was nice and warm and funny, but personally I preferred the other one.
Might have something to do with how I didn’t really gel with Lil Rey Howery for some reason. I usually like him in stuff I see him in too which is weird. I genuinely think he was better in Space Jam 2 than he was in this, he was definitely better in Uncle Drew, where he gave his character warmth and humour. In this he comes off just a little bit too “Guy at an improv show desperate for attention”. Reynolds seems to take a while to find his character too. When he develops the personality he’s fine, but in his early “just a video game character” characterisation he doesn’t really suit it. Thankfully that’s only for about ten minutes so it’s not too big an issue.
So in summary it’s not the greatest movie, but it is incredibly fun, and goes deeper than a film like this should be. It’s not a film I NEED to see again, but it is a film I definitely will see again, it’s just so damn good. Funny, smart, has heart, and has a lot of fun cameos. And it has the best posters