Free Guy is a 2021 science fiction action comedy film following a bank teller who discovers that he is actually a non-player character in an open-world video game. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery and Taika Waititi.
Free Guy follows Guy, a character who discovers he’s actually a background character in an open-world video game and decides to become the hero of his own story. The film splits its focus between the in-game characters and the characters who are in the real world whom interact with the game. The premise to the film isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, with the whole opening act to the film rather similar to that of The Lego Movie, however Free Guy cleverly integrates its video game concept into its two-world focus to create a truly enjoyable film.
You don’t have to be an avid gamer to enjoy Free Guy, but nevertheless there is certainly a lot more to appreciate within the film if you have some degree of video game knowledge. From cameo appearances from popular gamers and streamers like Ninja, Pokimane and Jacksepticeye, to awesome gaming inspired easter eggs scattered throughout the film, there’s plenty to appease every type of gamer. The open world setting of Free City is reminiscent of the Grand Theft Auto open-world map and the way in which the characters interact with their environment is hugely entertaining, particularly if you’ve ever played an open-world game yourself.
On the other side of the coin, the real-world narrative combines with the “in game” narrative almost effortlessly and the films’ quickfire way of switching between the two worlds is immersive and engaging. The actual real-world story again isn’t anything we haven’t already seen before and is often quite cliché at times, but it still provides some nice substance to the film on the whole. Personally, I did find myself enjoying the video game aspect to the narrative more, simply because of how well-crafted the video game environment is, but regardless, the real-world story is more than satisfactory when in conjunction with the video game narrative.
Free Guy boasts an all-star cast, with Ryan Reynolds leading the line as non-player character, Guy. At the beginning of the film, Guy is very much a background character and as the film progresses, he quickly becomes the hero of the story. This development is very much emphasised by a fantastic performance from Ryan Reynolds as the lead character. With Guy essentially being a nobody at the beginning of the film, he doesn’t quite have an outlandish personality like we’ve seen in other Ryan Reynolds characters such as Deadpool or Detective Pikachu. Yet still, Ryan Reynolds manages to bring a huge like-ability and affinity to Guy, a character who will no doubt be one of his most iconic in years to come.
In the real-world, Jodie Comer and Joe Keery play the two lead protagonists and like Ryan Reynolds, they bring a great deal of likeability to their characters. On the flipside, Taika Waititi plays lead antagonist Antwan who is completely unlikeable; but in the best of ways! His performance of the character is so egocentric and self-absorbed that you can’t help but dislike him, making him one of the best characters in the real-world setting! There are tons of appearances from other actors too, with the likes of Chris Evans, Channing Tatum and Lara Spencer having minor roles – all of which making Free Guy even more entertaining.
On the whole, Free Guy definitely exceeded my expectations. Its immersion into the world of video games was executed brilliantly and there’s plenty of humour throughout the film to keep it entertaining for the duration. The general premise does limit the film to some degree but nonetheless, Free Guy is a very solid film with plenty to enjoy.
A fantastic cast, an outstanding open-world video game setting and a plethora of gags throughout, Free Guy is a gamers delight.