On 08/10/2021 at 00:04
By Pierre Champleboux
In this period marked by gloom, during which blockbusters are all too often continuations of franchises installed for years, it is good to taste a little freshness. and freshness, Free Guy has it to spare. Directed by the director of the very sympathetic Night at the Museum, this film that no one really expected has the effect of a concentrate of happiness. Carried by a Ryan Reynolds At its best, Shawn Levy’s film has achieved the feat of offering a show for all audiences that is both intelligent and generous and does not take its audience for a marketing target. Venturing into terrain similar to that surveyed by Spielberg in Ready Player One, Free Guy deals with artificial intelligence and video games with palpable sincerity and love, without the viewer ever feeling taken for an endive. Combining neat writing with polished and impeccable production, Free Guy is to this day neither more nor less than one of the best films ever released on the video game universe. Funny, endearing, moving and thrilling from start to finish, Free Guy is by far the best surprise of this year 2021.
Beware of prejudices
Since the recent reopening of dark rooms, the trailer for Free Guy is widely distributed. Intrigued, the spectators discover what seems to be yet another action comedy to the glory of Ryan Reynolds. And it’s certainly because these trailers mainly use images from the first 20 minutes of Shawn Levy’s new film that this impression is there. However, Free Guy is much more than just a schoolboy comedy set in the world of video games.
Because where Spielberg has, according to many, missed his representation of the video game universe through Ready Player One, by offering a vision that is certainly spectacular but rather dated in its way of approaching the world of video games, Shawn Levy has managed to deliver an incredibly fair and much more topical film. However, it is the screenwriter Zak Penn who signs the script for these two feature films, and we are very far from what many believed to be a sort of sequel / copy of the very average pixels by Chris Columbus with Adam Sandler.
A film that recalls the best of science fiction
In a world reminiscent of the franchise Grand Theft Auto, an NPC (non-playable character whose actions are programmed) played by Ryan Reynolds is suddenly endowed with free will and a conscience. Soon, he will be led to use his faculties for a cause on which his whole universe rests…
Lovers of anticipation and science fiction will think of Ready Player One, but not only. Like Jim Carrey in Truman Show, the character of Ryan Reynolds discovers that his whole universe is artificial and orchestrated to satisfy an audience. As in DarkCity, Guy discovers that his town is fake and his memories were fabricated. As in Matrix, a computer anomaly will give an ordinary man the power to change things. We have seen worse as comparisons, and it is of excellent feature films that have become cults that this new film from the director of the very good RealSteel with Hugh Jackman.
A future classic?
Like many works that have become classics today, Free Guy is a film that can satisfy several audiences. While children will certainly find it cool entertainment, older viewers will grasp more of the depth of the plot, while pop culture fans will perceive many references. And these references, something rare enough to point out, are never forced. No heaviness in the winks addressed to connoisseurs by Shawn Levy, quite the contrary. When the director uses a known universe, it is always with relevance, taking care to intelligently integrate his geek references into his feature film.
Unlike Space Jam 2, Ready Player One or Wreck-It Ralphwho did more fan-service than anything else, we are faced with a film that only spreads its references out of passion, and never by foot call, a bit like Who Framed Roger Rabbit Where Gremlins 2 in their time.
A really good movie
Whether we know the world of video games or not, Free Guy is accessible and no one will feel left out. The story, although set in a geek universe, remains a universal narrative that appeals to major themes: love, the search for identity and purpose in life, the difficulty of creation, art, and criticism of the consumer society.
Side realization, no defect is to be underlined. The pacing is good, the images are beautiful, and the time is never long. The actors are all impeccable. Interpretation level, everything is in tune. Ryan Reynolds (who produces the film) reassures us with a much more controlled character than the one he interpreted without conviction in the laborious Hitman & Bodyguard 2, Jodie Corner offers itself two diametrically opposed roles in which it excels, and Taika Waititi treats as a stupid and nasty bad guy.
It’s very simple: we have NOTHING to reproach Free Guy. Is it the anxiety-provoking period that pushes us to get excited about a film full of good vibes? Is it because we expected nothing that we were surprised? Or is it just because Free Guy is really THE good surprise of this summer 2021? To find out, see you in theaters from August 11, 2021.