Free Guy review: Ryan Reynolds is a humdrum hero, but trust him to make it entertaining
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Free Guy review: Ryan Reynolds is a humdrum hero, but trust him to make it entertaining

Shawn Levy brings yet another 'stranger things' filled world but makes it eye-attacking colourful.

Aishwarya Vasudevan
Sep 16, 2021
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Free Guy/Instagram

The movie follows Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a bank teller, who learns that he is a background player inside an open-world video game. He decides to take charge of his narrative, rewriting it as he goes forward. In a world with unlimited possibilities, Guy is determined to save his world before it’s too late.


A film that pays a befitting tribute to other iconic franchises are in vogue, and fans are all for it. Free Guy is one such movie that is unencumbered, and leaves the audience with an important lesson: you should, and can be the hero of your own story. 

Set in the virtual world called Free City, Ryan Reynolds is Guy, a bank teller who learns that he is a background player inside an open-world video game. But he’s a man on a mission who won't be controlled by anyone but his feelings.

Screenwriters Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn’s unique and original screenplay, along with the incredible production design, takes the cake. Together, the duo has created a story that not just talks about the world of virtual gaming but also addresses real-life problems like gun violence, and the need to increase sensitivity towards non-player characters (NPC), who are often killed brutally in action video games. Being a good person in a bad world is what NPCs in several games feature. But, if they had feelings, they wouldn’t want to be victims of the bullets and ammunition. 


Free Guy goes deep into the world of coding and how artificial intelligence can be controlled knowingly. Shawn Levy, whose directing credits include the Night at the Museum series and Netflix’s Stranger Things, has deftly taken this amazing world of video games into his hands and delivered it beautifully and imaginatively onscreen.

The virtual world is the creation of Soonami Games’ megalomaniac Head Developer Antwan (Taika Watiti). The actor-filmmaker behind the Thor sequels takes a dig at himself (or the makers?) by making the game Free City 2 ruthless and meaner. Being a badass talented man himself, Waititi did an incredible job as a narcissistic boss.

Reynolds breaks the monotony with his acting and is joined by Millie, the Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer). Comer’s character is on an important mission to unravel the truth if the coding of her game has been stolen. She is not at all a damsel in distress, making her a delight to watch on screen. 

 Comer is joined by Joe Keery as Walter 'Keys' McKeys, who is also stuck in a loop like Guy. He wants to break the pattern and help Millie get back the code used to make Free Guy. It's a very clear role for Keety and in the real world just like Millie, he also fights for the 'power of an individual'.

Free Guy/Instagram
Free Guy/Instagram

Reynolds, who has Deadpool to his credit, is nothing like the foul-mouthed superhero, but everything one could ask for. He doesn't ride the entire movie on his shoulders, but it would have been nothing without him. Just like his character Guy, who has a strict routine, and is an ordinary side character, Reynolds finally realises that he is the actual hero of the story.

Utkarsh Ambudkar as Mouser deserves special attention for marking his presence in a movie where each character has been given equal importance to take the story forward. Yet another such character is Buddy played by Lil Rel Howery, who is seen as a risk-free and selfless friend that doesn't mind being in the background. Howery stays true to his character and excels in it.

 This writer did not watch any pre-release material before watching the movie, thus the film made for a surprisingly joyful rollercoaster ride. Comparisons with Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One as well as The Truman Show are likely. However, Free Guy is a blend of the same cocktail and hits the right spot. It also took the writer a while to realise that Guy’s character lives inside a simulation. When the writer was brought to the real world in the movie, it bowled her right over.

Free Guy/Instagram

Free Guy has a lot of Easter eggs that grab eyeballs in the form of pop culture references, and special appearances by leading Hollywood stars. Don't you dare blink your eyes during one such particular cameo appearance! The film released a month ago globally, and the news of the cameo appearances are out, but the way they have been squeezed in by the makers deserves a chance to be witnessed and no questions asked.

It's hands down a Ryan Reynolds film but each supporting character lighting up the screen with their presence, and all the credit goes to the writers for penning it in such a way.


Trust Ryan Reynolds and enter the world of Free Guy, to have a two-hour-long leisure life filled with a vibrant pop of colours. Exit by learning life lessons in a fun way, and with a plot and visuals that will stay with you for a long time. 

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