Here’s your Free Guy review!
Well here’s a nice change of pace. Instead “expectations subverted,” how about a nice “expectations exceeded?” That’s what I got from Free Guy.
There are movies I unabashedly love even though they have problems. Tron comes to mind, and is relevant when talking about this movie. Tron has all kinds of problems but I happily overlook them because of the world it created, not to mention I was 12 years old. Lord Of The Rings could all be solved by the eagles. We all know that but we overlook it because the characters and story are so good. You could say this about tons of films.
Free Guy has real problems if you know much about coding, cloud computing, servers, etc. Which I do so you’d think my hackles would go up more than anyone. And yet… I could’ve given two shits about those types of problems. Because I had one of the best times I’ve had in a movie in a very long time.
The internal logic of the movie works, the reasons things happen is clear, with causes and setups and payoffs! The characters are just so damn likable and the CGI nonsense is kept to a minimum. The action happens for a reason. I actually FELT things dammit! I haven’t been emotionally invested this much since Avengers: Endgame and let’s face it: They needed 21 movies to do it. This one did it in 2 hours.
I just had fun! Remember fun? It’s not a deep movie but then was Star Wars? Ghostbusters? Back To The Future? Yeah, those are the comparisons I’m making. I can’t remember the last time I watched a movie and wanted to turn around and watch it again.
My wife was not really looking forward to this one but since I went to see Respect last week, she was on the hook. But at the end when the final battle happened and there was a referenced moment, she was smiling and laughing.
I won’t spoil the referenced moment. But remember how Ready Player One was packed with more IPs you could shake a stick at? It was overload, too much, and completely unearned. That’s how you do it wrong. Free Guy is how you do it right.
Speaking of which, there is a smattering of Ready Player One sprinkled on to a heavy layer of The Truman Show, The Lego Movie, The Matrix, a bit of Blade Runner, a tiny bit of Inception, Short Circuit, Robocop, They Live, and of course, the aforementioned Tron.
I mean this should be an absolute mess. And yet, it’s not, it’s nearly perfect. It works on almost every level, at least for me. The best video game movie not based on a specific video game.
Even Taika Watiti’s bad corporate CEO somehow manages to just reign it in from being over the top to competent and dangerous, which makes it all the more satisfying to see him lose. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything that the good guys win and bad guys lose. That’s nothing new, but it’s all about the journey sometimes and I couldn’t believe how this movie sucked me in.
Maybe newness optimism is setting in and I may not see it quite as well as I do now. But damn, most movies I see now just make me roll my eyes and feel like I just wasted two hours of my ever-dwindling life, so just not feeling that way is a pretty big improvement.
Bravo Shawn Levy. Free Guy won’t win any Oscars, but what do those schmucks know anyway? This was FUN.