Sunday, 10 Dec 2023

In Ryan Reynolds’ Free Guy, the open world’s innocent bystander fights back

The “what if characters in video games were actually living people” premise is now almost 40 years old, bridging Tron, Wreck-It Ralph, Ready Player One (and, for a really deep cut, Automan). It gets a twist next summer in Free Guy, in which Ryan Reynolds is a non-player character in an open-world, Grand Theft Auto-type video game who sees the truth with a pair of They Live sunglasses and starts fighting back.

Free Guy might seem like the kind of campy, spoofy, wink-and-nod collation of geek-culture references that got Ryan Reynolds a bathtub full of nominations for his two Deadpool movies. But from the trailer 20th Century Fox dropped today, Free Guy to me more resembles a longer-running, rounder-hearted spirit of the silver screen: What if the average person suddenly found themselves in power? Just sayin’, I think this three-minute clip could give Frank Capra a stiffie.

Either way, I’m here for it. Free Guy is written by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn, is directed by Shawn Levy, stars Reynolds and Jodie Comer, and has Taika Waititi thrown in as a bonus, so you know it’s gonna be weird and funny as hell.

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