Free Guy delivers pixel perfect performance

Ryan Reynolds brings his Deadpool charisma back to the screen while stepping into the world of video games.


Graphic by Amaya Collier.

Grace Nugent, co-editor in chief

Imagine if Jumanji, Wreck-it Ralph, Deadpool and Westworld had a baby with Ryan Reynolds, that baby would be Free Guy. I am not at all an avid video game player. More accurately I am a terrible video game participant. My brother, on the other hand, sounds like he is speaking a foreign language when he’s playing games with his friends. Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer, all about reality in a video game oddly appealed to me. This movie was built for video game lovers but can be enjoyed as an outsider such as myself. 

Director Shawn Levy builds a world of pixels following an evolving NPC bank teller, Guy (Reynolds) as he meets badass Millie (Comer). Guy embraces his mundane and repetitive life, much like Emmet from The Lego Movie, with a laugh and smile every day until he meets coder Millie who is trying to uncover evidence that big bad video game mogul Antwan (Taika Watiti) stole her original game code. With help from Mr. luxurious hair himself Joe Keery as Keyes, Millie and Guy set out on an adventure to save his pixelated world from destruction.

Imagine if Jumanji, Wreck-it Ralph, Deadpool and Westworld had a baby with Ryan Reynolds, that baby would be Free Guy.

— Grace Nugent

While the premise of being inside a video game is not at all unique, it is the characters that make the movie shine. Reynolds is virtually un-hatable, oozing charisma and nice guy charm that feels like Deadpool that is suitable for younger audiences. Comer gives women in gaming a badass yet intelligent appearance, one that is not hyper-sexualized like many of her predecessors. Takia Watiti, one of my absolute favorite directors, is the perfect conniving, ego-centric, toxic boss who is the more chaotic and millennial Meryl Streep to Keery’s Anne Hathaway. Cameos from Channing Tatum and a certain MCU superstar had me inching closer and closer to the screen. 

The slow-mo action packages, with things blowing up and debris flying everywhere, are used not just in an action sequence way but strategically to make fun of video games themselves. The quick action sequences along with Guy’s mid-fight witty, bordering on adorable, comments are done tastefully and add the video game feel of the film. 

While the plot may be more or less formulaic it is a code that works if done well. The coupling of effervescent, witty Reynolds and theatrical, nefarious Watiti makes this movie one that will bring both joy and maybe the urge to turn on the Xbox and dive into the virtual world of video games.