Free Guy definitely got a ton of promotion and hype when it was coming out. The movie really looked to be throwing in tons of references and fun gaming moments into its adventure and Free Guy did deliver on that. It’s also always a cool concept to find yourself inside of a game. It may not be life and death stakes for most of the characters like in Sword Art Online but it still gives you that fun feeling of actually being inside a game. So while Free Guy could have been better in some areas, I would definitely say it’s a good film.
The movie starts with a day in the life of Guy. He lives as an NPC in the Free City game. His duty is to be a bank clerk who helps people get their money before being held up by a random crook every day. He doesn’t realize that this is strange though as that’s just how life works. He doesn’t even know that this is all a game since it feels real to him. Well, one day he wants to talk to one of the people wearing glasses (a user) and figures he just needs a pair of his own. He grabs them and this changes his life forever. He can now see the world as a player does.
Meanwhile, Millie is trying to track down some code which will prove that Antwan and team corporate actually stole the game that she and Keys created in order to get mega rich. The issue is that the code could be anywhere and she has had no luck finding it so far. If she doesn’t find it before the sequel comes out then she will really be out of luck. Perhaps Guy is her last chance. After all, as a player from inside the game, perhaps he will be able to see a new perspective. She better hope this is the case as there won’t be any second chances.
I have to say that the actual world of Free City looks like a blast to play in. It’s got a very Grand Theft Auto feel to it but with even more to do. I’d say there’s even a bit of Fortnite inspiration in this as you create walls to run and jump on. Of course, that seems to be a power limited to admins, I can see how that might be overpowered in a GTA setting otherwise. You can choose whether you want to live peacefully in the game or attack people. I imagine most would do the latter, but it could make playing the hero role fun since you will always be outnumbered.
As for Guy, he’s very much a Lego movie kind of lead. He has a perfect life right now and doesn’t even think about anything grander until it arrives at his doorstep. From there Guy does a good job of adapting and becoming a true lead in his own right. He is fairly skilled and has a whole lifetime of experience which explains why he is so good at navigating through the town. He may be a bit slow on the uptake of this all being a game but like with Truman, I can cut him some slack there because it is really hard to jump to the conclusion that your whole world is fake. Realistically that would be hard to buy at first but he does start to catch on when he sees how everyone always acts in the same way.
Free Guy is at its best when it’s about Guy just living his life and having a good time. The Mega Buster cameo was a blast as well as the Avengers reference. When the film is just going all crazy like this you’re really going to be engaged with what’s going on. The film has a lot of funny moments and the pacing is on point as well. Since Guy’s such a likable main character, the film is off on the right foot there. The soundtrack also has some fun songs. It may not be a huge soundtrack but it gets the job done.
The film’s at its weakest when it’s focusing on the humans plots. I’m always up for a good story about evil corporate but it’s hard to go from the video game world with its fun physics back to a normal workplace subplot. It just doesn’t really do many new or different things here. You have Millie as one of the main characters and her goal to find the piece of code is a good one. You may have some questions on how exactly she intends to find this on her own though. Without Guy it seems like this would have been truly impossible without some kind of extra hacking ability.
She gets points for being more proactive than Keys though. Keys literally joins with the villains and gives up on his dreams. He let the villains steal them all away and that’s not what you want to see from the main character. You want Keys to get out there and fight with the best of them. Instead he even discourages Millie from fighting back. Even in the romance plot he’s very laid back as he leaves a lot of clues for Millie but when she doesn’t notice them he basically gave up. If not for other characters acting on his behalf, he would not have ever made any progress.
Antwan’s a fun villain though. He’s your classic evil CEO who dials himself up to 11 with how crazy he gets. Perhaps this isn’t very original but he was entertaining enough so I’d give him a pass. The guy just wants to become mega rich and do whatever he wants. It’s a classic villain motivation but one that doesn’t want to get old since so many people want to be rich. He probably could have handled the situation a whole lot better though. Shutting down the first game sooner would have helped him a whole lot.
One of the worst humans in the film had to be Mouser though. He’s Keys’ friend but not a very loyal one. Mouser is always quick to follow orders and does whatever he can to stay in the company’s good graces. Sure, he steps up at the very end of the film but it’s way too late by then. The guy read none of the writing on the wall and didn’t even try to approach Keys and ask him about what was going on. That would have really been a good idea here since they were friends and all. Mouser was just disappointing here.
Guy’s friend Buddy isn’t much better though. At the end of the day he wasn’t brave enough to follow Guy’s example. It shows the difference between being a main character and being a sidekick. In the end Buddy was just not ready to enter the main stage. Also, he just doesn’t tend to be as funny as the other characters. He has his moments to be sure but sometimes his jokes just tend to drag on instead and that’s never a good thing for this kind of character.
As a comedy film, Free Guy will naturally be throwing an onslaught of jokes at you. I would say it’s nearly impossible for any comedy film to land with all of their jokes, the idea is that if you land on most of them then you should be good. Well, I would say Free Guy does land more often than not which is the sign of being a good film. For every iffy joke like the goldfish, the top pro player, or Buddy being too obsessive, you’ll have a solid array of good jokes to balance it out.
The only real weakness for the film naturally goes back to the human side as I mentioned. The romance is rather weak in this film. Both with the Guy plot and then with Keys. None of those romance plots really do anything but slow down the movie’s pacing. I’d also say the movie just isn’t good at getting really serious. When you have the cameos from real life pro players and such, it might make you cringe just a tad. They’re just a little too over the top which does match their persona in most streams but it’s hard to take seriously. Especially since the rest of the film is more comical. Free Guy has its serious moments of course but usually it’s still chuckling a bit in the background while these scenes are 100% serious.
Overall, Free Guy is a solid movie and definitely one that I would consider as a feel good film. It’s rather upbeat the whole time with a quick tempo so the movie never gets boring. I do think it’s best when the film is just having fun and exploring the video game world. When it gets serious and focuses on the human characters it doesn’t have the same amount of pop. I would definitely be game for a sequel though, there’s a whole lot you can do with this. Just keep up the solid references and cameos and you will have a great formula for a sequel. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would definitely recommend changing that.
I am looking forward to seeing it, and I think I’ll enjoy it, but it’s something I’ll think save for playing in the background or when it’s on TV. Just don’t think it’d be one for a theater-like experience sitting in the dark and concentrating on the movie.
I could see this being a fun background kind of movie for sure. I didn’t end up checking it out in the theaters either, but thought it was fun overall. It’s definitely better when it’s being comedic as opposed to being serious though