N. of the A: This review was originally published for the release of Free Guy: Taking Control in theaters. Now the movie is available on the platform Star+.
By Matías de la Maza
Since the return of movie theaters this winter, the pandemic reality has made itself felt: in a context where there are capacity limits and the curfew prevents a greater variety of times from being delivered, the space available for multi-screen releases is mainly reserved for big blockbusters that ensure some audience to justify the business.
Simply put, just watermelons: new installments of major franchises (Fast and Furious 9, The Suicide Squad, The Conjuring 3), sequels (Space Jam 2, Don’t Breathe 2) or adaptations of whatever (Jungle Cruise). The venues with a little more billboards add some Oscar-winning options, such as Nomadland and El Padre.
In that scenario, the new release of 20th Century Studios (ex-Fox), “Free Guy: Taking Control”, is an anomaly: yes, it is a blockbuster (it cost about 125 million dollars) and it is full of special effects, as well as familiar faces, but it is a film with an original idea, not based on a comic, book, or a previous installment. It also premieres, in something that has been unusual in a pandemic, along with its debut in the United States. And, perhaps most different of all, only in theaters. The vast majority of movies in theaters have the option to be seen on some platform, be it Disney + or HBO Max.
The story, directed by Shawn Levy (from the “A Night at the Museum” saga and multiple episodes of “Stranger Things”), centers on Guy (Ryan Reynolds, from Deadpool), a resident of Free City, a city where people like he are condemned to live a mundane and monotonous existence, while action heroes live destroying everything in their path and tormenting the routines of Guy and people like him, who accept the chaos with a smile. The plot quickly establishes that Free City and Guy are not real: they are part of a video game (clearly inspired by real exponents like Fortnite and GTA), although, of course, they don’t know it. It is simply your reality.
The thing is that one day Guy decides, even without being clear that his existence is merely virtual, to get out of his routine and have adventures like the ones of the players who constantly destroy his world. But, while the rest earn points for committing crimes, he will do so by performing good deeds, something completely against the logic of the game. Meanwhile, Millie (Jodie Comer, Emmy winner for “Killing Eve”), a player who decides to enter the world of Free City to find evidence that the supposed creator of the video game (Taika Waititi, Oscar winner) stole a code from her. to end up billing millions. For that, she seeks the help of her former partner in the creation of said code, Walter (Joe Keery, or “Steve” from Stranger Things), who now works for the company that owns Free City.
Two concepts constantly came to mind while watching the movie: BioShock and Jim Carrey. The first is a video game from 2007, a “shooter” (as video games where you have to shoot enemies are cataloged) that generated not only many sales, but also a huge discussion about its history, after the plot , apparently common and current, about half of its duration made a revelation that made the player completely question why he had done everything he had done during the last hours, questioning the free will of who, apparently, had the control.
On the other hand, the Jim Carrey thing has to do with the energy that Ryan Reynolds brings to this film: after years adrift as an innocuous heartthrob in romantic comedies and bad action movies, the actor showed that he could be a whirlwind of charisma and tremendously funny thanks to Deadpool. Here, his interpretation recalls the classic Carrey, as in “Liar, Liar” (1997) or Almighty (2003), where even when the plots were familiar, the protagonist brought acidity to the humor and winks from him to the adult audience.
Free Guy is a family action comedy that brings more than what your average blockbuster offers: between all the explosions and digital effects, and a script that on more than one occasion falters with generic dialogue, the story points its darts at the lack of original ideas in the cinema and also to the violent logic of many video games. It is true that it also falls into unoriginal ideas (with references to other movies) and using the same cartoonish violence of Fortnite and others. But its background ideas are creative, its cast is charming, the humor works, and most of all, it has a lot of heart. In the midst of a billboard that is still recovering, and its fragility works against its variety, a premiere of this type, which can only be seen on the big screen, is appreciated.
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[VIDEOCLUB] Free Guy: a movie to enjoy on Star+
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