'Free Guy' Spoiler Review

 The video game inspiration for Free Guy has to have started with Grand Theft Auto (GTA), the GTA series started as a computer game that I remember playing and has since exploded since getting onto consoles. Now there are so many games similar to GTA, there are online multiplayer games too numerous to name. GTA has predated so many of the now popular titles that I feel a lot of games are based on GTA style gameplay. Free Guy uses the setting of a video game as the backdrop for our story, I enjoyed the bonkers action and characters. I wanted to see Free Guy in theatres, but the opportunity never presented itself. I finally had a chance, but then I saw it would be on Disney Plus the following day, so I just waited. I do not think Free Guy is a film better seen on the big screen, I enjoyed it, but I was not blown away either. The casting of Ryan Reynolds always works for me, I have been a fan since he was on the TV show Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place. I think Reynolds is a very charismatic actor and he is especially skilled at blending comedy and action. Reynolds has made Deadpool into a household name, and I think he might have started another franchise with Free Guy. Reynolds stars as Guy an NPC (non-playable character) in an online video game called Free City, Guy works as a bank teller and his best friend is a bank security named Buddy (played Lil Rel Howery). Guy seems to live an ordinary life until he bumps into a woman on the street, the woman is humming a song he likes. The woman is Molotov Girl/Millie (played by Jodie Cormer), and she is a player in the game who is searching for something. The film adds a subplot in the real world where a couple of game designers are trying to prove that Free City is based on a game they designed. If you are not familiar with video games especially the newer ones, then some of the jokes and plot will fall flat for you. That is where Ryan Reynolds comes in, even if there are parts of the plot that are hard to follow, you still have Reynolds delivering an enjoyable performance. 

I was not blown away with how good the movie was, it was not bad, but I was a little disappointed with it. The performances were good, but I did not find the chemistry between Cormer and Reynolds all that strong. I am trying to put into words my disappointment, but it is a struggle because there are things, I like but as a whole the movie did not connect with me. One reason is that I have never been a fan of online gaming, so this world was not as interesting, and I found the real world gamers to be boring too. Despite being set in an online multiplayer game there are only six characters that matter. We know Cormer, Reynolds and Howery, but they are joined Joe Kerry, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Taika Waititi. Taika plays the villain who is the owner of Free City Antwan, Ambudkar plays Mouser who is a game coder who works for Antwan and Kerry plays Keys a fellow coder who is partners with Molotov Girl. Antwan is the villain because he used the source code of Keys and Millie's game called Life Itself to make Free City. Antwan does not get a lot of screen time, but Taika imbues the character with a personality that you can't help but hate. Mouser is a fun character as he is close with Keys but he kisses Antwan's butt a lot so he can move up in the company. Keys is a character that you can't help but like, he is just a good guy who took a job working for Antwan so he could find a way to prove Antwan stole the source code for Free City from Life Itself. The film is entertaining and never becomes boring, but it never really connects emotionally with me. 


The film opens with Guy narrating life inside of Free City, we see a player wearing sunglasses drop from the sky and it is Channing Tatum. Tatum then steals a car and begins causing destruction as he is driving through the city. Guy calls the sunglasses people the heroes, they get to do whatever they want, they are cool. Guy wakes up and we see he lives in a plain apartment, gets the same coffee from the same store everyday. Guy seems very positive and when him and Buddy walk to work, they are very positive. While at work a player walks in and proceeds to rob the bank, Buddy and Guy get down on the ground as if nothing is out of the ordinary and they chit chat. We see Millie/Molotov Girl meet with a mysterious stranger who is telling her the location of a stash house where she can find a clip she is looking for. Millie as she walks down the street proceeds to say all the dialogue lines the NPC's say even Guy's line. Guy is drawn to her as she is humming a song while she walks by him, Guy follows her until he is hit by train. Millie in the real world is in a coffee shop playing Free City, she tells the barista that she is suing the maker of Free City because he used her code to make Free City. Guy wakes up and goes to get coffee but in stead of ordering his usual, he orders a cappuccino, and this causes a disruption in the coffee shop. Guy sees Millie outside of the bank as it is being robbed so he decides to confront the bank robber, he takes the robber's sunglasses and shoots him. Guy puts on the sunglasses and the world looks totally different. Guy is seeing the world as the heroes do, he sees a floating medical briefcase and when he touches it, he feels great. In the real world Mouser and Keys notice Guy and they confuse him for a player wearing the same outfit as an NPC. Mouser and Keys enter the game to hunt Guy down, Mouser uses a pink bunny rabbit avatar while Keys goes generic cop.

When Keys and Mouser confront Guy, he is confused by what they are asking, Guy has no idea what they are asking him to do. Guy runs into an office building and the shoes he bought give him the ability jump really high, but Keys and Mouser keep after him. Guy attempts to jump onto a wrecking ball, he misses and falls; but before he hits the ground the glasses save him by causing a bubble to open up and encases him protecting him Guy gets up and is hit by a car driven by Mouser and Keys. Mouser and Keys in the real world are arguing over what to do about Guy, Mouser believes it is a glitch. We learn more about Keys, we see that he and Mellie designed a game that would be users watching the NPCs grow and evolve. Their game Millie believes is at the heart of Free City, Millie tries to get Keys to assist her in proving that Antwan stole their game. Millie re-enters the game and is scouting out the stash house where the clip is located, Guy surprises her by appearing beside her. They begin to get shot at by security forces. Millie opens a portal back to her base and Guy follows her. Millie also believes Guy to be a player, she tells him that he will need to level up if he wants to help her. Guy checks and sees that he is only a level 1, she explains what he will need to do to level up and he just wants to help people. Guy then becomes focused on levelling up to 100, he does this by helping his fellow NPCs; sometimes it works and sometimes he dies. Guy's actions in the game make him popular in the real world where he becomes known as Blue Shirt Guy. 

Guy then goes back to his bank and attempts to get Buddy to put on a pair of sunglasses, but Buddy is not ready to take that step. Back in the real world Keys gets a message from Millie asking for help, she is once again trying to invade the stash house. Millie sets off an alarm and is attacked by a security and she is trapped but Guy arrives and helps her fight off the security team. We finally meet Antwan as he arrives at the game studio, he is an annoying jerk who doesn't care about anyone else's opinions. Keys is determined to find the answer to the mystery of the Blue Shirt Guy, he is mapping his face and running a search. Guy and Millie are at Guy's hideout this time, they go for bubble-gum ice cream which happens to be both Millie's and Guy's favourite ice cream flavour. Millie and Guy share a kiss which both of them feel good about, but there is a knock on Millie's door and she is forced to leave the game. Keys has come to Millie's apartment to tell her that she was right, Antwan used Life Itself as the source code for Free City. Keys tells Millie that Blue Shirt Guy is actually an artificially intelligent NPC that is learning to feel and think for himself. Millie is distraught at learning the person she is falling for is an NPC. Millie tells Guy that he and his world is not real upsets him, he tells Millie he loves her, but his world is shattered with her revelation. Guy goes to visit Buddy, Buddy cheers Guy up; Buddy is able to convince Guy that even though he is not real they are sharing real moments together. Buddy and Guy head to the stash house, Channing Tatum is the owner of the house. Upon learning that Blue Shirt Guy is actually there Tatum hands over the clip Millie was looking for. Tatum says the clip is proof of a secret level in the game, but the secret level was patched over, and he can no longer get there. 

Guy brings the clip to Millie's secret hideout; Millie tells Guy that they are done living in the background. In the real world we see that video game playing Youtubers are amazed at what Guy is doing in the game, Guy is making them reconsider the treatment of NPCs. Antwan wants Guy removed from the game, instead of buying Free City 2 gamers are watching what Guy is doing. Mouser tells Antwan that if they reboot the character then he will reset, and everything will go back to default for him. Millie and Guy are watching the clip which reveals Life Itself is in Free City, but Guy is rebooted, and he wakes up in his bed with no memory of anything else happening. The game is rebooted, and Millie finds Guy, but he doesn't remember her. Millie is convinced by Keys that Guy's despite being rebooted will still have his coding, so Millie robs the bank and takes Guy as a hostage. Millie then kisses Guy and all of his memories come back; Guy brings her back to his apartment to show Millie what he sees when he opens his blinds. Millie sees that Life Itself is buried beyond the horizon; Keys is going to assist them in getting to beyond the horizon. Guy organizes a meeting with his fellow NPCs, he gets them to band together. The NPCs stay off the streets and the gamers are all talking about the missing NPCs. Antwan learns that Millie is working with Guy, and he decides that Millie's character in the game needs to be killed. 

The coders are tasked by Antwan with killing Guy and Millie, Keys is able to assist and save them. Antwan asks for his avatar Dude to be loaded into the game, Dude is a super muscular version of Guy, but his programming is not finished. Antwan finds Keys, Keys is mad that Antwan took Life Itself. Antwan fires Keys, but as Keys is being escorted out, he livestreams Guy's footage so everyone will see Life Itself inside of Free City. Keys makes a bridge for Guy to use to make it across the horizon, but Dude arrives and kicks Guy's ass. Dude is not fully finished so Guy puts his sunglasses on Dude which causes him to get distracted and run off. Antwan's last resort is to go to the server room and destroy the servers. As Antwan starts destroying the servers the game starts falling apart and the bridge crumbles with Buddy dying. Guy makes it to Life Itself and before Antwan can destroy the final server Millie arrives and makes a deal with Antwan. Millie will let Antwan keep Free City if she can have Life Itself back and for Antwan not to destroy the final server. We later see that Free City 2 is a disaster and Antwan us is fired. Mouser is now working with Keys and Millie on their game called Free Life, Keys finally asks out Millie. Guy is in the new game, and everyone is there even Buddy is back, Free Life is a success because people want to watch a video game rather than playing it. Guy tells Millie that his coding was a love letter to her, Millie realizes that Keys loves her, and she runs after him to tell him she feels the same way as the credits roll.


I gave Free Guy two viewings, because I liked enough stuff in my first viewing that I wanted to see if it clicked better for me on the second watch. I still did not emotionally connect with Guy's storyline, but the one with Keys and Millie had more of a payoff for me. My main issue is that Guy is our main character, and I don't understand what his arc is, but I felt the connection between Millie and Keys made more sense. Keys put his feelings for Millie into the game and that is why Guy takes his coffee the same as Millie and his favourite ice cream is the same as Millie. It was a cute arc, but I wish they found a way to make Guy's arc pay off in a similar way. I enjoyed all of the main characters, and I think that is why I think the movie is worthy of a good rating. The cast all do such a great job of giving their characters life, they are all likeable, but they all also have flaws. The action did not blow me away, but the video game setting made the action fun and some of the background details worked for me. I wish the film tackled so of more familiar tropes with online gaming like bullying, micro transactions and overly angry gamers having meltdowns. Some of the stuff I wanted might have ruined the cheery and positive nature of Free Guy, I guess that says more of what I like. 

Throughout the film I kept thinking how similar I found Free Guy to Ready Player One, a similar film that is set inside the video game realm. I don't think Ready Player One is a great film (though I do enjoy the book), but I enjoyed the action in that film better. I do think the idea of a sequel to Free Guy is intriguing, I think Reynold has said that Disney has seemed interested in going forward with the franchise. The reason I think there is reason to be positive for a sequel is that they will now have access to all the properties Disney owns so I would expect some more cameos by characters seen in the Disney universe. I am going to give Free Guy a 7/10, it is an entertaining film that is a happy film that can be watched by the whole family. I am not going to hold the family film nature to it against the film, it is important to remember the difference between what you want to see and what the target audience wants to see. I do think the sequel would be wise to give Guy more of a character arc, while also exploring the world of online gaming in more detail. I think you will enjoy Free Guy more than I did, especially if you don't mind the family friendly material of the film. 

Thank you for reading my review and let me know what you think of Free Guy. 

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