‘Free Guy’: A Comedic Dive Into Video Game Virtual Reality

The play between existence and reality is explored once again in Ryan Reynolds’s new film “Free Guy.” The movie follows Guy, a video game background character with newly found artificial intelligence properties as he explores free will in the fight for justice between two video game creatives. “Free Guy” marks its stance as a perfectly timed, fresh comedic experience with Disney influences, making for an all-around joyful experience at the theater.

Director Shawn Levy draws from elements of his past work with “Free Guy” as he effortlessly merges aspects of both a virtual and realistic world in a comedic format. Levy develops a complex premise feeding off of human existence and the concept of reality, only to use his highly contextualized ideas as a driving force for an inevitably doomed relationship. It is within this identification that Levy strikes comedic gold through fast-paced ideas coupled with meagerly amusing plot points.

Ryan Reynolds stars as Guy, a video game character with free will due to his newly advanced artificially intelligent coding. The film’s storyline is mainly driven by Guy’s interactions in a controlled world as he seeks to break free from constrained choices and feelings. Guy embarks on this journey only to realize he is a video game character made for the amusement of real-life players in the game. From here, an arch of realization and confrontation occurs, fully developing Guy as a character within the storyline.

Walt Disney Studios

When character development coincides with real-world commentary, interesting dynamics are slated to follow. In the instance of “Free Guy,” the idea that our own reality is false comes into question, paying homage to films like “The Matrix” and “The Truman Show,” This false perspective fully immerses viewers into an interactive experience that lives long after the credits roll on the film. 

Disney’s influence on this film was truly one of the most compelling aspects that kept me on the edge of my seat. During the final fight sequence of the film, many references were made towards the Avengers and Star Wars properties. This brought new excitement to the scenes by bringing in the aspect of popular familiarity. There was even a cameo from one of the Avengers out of costume, which I found to be quite the surprise.

Another homage to Disney royalty was actor and director Taika Waititi, making one of the most electric entrances to the film’s spiraling plot. Taika delivered on the character’s evil reputation while also establishing the strongest comedic presence the film had to offer. His over-the-top expressions mixed with creative improvisation created the most outright hilarious interactions of the film.

“Free Guy” almost feels like seven different movies merged into one, using many popular films for inspiration while still creating an original comedic premise. This originality is what makes the film so special. Aside from its video game antics, “Free Guy” affords viewers a serious message while drawing up a funny love story to calm the dramatic storm. It is this fluidity between the two storylines that make this film an overall great summer blockbuster.

“Free Guy” is out now only in theaters.

By Dorian Rosenburg

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