NYCC 2019: Free Guy is the Undertale of video game movies


Ryan Reynolds is one of the modern comedy golden boys, isn’t he? Between his Deadpool movies and one off comedies like The Hitman’s Bodyguard or Detective Pikachu, it’s safe to say that whenever he appears in a comedy, chances are it’s going to be funny. The man is just naturally entertaining to watch. So that’s why his latest project, Free Guy sounded so interesting, yet nothing has been known about the movie until now. 

With very little information known about the movie, New York Comic Con was the movie’s big reveal, pitching to us exactly what Free Guy is and why we should care about it. At the beginning of the panel, director Shawn Levy came on stage, energetic as ever, to talk about exactly what the premise of the movie was, which he describes as a “superhero origin minus the capes, the tights, and the IP.” In it, Ryan Reynolds plays a man named Guy, who works for a bank that gets robbed about 17 times a day. That’s just life for guy, but when he finally starts to consider that maybe something is a bit weird, he discovers that he’s actually and NPC in a video game. Think Serenity meets Grand Theft Auto Online and you’d have a good idea of what to expect. 

The movie is split between the video game world, known as Free City, and the real world, where life is considerably less interesting. Guy starts to develop his own sense of identity as an NPC in Free City and wants to level up inside of the game, only without killing people unlike all of the players inside Free City. Since this is a GTA inspired world, violence is the quickest way to level up, but Guy wants to do so passively without hurting anyone. He slowly becomes a viral sensation, known as the “Blue Shirt Guy,” with comedy ensuing over Ryan Reynolds being Ryan Reynolds. 

While not much was shown about the movie other than two brief clips, there’s certainly a lot to like here. For starters, this is one hell of a cast assembled, including Reynolds, Emmy Award winning actress Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, and Taika Waitiki just to name a few. Most of the cast, as well as Levy, gave us their thoughts on their characters as well as the world itself. According to Reynolds, what drew him to the role was how similar it was to the real world, how most of us are really just NPCs in the grand scheme of the world. Jodie Comer plays two separate characters, one in the real world and one in the virtual world named Molotov Girl, and says that the physicality and accent work was a ton of fun to discover. 

Levy goes on to say that this is a movie that was a ton of fun to work on not only because of the actors, but because of just how much he was able to cram into the background. A police officer in a bunny suit, explosions, and Ninja will all pop up at some point. Levy gleefully told the audience that this was a movie that gamers would love without being a pure video game adaptation.

Levy and the entire cast had so much energy as they talked about the movie that it was impossible for me not to feel excited about the movie. For a movie that no one knew anything about going into it, they were able to win over a large portion of the audience by good will alone. It’s hard to sell a person on a movie that doesn’t have a lot of footage, but they were able to successfully do so, making Free Guy original comedy that I wanted to see more of. 

Free Guy releases July 3, 2020. 

Jesse Lab
The strange one. The one born and raised in New Jersey. The one who raves about anime. The one who will go to bat for DC Comics, animation, and every kind of dog. The one who is more than a tad bit odd. The Features Editor.