What is it like to be an NPC in a big action game? That’s what the beginning of Free Guy, the latest Ryan Reynolds flick explores.
The film stars Reynolds, who you probably know both from his titular roles in Deadpool and Detective Pikachu and from his being America’s sweetheart, as a bank teller named Guy, who lives in a world rampant with extremely over-the-top violence and at one point what appears to be one of the dances Fortnite stole without credit.
This is the normal for this world until Guy, upon being held up during a bank robbery, dares to wonder if there’s more to life than the hyper violence and crime of their everyday lives. Then he does what he’s not supposed to, and fights against one of the characters holding up the bank, and learns he’s an NPC in a video game.
Even just in the trailer, Free Guy has a few funny gags and references to open-world games like Grand Theft Auto, including a point where Guy gets a pair of sunglasses that show his game’s UI, complete with a map, mission waypoints, and a health pack that heals him after his altercation in the bank.
Hopefully it doesn’t lean into these kinds of references so much it becomes a Ready Player One-esque pandering session. Working a plot and references within the confines of the video game medium could be a fun movie, but if it’s just constantly showing people who play games things they know without a joke or commentary with it that sounds like it’d be a missed opportunity with a pretty entertaining premise.
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Free Guy has been in development at 20th Century Fox since before Disney’s acquisition of the company, and the trailer acknowledges this by taking a jab at Disney’s on-going remake initiative, saying it’s “from the studio that brought you Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King….twice,” which feels pretty much in line with Reynolds’ brand of meta humor that made Deadpool so popular.
Check out the full trailer below:
Alongside Reynolds, notable stars that appear in the trailer include Taika Waititi, known most recently for directing Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit, as well as Joe Keery, who plays Steve Harrington in Netflix’s Stranger Things.
Free Guy will arrive in theaters on July 3 of next year.