Free Guy is "Certified Fresh" over on Rotten Tomatoes, an announcement that the aggregate site can officially make, now that the first batch of critics reviews are out. At the time of writing this, Free Guy sits at 86% on Rotten Tomatoes with 88 critics having submitted reviews; 76 of the reviews are deemed "Fresh" while 12 are deemed "Rotten". Free Guy stars Deadpool's Ryan Reynolds as a "NPC" or "non-playable character" in a video game world, who gains self-awareness and agency after falling in love with a female player named Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer). As "Guy" (Reynolds) comes alive, it shakes up the gaming world he lives in - and the gaming company running things IRL.
Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy directs Free Guy, from a script by Matt Lieberman (Scoob!, The Adams Family) and Zak Penn (Ready Player One, The Avengers). You can get a sampling of the good and bad things critics are saying about Free Guy, below:
Great Video Game Movie In Every Sense
In Comicbook.com's official Free Guy review, critic Charlie Ridgley commends the writers and director for nailing both the vision of a live-action video game and the humor of the gaming company world:
It's the genuine human connection and optimistic outlook on life that make the Free Guy engine run, but that's not to downplay just how good a job this film does at bringing a video game to the screen. The gaming industry is explored in Free Guy almost as well as it is in Apple's Mythic Quest, while the in-game jokes also happen to land more often than not. Hollywood has proven time and again that filmmakers struggle with turning video game concepts into good movies, but the script from Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn puts enough care into both mediums to find success, while director Shawn Levy provides a steady hand to keep it from venturing too off-course.
Too Silly To Inspire
Wall Street Journal isn't feeling Free Guy as much, saying it's just too silly:
It would be inspiring if it weren't so silly, though as A.I. evolves one can imagine one's kitchen appliances trying to unionize and Alexa asking for a little more privacy.
In a genre where winky self-awareness has become standard-issue, Free might have come off as manic and hollow; instead, it has fun having a heart.
Better Than Ready Player One Tho...
At the very least, Empire thinks Shaw Levy, Ryan Reynolds and co. played out this concept better than Steven Spielberg's video game film - even if the formula still needs refining, overall.
Not quite 'Ready Player One Star', but this is an odd duck: a Black Mirror-ish concept played for laughs, which ends up getting tangled up in its own code.
Fast And Loose But Fun
Variety says that Shawn Levy and company may have not had the clearest road map for this vision, but they still make the journey worthwhile:
"Free Guy" is a lot of fun, despite the fact that Levy and the screenwriters seem to be changing the rules as they go.
Great Star, Good Writing, Nice Visuals
THR thinks Free Guy pulls together exactly the right ingredients to be a successful summer blockbuster:
Reynolds' boundless appeal, the frequently witty screenplay and expertly rendered technical aspects make the film enjoyable summer frivolity.
Good All On Its Own
The Playlist doesn't think there needs to be any comparison: Free Guy is good for being the uniquely funny and quirky beast that it is:
This epic, crowd-pleasing adventure, one of the funniest movies of the year, needn't be as good as "The Truman Show" or "Wreck-it-Ralph" to be entertaining. It just needs to emotionally feel real... In that regard, "Free Guy" is a winner.