The Ryan Reynolds starring “Free Guy” has been stalled numerous times due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the situation is a little better 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studio due to its acquisition by Disney) has finally unleashed it in theatres. Since the real world is now in close contact with Blue Shirt Guy (the infamous character played by Reynolds in the film), a Non-player character in a video game who discovers his world isn’t what he supposed it was, it’s only right to talk about its many influences and possible double bill features that serve as great post-viewing experience.
Free Guy is a film that draws on a pretty original (and somehow derivative) idea. The fact that video games have now become such an integral part of the lives of millennials and the Gen-Z in particular, it was only about time that someone took it upon himself to replicate the immersive nature of these games, with a clever comment on the whole idea of creation and self-sabotage that it brings along for the ride. Mostly, it’s just a damn fun time at the movies. A film that will keep you happy with its frolic world-building and charming character moments. Thanks to a brilliant cast that includes Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Taika Waititi, and a hilarious cameo by Channing Tatum. If you, like me, really enjoyed Free Guy here are some other movies that you might wanna check out:
1. The Truman Show (1998)
The first movie that comes to one’s mind when you watch Free Guy is Peter Weir’s masterful satire The Truman Show. This is a funny and moving piece of filmmaking by Weir who, through Jim Carrey’s oblivious character of Truman Burbank (a man who doesn’t know that his entire world is a rendering for a reality show on TV) portrays a poignant hinge at human nature’s obsession with knowing what ordinary lives are like.
Pretty much like The Truman Show, Guy in Shawn Levy’s film realizes that his entire life is a lie. He has been living in a video game and the simulation of a routine is nothing but codes written for him to follow each day. While both the film satirize different things (The Truman Show being especially sharp about it), the films fall under the same realm in some way or the other.
Watch The Truman Show on Netflix
2. Guns Akimbo (2019)
While some kind of gun violence subtext is randomly referenced in both Guns Akimbo and Free Guy, these American films don’t necessarily do anything particular about it thereafter. However, the dark humor and the rampant live-streaming gaming culture are at the center of both films.
In Guns Akimbo, the central character is a code monkey. Pretty much like the whole lot of programmers that work for Antwan (the evil villain and owner of the game design company Sunami in Free Guy), he is just one upset dude who doesn’t get what he deserves. The film actually kicks up when this character played by Radcliffe gets stuck in his reality and that of the game; waking up to guns being bolted to his hands and a mission to complete.
Watch Guns Akimbo on Prime Video
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3. Ready Player One (2018)
The Steven Spielberg film Ready Player One is actually the blueprint for the self-referencing, pop-culture-obsessed Free Guy. Based on the cult sci-fi novel series by Ernest Cline, Spielberg’s film is set in a futuristic dystopia where the protagonist is on a quest to find an Easter Egg in a VR game.
Pretty much like Free Guy, the film also references other movies and is directly or indirectly a very self-aware entity about inheriting one’s own wealth back from those who use elusiveness to cheat the less fortunate.
Watch Ready Player One on Prime Video
4. The Lego Movie (2014)
Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s The Lego Movie (and the not-so-awesome sequel) is the closest one can get to Free Guy. The entire premise reeks of similarity. From the opening that clues us into the daily routine of a happy-go-lucky ordinary lego-guy named Emmet, to the realization that he is ‘someone special’ and saving his own world is in his hands; feels like a direct lift-off.
Like Free Guy, The Lego Movie is also incredibly immersive with a whole lot of effort put into the idea of world building. Much like Free Guy, the evil here is someone taken up by corporate greed. It is another thing that the inventive twist in The Lego Movie is something truly spectacular and better witnessed than hinted at.
Watch The Lego Movie on Prime Video
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5. Boss Level (2021)
The HULU Original film Boss Level is more inclined towards a time-loop movie than one that has anything to do with video games or the world at large, but Joe Carnahan’s film is about a retired special force officer (played by Frank Grillo) who also wakes up each day and does the same set of things until he gets killed and the day resets again.
Like Free Guy, Boss Level is about the protagonist trying to find a sort of loophole in the entire day-repeating-itself ordeal. While Boss Level doesn’t really and completely get its premise to its highs, it is an interesting watch nonetheless.
Watch Boss Level on HULU
6. Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)
Could have served as a proxy for the first film, but Ralph Breaks the Internet has more similar illusions and themes when compared to Free Guy than its predecessor. It is set within the world of the internet, where saving the game and the world within a game is the ultimate aim.
Full of trolls, pop-ups, and clever little nitty-gritty details that make the internet such an immersive place, Ralph Breaks the Internet is also about a simple guy trying to make sense of the big responsibility he has. Trying to excel at it is not important, but keeping people close is.