Ryan Reynolds has been around for quite a while, but it wasn’t until the last 10 years that his star really started to shine. The actor has become a staple of high budget blockbusters, and his powerful charisma takes him further into stardom with each new project.
Last year, Reynolds and director Shawn Levy got a huge hit on their hands with Free Guy. What looked like a by-the-numbers movie about a sentient AI became a heartfelt blockbuster with amazing visual effects and a very cute story. The film was one of the biggest box office successes of the pandemic, and it was far from the last time both actor and director collaborated.
This time, Reynolds and Levy are collaborating with Netflix on what looks like another great blockbuster adventure, The Adam Project. The film has all the characteristics to be a huge hit with audiences, and while it never reaches the heights of Free Guy, it really is an entertaining little adventure involving time travel and also a lot of emotional beats.
The Adam Project is directed by Shawn Levy and stars Ryan Reynolds, Walker Scobell, Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, and Zoe Saldana. The film tells the story of Adam, a kid mourning the recent death of his father and being the victim of bullying. Adam, one night, discovers that a version of himself from the future has come to the past in search of someone. The issue is that he isn’t supposed to be in that timeline. When the authorities come for him, both Adams will need to work together to save the world.
At this point, time travel has become one of the most used narrative resources in science fiction. It is understandable, as the mechanics of time travel allow for endless possibilities. Execution is all that matters, but at some point, you need to add something fresh in order to keep people guessing and intrigued about what is happening in your story. The Adam Project does little new. In fact, it just dumps tons of influences from other stories and movies all into the same pot.
All these numerous references and elements make for a film that is very stuffed with things, even if the running time is rather short in comparison with other movies being released nowadays. However, even if the movie severely lacks personality on its own, Levy’s direction and the cast, which is basically filled with big names, manage to always be entertaining.
Levy’s direction has never been one of being artsy at all. He is the perfect definition of what a commercial director should do by grabbing the story and putting it on the screen in the most professional possible way. Levy has enough experience under his belt to execute some really great action sequences and also deliver when it comes to filming emotional scenes where the characters lay bare their feelings for each other. There’s nothing amazing here, but what there is, is quite solid.
Of course, it is the cast that manages to keep the audience watching from beginning to end. Reynolds does what he does best. At this point, you can say he has typecast himself into the role of the funny guy who talks a lot and can’t help but spit quips every few seconds. He does this type of role in basically every movie, and while it is repetitive, Reynolds has enough charm to make it work. He has even taken this role outside of film and made it his personality in real life, so every time we watch him, it feels like he’s not even acting. It is just natural for him. For better or worse.
Scobell does a great job of being Reynold’s counterpart for most of the film. The actor manages to avoid being the typical annoying kid actor, and that is an achievement unto itself. However, the actors who will really make the most impact are both Ruffalo and Garner, who are basically reunited with their characters from 13 Going on 30. The internet will surely find a way to make The Adam Project a sequel to that movie, and no one will be able to stop it.
While the film is pure entertainment, it does feel shallow at several points in its runtime. In particular, the second act suffers from too many action sequences that are there only to pad the running time. It would have been nice to have more character moments in this section of the film and to use Zoe Saldana a bit more than what she ends up being used for.
At the end of the day, The Adam Project falls in line more with other Levy films like Real Steel and Night at the Museum than with Free Guy. And that isn’t a bad thing. Those are solid movies, but it wouldn’t be surprising if this movie fades into obscurity as the year passes by.
The Adam Project is a great, fun watch that doesn’t overstay its welcome. It may not be an instant classic, but it accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish, and that is all that matters in the end.