Hey! Hallie here!
You’ll likely be seeing a few movie reviews from us in the near future given how many movies are dropping on streaming services right now. First on the list is a Netflix film called ‘The Adam Project’, which is the latest in the Ryan Reynolds block busters and the same actor-director combo as the surprise hit ‘Free Guy’. I liked ‘Free Guy’, but I didn’t love it as much as many others did. The brand of comedy didn’t always work for me and I found the characters outside of the game more interesting than the characters inside it. That said, ‘The Adam Project’ has a really interesting sci-fi premise I felt myself getting excited about from the first trailer. That, plus its incredible cast and the undeniable charm that radiates from Ryan Reynolds, made watching this movie a no brainer for me. So did it live up to my expectations and hit the spot ‘Free Guy’ failed to hit? Yes! It very much did! I’m going into depth on this so SPOILERS ahead! But if you haven’t watched it yet, I do recommend you go and do that now.
What I Liked
The Cast: I knew this cast was going to be amazing when I saw the lineup for the first time, but there were definitely some surprises here. Ryan Reynolds plays a bit of a grittier character in this film than he has in recent films. Many people found this decision to be an odd one given the success of the more mischievous and upbeat personas he’s taken on recently, but I thought that it was a satisfyingly refreshing choice. And Reynolds pulls it off extremely well. There’s still plenty of moments of comedy for his character, but there are also more serious character moments where Adam wrestles with self loathing and both were portrayed equally well. His interactions with his main co-star, Walker Scobell, were perfectly heartfelt and amusing as well. Which leads me into newcomer Walker Scobell. What an intro into film. This kid ran away with the whole movie. He was starring in a movie with RYAN REYNOLDS and he managed to steal the show. He’s hilariously sharp and witty, his comedic timing is perfect, and the way that he matches Ryan Reynold’s cadence made it very easy to picture him as the younger version of Ryan’s Adam. From his first scene, where he’s getting bullied while simultaneously insulting the boys terrorizing him, you can’t help but like him. And even during the quieter moments, where young Adam demonstrates his emotional intelligence, he brings emotion to these scenes in a way that makes it difficult to focus on anyone else. Mark Ruffalo isn’t in this film as much as I anticipated given the promotional material, but he makes a large impact. He plays the role of an uncertain father well. So well that you as the audience member don’t really know how to feel about him at first. But some of his final scenes in the movie genuinely had me in tears. Mark Ruffalo is very good at playing comforting characters, and he has his fair share of genuinely hilarious jokes here too. I also loved seeing Zoe Saldana kick ass and Jennifer Garner is always a joy to watch onscreen. But I’ll get back to these two in a bit.
The Story: This story isn’t on as large of a scale as I thought it would be, but I wound up liking that about the movie. Of course, it’s an action/adventure/sci-fi film. So don’t expect something entirely simple. But the movie focuses mostly on the emotional journey of Adam. The film starts by centering twelve-year-old Adam, who’s just lost his father and is lashing out because of that. But it isn’t until a forty-something Adam from the future shows up to find his wife that we start to see the core of the movie. It doesn’t take long for young Adam to accept this newcomer as the older version of himself, but it takes much longer for older Adam to accept any help from his younger self. This is because older Adam has faced multiple tragedies in his life that have convinced him that he’s an awful person who’s been detestable since he was young. As the film goes on, older Adam is able to actually face his younger self and realize that he was much more intelligent and understandable at that age than he remembered, and that his younger self still plays a positive part in who he became. The second emotional core of the movie surrounds grief, which the latter half of the movie tackles by taking both Adams back to 2018 to stop the creation of time travel so it can’t be misused. This is where Adam comes face-to-face with his father. Here it’s revealed that Adam’s grief over his father’s death has turned into rage, fueled by the idea that his father never loved him, so that he doesn’t have to process it. The movie does an excellent job of deconstructing that as well, having young Adam contradict the harsh lies older Adam convinced himself of to remind him of how much his father did care. And it all ends with his father holding his face in his hands and firmly telling him that he’s proud of him and that he loves him until he breaks down in tears. The way this movie tackles both grief and self-love is so incredibly well done.
The Villains: There are a few villains that pop up every once in a while to chase around Ryan Reynolds and present the major issue that the time-travel plot is needed to resolve. But are they good villains? No. Most of them are generic trigger-happy guys whose lines amount to light taunts before they die quick deaths in the finale. The main villain is the business partner of Adam’s dad. She’s quickly revealed to be the first time-traveler to have messed up the universe because she traveled back in time to give her younger self information that made her rich and successful. But she’s nothing more than a generic villain. The film attempts to give young Adam conflicting feelings about her because he remembers her as a nice person, but she doesn’t really play into the nice persona for long before all her scenes become “dastardly scheming” scenes. And none of the characters, not even Adam’s father who’s supposed to be close with her, seem to care about her death. In fact, her death scene comes off as fairly comical. So don’t watch this movie for the villains.
The Women’s Screen Time: I don’t think the women in this film are portrayed badly, but they don’t get a lot of screen time. Adam’s mother gets a nice moment where older Adam anonymously talks to her as a result of the regret he feels for the way he treated her when he was young Adam’s age. But after this she becomes mostly irrelevant to the plot. Which I understand given the story they were trying to tell, but I feel like they could have at least shown more of her attempting to connect with her son towards the beginning of the film. Instead, we get only a few scenes where she gets in an argument with young Adam and then disappears for a while. Zoe Saldana was absolutely the most wasted potential in the film, though. She kicks ass for a while, but after a few action sequences she has a makeout scene with Ryan Reynolds, convinces the Adams to let her sacrifice herself so they can wipe out the current timeline in favor of a better one, and then she dies. She comes back towards the end of the film in the post-2018 rewritten timeline so older Adam can have a happy ending, but it isn’t enough.
Overall I really enjoyed ‘The Adam Project’. It’s probably my favorite of Ryan Reynold’s recent projects. It has an emotional core that felt far stronger than anything else I’ve seen from films like this, and it has humor that’s well placed while never upsetting the emotional moments. I couldn’t have imagined how much I would relate to the subjects this movie tackled, and I definitely couldn’t have imagined how emotionally invested I would become as a result. I can’t recommend this movie enough, even with the few faults I found. If you like Ryan Reynolds, this is an absolute must watch!
Don’t do anything fun until I get back!