Shawn Levy and Ryan Reynolds have already done one very successful film in their careers together, that being the mega-popular Free Guy. Free Guy took critics and fans alike by surprise. It leaned in on the comedy and ad-lib aspects of Ryan Reynolds’s repertoire. The Adam Project focuses more on the sympathetic side of his career. He has all of these skills in his acting ability. He can pull them out whenever he wants to. That’s the greatness of Reynolds, and Levy has found his muse.
Adam Reed (Ryan Reynolds) is a fighter pilot who has a unique ability to time travel in his spacecraft. He is escaping from a space tyrant played by Catherine Keener. In his escape, he ends up traveling back in time. He crash-lands in the backyard of his younger self (Walker Scobell). When he comes into contact with his younger self, Adam enlists his help to save the future. Along the way, they run into Adam’s father, Louis Reed (Mark Ruffalo), and his girlfriend, Laura (Zoe Saldana), who he thought he had lost forever.
The Adam Project takes a lot of cues from popular time-travel movies in the history of film, even going as far as commenting on the absurdity of how time travel does and doesn’t work. Which, I might add, both Ruffalo and Saldana we’re a part of in Avengers: Endgame, which took this genre to the next level. This genre has had a lot of success in the past with the Back to the Future and Bill and Ted franchises, Star Trek, and many other films too numerous to mention.
All that being said, the film has to stand on its own as a success or lack thereof success. It’s a good movie with a lot of heart and family dynamic. The family dynamic in the film works better than the time-travel stuff does. Various issues the characters of Adam have with their parents are a crucial element to how the film flows. The comedy schtick of Reynolds goes on the back burner during these moments of the film. The family aspects are very heartfelt and effectively keep the audience engaged throughout the film.
The film’s cast is stacked with A-listers, and Levy knows how to balance all these big Hollywood egos in this film. They all balance out nicely, but the film is more than just an A-list cast. It’s more than a sci-fi time travel storyline. It has to have good production value and visual effects that make the sci-fi and time travel elements work. The ships and dogfighting segments work pretty well in the context of the film. Most of the film is set in a more grounded, ordinary 2022 world. That works pretty well.
The Adam Project is a pretty good film. It’s nothing special or anything that hasn’t been done before or better in other more established franchises. The creators of the other films seem to have a better grasp on the time-travel elements of the film. The family elements work fine, and they are the parts of the film I liked the best. The all-star cast shines despite the subpar sci-fi segments. Reynolds and Levy have proven the adage that you can have one success, but it is harder to have two consecutive successful films.
Dan Skip Allen
Founder/EIC disappointment media