Episode 337: No, The Free Guy Trailer is Not Confusing


2020 looks like it’s going to be a blockbuster year for movies. In the past week alone, the Internet has been exploding with upcoming movies that are slated to be released next year. We have Black Widow, Wonder Woman 1984, Birds of Prey, Ghostbusters Afterlife, James Bond in No Time to Die and Disney’s live-action Mulan, just to name a few. Oh, I also have to mention Bloodshot, starring Vin Diesel since that movie trailer seems to have fallen through the cracks.

There was this trailer that took me off-guard. It totally surprised me with how good it look, how funny it seemed and, most importantly, how intriguing the overall idea looks like. That trailer was for the upcoming 20th Century Fox film Free Guy.

The overall concept is brilliant and, from what I saw, it’s got a lot going for it. For one thing, it’s not only backed by 20th Century Fox but, by extension, Disney as well. They make it gut-bustingly obvious by saying Free Guy is being brought to you by the same guys who made Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and the Lion King… twice! The acting looked really good and, best of all, it has Ryan Reynolds, a guy who isn’t afraid of making fun of himself as seen in the Deadpool movies.

Oh, there was one thing that also took me off guard about Free Guy’s trailer. Actually, not the trailer itself. Rather, what surprised me is how many people who saw the Free Guy trailer don’t seem to understand it. They just have this confused look on their faces and they can’t seem to really understand the concept. I find this really weird because it looked really straightforward to me!

Okay, at the start, I didn’t know what to make of the film. Then again, you’re not really supposed to as we follow Ryan Reynold’s character walk around the city in a nonchalant fashion while a whole lot of chaos just bubbles around him. To him and most of the citizenry, it’s just a typical day in the neighborhood. During a particular bank heist, he snaps and decides to fight back. He takes the glasses of the robber and then he sees some really weird stuff when he wears them. That’s when it hits you: he’s in an online video game! A particularly violent one like Grand Theft Auto at that! It’s at that time when everything just clicks and you understand why there’s just a lot of craziness happening all around him and, since Ryan Reynolds is an NPC, he just treats it as an ordinary day! It’s a super smart concept and I really hope they hit it out of the park.

It seems like a really easy-to-follow idea, which is why it baffles me that there are several movie reviewers who can’t seem to wrap their heads around the idea. I guess there will be a certain portion of the population who won’t because they’re not familiar with open world games and, more particularly, games like Grand Theft Auto where you’re allowed to cause as much mayhem as you like. I can forgive them… but a guy like Magnus, who I would guess who has played Grand Theft Auto, came off as confused when the Free Guy trailer ended.

Maybe I’m wrong and Magnus isn’t confused about what Free Guy’s main idea is about and he’s just not sure if the movie is going to be good or not. I do think it’s probably the latter scenario and not the former because he does say that he doesn’t know what’s going on and even asks for help in getting him to understand it!

He’s not the only one as I’ve seen to finish the trailer and not really understand it. Another example would be Grace from Beyond the Trailer. Her, maybe I can excuse a little bit more than Magnus. I’m not sure that she had to play a lot of Grand Theft Auto-like video games for her job at Beyond the Trailer. She understood that the setting is in a video game but she’s more confused about the rules of the actual game. This is proof that she hasn’t played an open world game so she does get a pass.

To be fair, I am kind of blowing this out of proportion. I have perused through most of the other reactions to the Free Guy trailer and they do seem to understand the concept fine. At least they do get it’s the basic gist of it all. Some of them don’t understand the finer points. They might not get that Ryan Reynolds is an NPC who breaks free from being a passive bystander. They might not understand that video games can be hyper-violent and all online like Fortnite. There is still that kernel of misunderstanding surrounding the overall concept.

This does worry me as, while I do understand Free Guy’s central plot idea of an NPC who takes control of his life, there are going to be some people who won’t be able to completely understand the movie and may think it’s a bad movie because they can’t understand what’s happening. This may seem like a small issue and I don’t think it’ll hurt its box office numbers when it is released next year. I know Free Guy was put on my radar because of the trailer and it’s now one of my must-see films of 2020.

What I’m more concerned about is how the stuffy movie reviewers will perceive the film because they might not understand how smart the idea is. They might see it as pandering to the video game playing audience or they might think of it as some form of commercialism that’s promoting a video game that doesn’t exist. Not yet anyway.

I do hope Free Guy does manage to explain things to the viewers who have not any iota of knowledge about the online games of today but still make it engaging to the viewers who do play Grand Theft Auto, Fortnite and other video games of the type. I hope they do because, based on some of the reactions, they’re going to need some things spelled out to them.


Have you seen the Free Guy trailer? Did you understand it when you first saw it? Let me know in the comments section below!

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