It wouldn’t be unfair to say that up until the release of Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds was in danger of gaining a reputation for being an actor who almost exclusively starred in terrible blockbusters. Blade: Trinity and X-Men Origins: Wolverine may have made money at the box office, but nobody’s going to hold them up as the best installments in their respective franchises.
Ten years have passed since Green Lantern and Reynolds still can’t stop making fun of it, while R.I.P.D. was another one of the star’s comic book vehicles that found itself being torn apart by critics and flopping hard in theaters. Detective Pikachu and Hobbs & Shaw were solid, but he hasn’t escaped big budget duds completely after Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard disappointed and plans for Michael Bay’s $150 million Netflix epic 6 Underground to launch a multi-film series were quietly abandoned.
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However, Free Guy is set to go down a storm with audiences when it finally comes to theaters over a year behind schedule this coming Friday, having been officially certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Shawn Levy’s video game-inspired action comedy currently boasts a strong 86% score from close to 100 reviews, and with early reactions calling it the biggest surprise of the summer, it might even help resuscitate the box office after a stagnant few weeks.
It’s increasingly rare for a broad studio project to be based on a completely original concept and actually turn out to be good, so perhaps the acclaim being received by Free Guy will indicate that audiences want to see fresh premises more and more often, instead of the endless cycle of sequels, reboots, remakes and re-imaginings that dominate the marketplace on an annual basis.