We sure did something to warrant two films in the space of a year starring Ryan Reynolds and directed by Shawn Levy, but what that is remains an open question.
The Adam Project arrives hot foot in the wake of Free Guy which, last summer, projected Reynolds into the virtual reality world of a plucky NPC who gains self-awareness, free to evolve into a slick action badass able to win the heart of Jodie Comer’s gamer girl. Free Guy had something of an old-school blockbuster about it, fuelled up with 21st century visual aesthetics, and though not always successful in the ambition it had, Reynolds was compelling and enjoyable in a role that, to a degree, cast him against type.
Arguably, ever since Deadpool turbocharged his career after the failure of Green Lantern and a fairly plodding cycle of comedies and action vehicles, Reynolds has understood that the best on-screen persona is one combining his natural propensity for all-American sarcasm with an ironic self-deprecation, even geeky subtext, which endears him to an audience beyond his matinee idol good looks. Levy understood this equation in Free Guy. He doesn’t quite get it with The Adam Project in the same way.
This is not as successful or interesting a film. Indeed, The Adam Project is yet another example of how the Netflix algorithm just isn’t to be trusted.
Welcome to the all new, rebooted FAILED CRITICS podcast on the WE MADE THIS podcast network!
This week, your host Steve Norman is joined by his very own Robin in Paul Field, these days chatting music on We Made This with the very successful We Buy Records podcast, who despite now having decamped post-Brexit Britain to the classical climes of Belgrade is here for plenty of main film cast about Matt Reeves’ brand new all-consuming comic-book blockbuster THE BATMAN–or as it’s known in Serbia, ‘The Betmen’.
Along the way, in News they chat about the ludicrous Film Twitter wish for Jeremy Renner; in What We’ve Been Watching, Steve has a close Encounter while Paul dodges a Moonfall. Meanwhile, in Recommendations, Paul takes The Guardian to task for a Netflix show they tore apart while Steve encourages us all to forgive Martin Freeman’s Scouse accent and try his new BBC cop show.
Plus! The Triple Bill returns, this week covering Best Recast Roles. Steve plays by the rules. Paul doesn’t. Are you at all surprised?
Join Steve and guests next time to discuss the return of kinkmeister Adrian Lyne as we rub our thighs over his new erotic thriller, DEEP WATER…
There was a moment during The Batman in which it became clear the film was a great piece of cinema.
Following an attack that almost kills him, Batman is cornered by aggressive police officers looking to blame him for the Riddler’s reign of terror before he is assisted in an escape in which he rappels up through Gotham PD headquarters, crashing through to the roof before he abseils down into the murky city below. In and of itself, this could be a sequence from any Batman film since 1989 but it was the point where it dawned on me just how well Matt Reeves’ latest take on the Caped Crusader was working.
Because, let’s be honest, everything was stacked against this. DC Comics, one or two outliers aside, have had a torrid time of it in cinematic terms since the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s towering Dark Knight trilogy a decade ago. Ben Affleck essayed a fine Bruce Wayne across two (and a bit) dreadful Zach Snyder-led movies but Batman remained in the shadow of Nolan’s modernistic take on Gotham’s corruption and Bruce’s tragic heroic myth that felt, in many respects, quite definitive. There are always fresh avenues to take with a hero who has frequently reinvented himself but where could you go after those films and it have the same scale and impact was the burning question.
Snyder’s answer was bigger, louder and universal. Reeves provides a more satisfying response with The Batman by far.