Written by Alex Gilston
Shawn Levy and Ryan Reynolds reunite, after the 2021 hit blockbuster Free Guy, for big-budget time travel flick, The Adam Project. The pair are proving to be a fruitful partnership with another entertaining crowd pleaser, with all encompassing set pieces and strikingly intimate moments alike. Big fans of classic 80s sci-fi adventure movies will feel a little nostalgic with The Adam Project as it evokes good chunks of what made those films so good.
Adam (Walker Scobell) is a 12 year old who, after the loss of his father, is drifting through high school and getting constantly suspended for fighting with his bullies. One night Adam finds an intruder (Ryan Reynolds) in his dad’s old garage, and slowly comes to the realisation that the intruder is him from 30 years in the future. As Adam slowly learns why his future self is in 2022 they must team up to save the world as they know it and the people they love the most.
There is always a risk in cementing your story down in time travel. It’s easy for it to get confusing, and equally so it's easy for people to nitpick whether or not any of it makes sense. The Adam Project irons out that potential problem with a fairly simplistic conversation and from that point onwards you find yourself not worrying about the technicalities and more just sitting back and enjoying the ride.
Ryan Reynolds and his characters have, over time, all blended into one. When you’re watching a new film with him in it, it's safe to assume you're here for the Ryan Reynolds show, and when it’s the same over and over again there is a longing for him to try something new. The Ryan Reynolds everyone knows, and most people love, is ever present in The Adam Project however his performance of future Adam feels a little more nuanced than usual. Maybe this is due to screenwriter Jonathan Tropper giving him some scenes with an emotional heft to actually chew on rather than it just be wall to wall Reynolds zaniness. Walker Scobell makes his “big” screen debut, but you wouldn’t think so. He manages to come toe to toe with Reynolds exuding the quick wittedness of his co-star with ease. Scobell also gets his fair share of emotive moments and they aren’t wasted on him either. It’s great to see new up and coming talent thriving and it will be great to keep an eye on where Walker Scobell pops up again.
Zoe Saldana also features, however briefly, as Laura, future Adam’s wife, to help the two Adams fight off some futuristic baddies. A set piece in the backyard of Adam’s house sees Adam and Laura go toe to toe with armoured soldiers, reducing them to an ethereal dust. This is just one of many satisfyingly choreographed action moments throughout The Adam Project, some of which are underpinned by classic songs, like Boston’s Foreplay/Longtime which plays over the film's explosive closing sequence.
Although it's clear where The Adam Project draws its inspiration from, it's at least trying to be original. One of the biggest complaints with big Hollywood films at the moment is that it’s either: an unwanted sequel, an unwanted reboot, or that it relies too heavily on nostalgia and fan service. The Shawn Levy/Ryan Reynolds duo has offered up not one but now two blockbusters that try their best to buck the trend with a film that ends up being successful in that mission and gives us something beyond the current Hollywood parameters.