Movie Review: ‘The Adam Project’ (2022)

Director Shawn Levy (Free Guy) and star Ryan Reynolds (Free Guy, Deadpool) reunite for Netflix’s The Adam Project, but is this feel-good sci-fi adventure worth your time?

The Adam Project might not have appeared on many “most anticipated movies of the year” lists, but it’s a film that I’ve been particularly excited about since Netflix announced that Free Guy director Shawn Levy had signed-on to helm the project. For those that might not be aware, Levy is responsible for some of the most exciting and heartwarming sci-fi/adventure movies of the latest few years, including films like Free Guy (one of my favourites from last year) and Real Steel, as well as episodes of Stranger Things. I was lucky enough to watch the film a little bit early, and I’m happy to report that The Adam Project is an outrageously fun, fast paced, action-packed and surprisingly heartfelt science-fiction adventure, that deserves a spot amongst some of the best blockbusters we’ve had so far in 2022.


The best way for me to describe The Adam Project, without any spoilers for the overall narrative, is to say that Shawn Levy has crafted a movie that we rarely see from Hollywood these days. Levy and screenwriters Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin, were clearly inspired by classic Amblin movies like Back To The Future and E.T., and for the the most part the filmmaker has done a wonderful job of bringing that Amblin-esque sense of wonder and warmth to this nostalgia fuelled sci-fi adventure. While The Adam Project has some flaws, some of which I’ll delve into below, there’s no denying that everyone involved ultimately succeeded in giving audiences a heartfelt, action-packed, feel-good movie – which was clearly the primary goal of the film.


With A-list actors like Ryan Reynolds, Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner, The Adam Project has one of Netflix’s most impressive line-ups to date. I’ll admit that I’m always a little bit cautious when I see a new Ryan Reynolds movie on the schedule, as I often find his performances to be somewhat one note – with the actor doing the same thing over and over again in different movies. While Reynolds offers a familiar performance here, portraying a character that feels not too far away from Deadpool and Guy from Free Guy, it’s impossible to walk away from this movie having not enjoyed what Reynolds had to offer.


Zoe Saldana, who is easily one of the biggest and best actors in Hollywood at the moment, is given very little to do in The Adam Project. While the actress does her very best to give the audience an authentic and memorable character, she is ultimately sacrificed for more interesting elements of the story. Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, who portray Adam’s parents in the movie, are given a limited amount of screen time, but both actors deliver noteworthy and outrageously memorable performances. Mark Ruffalo in particular delivers one of the best performances in the film with only a handful of scenes. When it comes to the performances in The Adam Project, the real star of the show is Walker Scobell. The young actor, who was clearly instructed to deliver his best Ryan Reynolds impression, steals almost every scene that he’s in and offers a remarkably touching and heartfelt performance.


The only thing stopping The Adam Project from being a truly great sci-fi adventure is the plot, which can be at times overly repetitive and too fast-paced. While the heartfelt message and stunning action-sequences are more than enough to distract from the weaker story, The Adam Project would have benefitted from a slightly longer runtime. This would give the film time to breathe and Shawn Levy would have had the opportunity to spend more time in the slower moments of the movie – which are often rushed over to get to the next sequence.


Netflix’s The Adam Project is a thrilling, action-packed time-travel adventure, which is jam-packed with heart and humour. Director Shawn Levy clearly set-out to create a throwback to classic Amblin movies like E.T. and Back To The Future – and he ultimately succeeded in that goal. All in all, the Adam Project is exactly what we would want to see in a time-travel movie from the guy that made Free Guy and Real Steel.

Rating: 4/5

About The Adam Project

Directed By: Shawn Levy

Starring: Ryan Reynolds (Big Adam), Mark Ruffalo (Louis Reed), Jennifer Garner (Ellie Reed), Walker Scobell (Young Adam), with Catherine Keener (Maya Sorian), and Zoe Saldaña (Laura)


Plot: A time-traveling pilot teams up with his younger self and his late father to come to terms with his past while saving the future.


Thank you to Netflix for providing The Blog That Must Not Be Named with an early screener for The Adam Project.


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