Film Review: Going Back in Time with, “The Adam Project”

Film Review: Going Back in Time with, “The Adam Project”

Quick; if you could go back in time, what would you do? Though the popular answers will range from placing a bet on a sporting event to killing baby Hitler, the one thing no one comes up with is; maybe try to heal some emotional wounds. While The Adam Project– the second team up of director Shawn Levy and star Ryan Reynolds since their last hit, Free Guy– still packs the punch and wit of your typical action blockbuster, it also crosses a few roads that other films stay clear of.

After stealing a fighter jet with time travel capabilities, Adam Reed (Ryan Reynolds) finds himself injured and stuck near his childhood home. He’s already traveled back close to 20 years and needs supplies to patch himself up. Whilst rummaging around his father’s old workspace, Adam is met by his twelve year old self (portrayed by newcomer, Walker Scobell). With no one else to really turn to, he reluctantly reels in his soon-to-be teenage counterpart to aid in the search for the person he really came looking for.  Along the way, run-ins with the rest of his family are soon to follow and a strange catharsis is waiting at the end of the road for all of them.

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THE ADAM PROJECT – (L to R) Walker Scobell as Young Adam and Ryan Reynolds as Big Adam. Cr. Doane Gregory/Netflix © 2022

The Adam Project is normally the type of film that I’d groan at. And frankly, as it started, I very much did (but don’t freak out on me just yet!). I think the attempts early on to have Walker Scobell mimic the motor-mouth wit of Ryan Reynolds–while still funny–felt forced and awkward. The inevitable meeting between the two entities of the same character was bound to be another cliché and felt like it in the moment. Even when the action started in full blast, while entertaining, were filled your typical–everyone has time to talk to each other and crack jokes even though a bunch of angry future warriors are charging at them, feeling.

But as the film started to fully unfold, not only was there a lot more to like about it, it actually took swift turns into territories a lot of action features wouldn’t explore and subverted a lot of expectations.

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I would have even placed bets that one very specific plot point was going to pay off in a very specific way, and when it ended up not happening, I was shocked.

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I can’t give too many details on it for spoiler reasons, but I’m sure a lot of other people will be thinking about the same thing as I was when they finally sit down to watch the film.

There are still some things that felt a little off. As much as I love Catherine Keener, her performance felt strange and wooden. There are tons of liberties taken with physics of the final big battle. Sure, I’ll be forgiving this time because of all the other things the film does right, but it’s a mind boggling mess why some things are magnetic and others are not when things really start to fall apart. But The Adam Project works because of its heart. It can be mushy and a little melodramatic, but where the action breaks a lot of rules, the heart of the film covers every area of some real life issues. 

The Adam Project (L to R) Walker Scobell as Young Adam and Jennifer Garner as Ellie. Cr. Doane Gregory/Netflix © 2022

A lot of films, books, music–they’d all pick a single point of thematic focus and stick to it. In this case, you can argue there is an overarching point of self discovery and self healing that is the crux of the matter. Yet, that normally would be aimed at a single issue. A relationship with a mother, a relationship with a father, a relationship with a lover, etc. The Adam Project, while in the end does weigh a little heavier on a single point of focus, spreads the love to all aspects of this struggle because it realizes that someone’s own internal issues need to be healed on all fronts. This is all very cryptic of me, but I want people to discover these things on their own, in this case.

All in all, the fun Spielberg action packed adventure comes alive within The Adam Project, but it’s also quick and clever in separating itself from the rest of the pack.

Final Grade: B

Here’s the trailer of the film.

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