movie review: the adam project

It’s no secret that Netflix has been known to premiere original films and TV shows that receive wide acclaim. Notably, “tick, tick…BOOM!,” “Stranger Things” and “Bird Box” have all become major successes for Netflix and are admittedly very well-crafted pieces of modern entertainment. Netflix’s new “The Adam Project” has since joined that list with lead Ryan Reynolds helping the movie reach a deserved spot on the Netflix Top 10 streaming list.

Reynolds is no stranger to being recognized for having one of his films reach this status on Netflix. In fact, Reynolds set a new record with “The Adam Project,” becoming the only actor to have three projects make the Top 10 list which include “6 Underground” and “Red Notice.” So, what is special about his new film, and why should it receive its praise and popularity?

Released March 11, 2022, the movie stars big names like Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner and Zoe Saldaña as the supporting cast to Reynolds, while Walker Scobell co-stars as a younger portrayal of Reynolds’ character. The film retained its position in the Top 10 for a little more than a week, during which Reynolds and director Shawn Levy received acclaim for the fun, pre-summer blockbuster that had a lot to offer audiences.  This was the second film to see the team up of Reynolds and Levy, with the first being the box office success of 2021 “Free Guy.”

The plot follows a young boy named Adam Reed who meets an older variant of himself from the future who has traveled to stop a malicious dictator. Together, they go on a time-traveling adventure to save their family and the world. As time travel antics and cliches ensue, the movie has much to offer when it comes to the story and secondary characters – though it feels a bit lackluster at times in the second act.

Aside from the obvious star power packed inside this film, the heartwarming relationship between young Adam and future Adam is masterfully portrayed by both Reynolds and Scobell, with future Adam often criticizing and correcting his younger self and the latter offering hope to his cynical older self. Indisputably, this dynamic is what carries the film, especially in the emotional beats of the story.  Without spoiling later plot points, Ruffalo’s character plays a large role in his relationship with both Adams.

The way Scobell captures a younger Reynolds with such skill was a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. While some have complained that both performances are a bit cliche and too stereotypical for a Reynolds movie, there is no evidence of this, and it was instead enjoyable to watch the chemistry throughout the cast. Reynolds may play a similar character in many of his films, but there was an unexpected amount of depth here that really connected viewers to the Adams’ mission in the film.

“The Adam Project” also entertains with its gorgeous visuals. It is an extremely clean-looking film, with the special effects and editing distracting from some of the rough CGI for a few future tech shots. Rob Simonsen’s soundtrack is additionally a major win for the film, as it is seamlessly woven into the film, allowing the audience to feel the sweet, tender moments and the action-packed set pieces.

Running just under two hours, the pacing may be the biggest critique here.  As with many Netflix original movies, the premise and characters probably would have been served better justice through a television show rather a feature film, but it does its job.  A couple other nitpicks are the lackluster villain and several obvious weak points in the script.

Overall, I definitely recommend “The Adam Project” to families, especially those with older children since it may be too much for younger audiences. It is a fun, fast-paced film that leaves time for characters to show their chemistry with some great laughs and plenty of feel-good moments. I look forward to what Reynolds and Netflix do next after this much-deserved success. 

Marks is an opinion writer.

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