And does it matter? So many existential questions! You can read about some of them in my 4/5 review of Free Guy here, or see below for what happens in the movie.
“I’m just a love letter to you and somewhere out there is the author.” So says Guy — who is now actually sentient AI — to Molotov Girl in his new home, a new game created by Millie from the code Antoine stole from her and Keys.
But let us go back… Guy is an NPC, a non playing character in Free City, coded into the game to repeat the same actions over and over, while gamers play the actual game with their sunglasses-wearing avatars around him, moving up the levels.
He doesn’t know he doesn’t exist, but he knows there is something different about the characters with sunglasses.
Buried in the code for Free City is the stolen code for Life Itself, the calm, happy game created by two developers, Millie, and coding wunderkind Keys. Keys now works for Antoine, and has signed an NDA which prevents him taking to Millie — who keeps contacting him for help finding evidence for a lawsuit she is launching against Antoine. Millie repeatedly plays the game as an avatar called Molotov Girl to look for their code, and as the story unfolds Guy and Molotov Girl find more and more evidence of Antoine’s theft.
One day Guy sees Molotov Girl in the street in Free City, and falls for her. Eventually she tells him to start working his way up the game’s levels by being a hero, which he does. Gamers around the world are increasingly intrigued by Guy, known by then as Blue Shirt Guy because of his outfit. They, and the coders at Soonami, the company behinds the game, assume a hacker is behind him when actually he is the first example of a sentient AI.
Guy is coming to life within the game but he is not the only NPC in Free City learning to be alive: the barista who has been serving Guy the same coffee each morning has taught herself to make a cappuccino after he stunned everyone one morning by requesting one.
The launch date for Free City 2 is looming. Free City is shutting down in 48 hours, where Antoine launches the sequel. He has promised gamers it will build on the old world, but it won’t — so when Free City 2 launches, Guy and his friends will disappear forever.
Millie / Molotov Girl has fallen for Guy, and now has to inform him that he’s not real so she can help him save his reality and his friends. Guy is devastated, though after a visit to his friend Buddy’s house realises real life is in our relationships.
Antoine wants the increasingly-popular Guy gone, and makes Keys’ friend and fellow Soonami employee Mouser reboot the game. When it comes back online, Guy has forgotten everything. Keys tells Millie that Guy is based on Lovelorn, a character he built in Life Itself. Lovelorn has been coded to be in love with a girl, based on Millie. Seeing Millie as Molotov Girl in Free City has triggered something in Guy’s code, making him come alive. Keys is sure Millie can make Guy remember again.
Molotov Girl kisses Guy and he remembers, including glimpses of Life Itself in his apartment: Antoine had wiped the images from the game but not reflections of them, which Guy has seen. Molotov Girl explains his reality will now end in 24 hours. He gathers other NPCs together and tells them that rather than be spectators in their world, they can be free across the water if they fight together. (When Guy watched the video clip he stole from the game for Millie – more evidence that Antoine had stolen her code — he realised he had seen the island in the clip, off the Southern Shore of Free City.)
Guy is heading to the Southern Shore, the only escape route to the free island.
Keys confronts Antoine in his office, telling him some things matter more than numbers (Antoine is obsessed with sales figures). Mouser is told by Antoine to take all the players out of the game, and Molotov Girl varnishes.
Keys, who is being kicked out of the Soonami building with all his belongings in a box, is building a bridge within the game as an escape route to the island.
At Antoine’s insistence, a half-finished character, Dude, is uploaded into the game to stop Guy escaping. Dude is the size of the Hulk but with the face of Guy, and impossibly dim. He fights Guy while players arounds the world urge Guy to fight back. Suddenly Guy develops a giant Hulk arm, and Captain America’s shield (cut to a startled Chris Evans watching on his phone in a cafe). There’s even a lightsaber, with something purple and sparkling on the end which I thought was from My Little Pony but according to my 12 year old is from Fortnite.
Guy manages to put his glasses on Dude, who can now see “shiny things” and dances off. Guy and Buddy start to run across the bridge, which is still building as Keys drops the code into the game.
Antoine heads down to the Soonami server room with an axe, and starts destroying the game’s servers. He admits to Mouser that he stole Millie and Keys’ code for Free City.
The world within the game is now collapsing. Buddy and Guy race forwards as the bridge disintegrates behind them. Buddy is stuck behind Guy when a gap appears in the bridge between them. He tells Guy it’s been the best day of his life and to keep going forward, then disappears as he and the bridge disintegrate. The whole world is watching Guy trying to outrun Antoine’s destruction of his servers. Guy leaps from the bridge into the sky and lands on the island, while the NPCs watching from Free City cheer.
In the real world, Millie confronts Antoine in the server room as he threatens to destroy the last server. She tells him all she wants is what is left of Free City to build her own world and Antoine agrees.
It then moves to the near future, where her new game is building up fans, watching Guy and others just living their lives. Molotov Girl tells Guy she can’t live in the game forever. He tells her that he loves her but that he’s also a love letter to her, and somewhere out there is the author. The woman of Guy’s dreams is actually the woman of Keys’ dreams, as he wrote the code.
Millie then realises that Guy / Lovelorn being based on Keys means that he loves her — and rushes out to the coffee shop where Keys had said he was going. Her sees her and smiles, before they embrace in the street.
Dude and Guy are walking in their new city. Buddy reappears across the road, Guy sees him, and the two also meet in the middle of the road to hug.
Note: There’s no end or mid-credits scene.
That’s it! And remember Guys, don’t have a good day — have a great day.