What might be sold as a sci-fi action-adventure, with Ryan Reynolds™ styled comedy, is really a tear-inducing family drama.


Director(s) Shawn Levy
Screenplay By Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin
Date Released 3/11/2022
Where To Watch Netflix
Genre(s) Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Family
Duration 1 Hour and 46 Minutes
Content Rating PG-13
Noted Cast
Adam 2050 Ryan Reynolds
Adam 2022 Walker Scobell
Louis Mark Ruffalo
Maya Catherine Keener
Ellie Jennifer Garner
Laura Zoe Saldana

Film Summary

In the year 2050, things have gone very Skynet/ Terminator. Because of that and the loss of his wife Laura, Adam tries to venture to 2018 to stop his dad, Louis, from discovering the formula for time travel. However, thanks to Louis’ financier, Maya, doing all she can to stop Adam, he crashes into 2022 and encounters his 12-year-old self. This reunion is by no means welcomed since Adam sees his 12-year-old self as the lowest he ever was. But, to complete his self-given mission, Adam will have to reconcile with his past to change the future.

Things To Note

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: Cursing (The film starts off dancing around curse words before it begins just letting them come out fully. But it isn’t gratuitous), Violence (There is some blood, and we see an open wound at the beginning of the film. However, for the most part, characters die by turning into a puff of smoke), Sexual Content (There is a hot and heavy makeout scene, but that’s about it)
  • The Adam Project doesn’t have a mid or end credit scene

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What changes after Adam does all the things he does? We know one relationship was just fated, but what about the rest of the things that happened in Adam’s life?
  2. What did Elliot do after the events at the end of the movie?
  3. How did any of what happened at the movie’s end get explained considering what happens to Maya?

Collected Quote(s)

Give yourself permission to be inadequette, then get to work.
— Elliot

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Adam 2050

Adam 2050 (Ryan Reynolds) and Adam 2022 (Walker Scobell) sitting outside the Pine Ridge motel
The Adam Project – (L to R) Ryan Reynolds as Big Adam and Walker Scobell as Young Adam. Cr. Netflix © 2022

By 2050, Adam has buried most of his feelings regarding his dad deep and regrets how he treated his mom growing up. But, with a steady career as a fighter pilot and a loving wife who is the top flyer he knows, Adam is some semblance of happy. Yes, Maya has made the world a hellscape under her command, but beyond that, he is happy.

Adam 2022

12-year-old Adam is bullied, has no friends, no potential girlfriend, and lost his dad a year and a half ago. It has been beyond devastating for his dad got him and his love for techy things. This isn’t to say his mom doesn’t try and never had a relationship with him, but it isn’t the same.

Louis

A scientist who believed the work of the future will never be finished by the one who started, Louis tried to be all in whenever possible. When he was at work, he put 100% of his focus into that, and when home, even if tired, he made sure to spend time with his family. However, the Louis of Adam 2022’s memories and that of Adam 2050’s is very different due to how they processed their trauma about his death in a car accident.

Maya

Maya is a very rich woman. Someone who has dedicated nearly her entire fortune to Louis’ work, and because of that, she sees herself as owning it to do whatever she wishes. Which includes building her wealth further and using time travel technology to dominate her industry and suppress any and all who could stand against her.

Ellie

Adam’s mom, Louis’ wife, is a borderline saint. She is sweet, tries to endure Adam’s pain, and while she does flip out on him sometimes, even drinks to ease her silent pain, she does her best considering her circumstances.

Laura

What was once a stranger for Adam became his sweetheart in his twenties and eventually his wife. But to water down who Laura is to just being Adam’s wife would play down her being the top of any class or rank she has ever been in, and in Maya’s world, being one of the most accomplished people to ever time jump.

Review

Highlights

Reynolds’ Brand Of Comedy And Walker Scobell Picking Up Reynolds’ Shtick

At this point, it is safe to say Ryan Reynolds has no problems being cast to play Ryan Reynolds in nearly every movie he is in. Which, if you are a fan of his dry, sarcastic humor, will not be a problem for you. But, to my surprise, Scobell, aka 2022 Adam, not only keeps up but matches wits with Reynolds.

The way they play off each other would make you think Scobell was a seasoned child star and not someone whose first major motion picture is this project. And while I would not say Scobell stole the show, he definitely pushes you to think that he is going to be a major player if she decides to stay in Hollywood.

Unexpected Emotional Depth

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

While you surely expected fight scenes, bickering, and special effects, what you may not have prepped for was the various emotional relationships 2050 Adam has. Whether we’re talking about his wife Laura, mother Ellie, father Louis, or himself in 2022, Reynolds pulls your heartstrings and plays them like a harp.

How? Well, let’s just say the basis comes from two major things that happen in Adam’s life around 2022. Louis dies in a car accident, which causes Adam to grow distant from his mom, who struggles to grieve since she wants to be strong for her son. Also, before Louis’ death, all Adam 2050 remembers is his dad’s commitment to work, not his commitment to being a father. Following that, 2022 Adam gets bullied a lot because of his mouth and feels weak and undesirable. 2050 Adam worked out and did all he could to leave this version of himself behind, of the ilk of S1E7 of Fantasy Island.

As for Laura? While I wouldn’t say Reynolds and Saldana need to be in a proper romance movie together ever, there is no denying their characters have a cute backstory, and seeing it play out may give you butterflies. Thus causing you to weep as 2050 Adam deals with the pain he caused his mother, remember the good times with his dad, deal with who he was when he couldn’t defend himself, and add trying to save the woman he loves to his todo list.

Low Points

Maya’s Motivation Is Absolutely Terrible And Makes Her A Lackluster Villain

Maya is next-level frustrating as a villain. You could praise, especially for women’s history month, a woman being as formidable and vicious as Maya as a lead villain – in a sci-fi movie, for that matter. But, despite all the diabolical things she is capable of and does, including by her own hands, all of that gets undercut once you learn why Maya became this evil person.

I mean this: The reason she reveals is so eye-roll-inducing that you’ll stop taking her seriously. Especially since she doesn’t delve too deep into why she feels as she does – despite the film almost universally allowing all other major characters emotional complexities.

On The Fence

The Action Scenes Were Cool But Forgettable

The action sequences are just flashy and help keep the film’s pace going. They don’t present you with the feeling any weapon could become a toy. Saldana, Reynolds, Maya, and her minions don’t necessarily have the most epic of showdowns. You get moments that are good enough but seem less about making scenes you want to watch or talk about again and again and instead are given what you would expect from a Netflix high-budget production.

Overall

Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Louis (Mark Ruffalo) talking to Adam 2022 (Walker Sobell)
The Adam Project (L to R) Mark Ruffalo as Louis Reed and Walker Scobell as Young Adam. Cr: DOANE GREGORY/NETFLIX © 2022

What takes this film down is Maya’s reason for becoming a tyrant. It’s not something that gets the kind of development you know the writers are capable of, based on Adam’s various relationships. So instead, it feels lazy and immensely disappointing considering how much The Adam Project does right.

Hence the mixed label. Like so many films, The Adam Project fumbles on making the villain not only formidable, in terms of violence they are willing to inflict, but also complex and existing beyond the hero/villain dichotomy.

Movie Directory

An old school film reel drawn by artist Dean Nelson.

On The Radar


Ratings

  • Recommended: Some of the best-seen movies we have ever watched and mentioned to friends, family, and strangers as films that need to be seen.
  • Positive (Worth Seeing): Whether you’ll have to go to the movies, download, or stream, movies of this category are worth your time and money with few, if any, qualms from us.
  • Mixed (Divisive): Due to this movie having a few quirks, of which may work for some and for others be a problem, we believe your enjoyment of this movie will depend on your taste.
  • Negative (Acquired Taste): While one or two elements kept us going until the end, unfortunately, we’re of the opinion this film never reached the potential it was marketed to have.

Special Categories/ Tags

  • Indie: By our definition, independent films are films you have to seek to find due to limited availability or lack of a marketing push.
  • Film Festival: Featured in this tag are films and shorts which were discovered thanks to various film festivals, so some of the productions may not have wide availability but still may deserve to be on your watch.
  • Shorts: Be it ten or fifteen minutes, or a half-hour, these quick teases or films get right to the point, often show the potential of filmmakers and the actors who have joined them in their journey.
  • Ending Spoilers: Trying to remember how a film ended, or want a different take on the ending, then check out the "ending spoilers" category. 
Movie Poster - The Adam Project (2022)
The Adam Project (2022) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Who Is This For?
Those who love blockbuster sci-fi action-adventures that have the potential to make you cry, laugh, maybe have the occasional moment of awe.
Highlights
Reynolds' Brand Of Comedy And Walker Scobell Picking Up Reynolds' Shtick
Unexpected Emotional Depth
Disputable
Maya's Motivation Is Absolutely Terrible And Makes Her A Lackluster Villain
The Action Scenes Were Cool But Forgettable
79


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Avatar of Amari

I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

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