REVIEW: The Adam Project (2022)

The Adam Project from Shawn Levy was released on Netflix today. This fun and straightforward story seeks only to entertain its audience, and it excels at that, managing to be fun, compelling, and entertaining while still asking deep questions and leaving the audience to ponder the complicated conundrums that it presents.

At the very heart of the story is Adam, the film’s lead, and his relationship with his parents. It tackles the issues of puberty and the angst that accompanies it with how it relates to the love a young boy is capable of expressing to those he cares about. The film manages to balance this idea with the bombastic and over-the-top concepts of time travel and future technology without forgetting the heart that is the true drive for the narrative. No matter the stakes or the actions, heart is at the center of this story, and it uses that to present some thought-provoking scenarios. All this combines creates a delightful while still profoundly compelling story that will leave the audience fulfilled and with smiles on their faces.

The Adam Project follows a 12-year-old boy who is swept into a world of adventure when his future self arrives from the year 2050 to uncover a mystery that left his future broken and scarred. Together, these two Adams are hunted by the leader of the future’s time agency while they seek to discover the truth behind the disappearance of Adam’s future wife.

Despite its simplicity, this story is jam-packed with great acting, compelling writing, and incredible visual effects, combining to make a great film. At the end of the day, this is a kids’ movie and should be taken as such, but it’s a good kids’ movie that the whole family can enjoy.

The Adam Project may be simple at first glance, but it is far from shallow. Following in the footsteps of Back to the Future, The Adam Project keeps its time travel rules simple, merely using it as a tool to explore intriguing character moments and ideas.

The Adam Project

The characters are the beating heart of the narrative. The chemistry shared by the Adams, Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell, especially shines in incredible performances that mirror each other in interesting ways that lend credence to the idea that these two are indeed one and the same despite decades separating them. Additionally, the way both of the Adams develop different yet intrinsically similar relationships with their parents shows how fundamentally a grieving child without help can evolve into a bitter man who has dedicated his life to forgetting what he once was.

As Adult Adam, Ryan Reynolds portrays a deep anger toward his father masked by his customary humor, and his arc perfectly telegraphs the evolution of a broken soul that must move past events that were beyond his control and were corrupted by hindsight, ignoring the mountains of good times that truly existed within them.

The Adam Project

While showing the complexities of a father-son relationship and the sins committed on both sides, The Adam Project does not paint either party the wrong or bad for their actions. It does not condemn Mark Ruffalo’s father character for his dedication to his work. In fact, the film goes out of its way to show what a good man and good father he truly is, revealing happy memories that Ryan’s Adam had long since repressed.

The reason this relationship and positive portrayal of a father is so refreshing is that Hollywood so often paints fathers in a bad light and uses them as wellsprings of trauma and nothing beyond that. This film shows the deep love a good man can hold for his son and the masculinity that relationship can impart to the next generation. By doing so, The Adam Project sets itself apart from the rest of Hollywood, offering something new yet so traditional and so craved by the audience that any who have been disappointed by Hollywood in recent years can find enjoyment in this tale.

Besides the writing and the relationships, the CGI is mostly good, the set pieces are compelling, the action is fun, and the pace is good, leaving you feeling far more fulfilled than you should after just an hour and forty-five minutes.

The Adam Project

Despite this review being mostly positive, there are a few minor issues with The Adam Project that bear noting. There is quite a bit of clunky exposition masked with comedy and a few lines that are quite cheesy. There’s also some shoddy CGI, especially some lackluster de-aging technology. Beyond that, the film’s biggest issue comes from too little Zoe Zaldana, particularly because her relationship with Adam is his initial motivation to undertake his mission. However, we see so little of this relationship that his motivations feel quite empty. More Zoe is always a good thing. Overall, none of these moments or issues detracted from the enjoyment of or immersion in the film.

Walker Scobell plays young Ryan Reynolds to perfection while still carving out a unique aspect to his character to distinguish the two Adams. It appears that Walker studied Ryan’s mannerisms and quirks because there are even subtle choices he makes that reflect Ryan. He makes the audiences believe that he could be Ryan as a child; without that, the whole film would have been broken, as their chemistry is the linchpin that keeps it together.

The Adam Project

Again, Zoe is in the movie too little for the audience to get an idea of her character or relationships. Zoe is quite good with what she’s given, but without more time spent with her, she comes across as a little empty and shallow.

Say what you want about Mark Ruffalo, but he is a good actor. Mark’s moral compass and his love for his son conflict with each other throughout The Adam Project, creating an interesting conundrum for him to overcome and making the audience understand the war between father and scientist waging within him. For a man who values his brain so much, it’s intriguing to see that brain go to battle against his heart. Mark brought his A-game, melding perfectly with the chemistry that the two Adams share.

The rest of the supporting cast delivers some good performances and some really empty ones. Sorian is one of the weakest parts of the movie, not because of acting or execution but writing. She is a generic villain used to further the plot and not much else. Jennifer Garner’s mom character is well-acted and has compelling chemistry with her sons. However, there is so little of her that the writing doesn’t have much time to develop her more than as a generic struggling single mom. The rest of the cast are empty clichés of mostly bullies that the film requires, yet not exceptional beyond that.

The Adam Project

Ryan Reynolds is still very much Ryan Reynolds, not deviating much from his established performances. Despite the cliched nature of Ryan’s acting in recent years, he still adds an angry edge to this character not usually seen from him. He might be nearly the same character he always plays, but it works well for this film, making him a welcome addition to the cast.

The Adam Project is an exciting, compelling, and heartfelt film, marrying all the best parts of its theme with its concepts to make a compelling narrative for the whole family to enjoy.

The Adam Project

Plot - 7.5
Acting - 7.5
Direction/Editing - 7.5
Music/Sound - 7
Themes - 8



The Adam Project is an exciting, compelling, and heartfelt film, marrying all the best parts of its theme with its concepts to make a compelling narrative for the whole family to enjoy.

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