The Adam Project Review (Part 2): Things That Could Be Better


Tristan Medd, Staff Writer

(Continued from Part I)

Last week, I outlined the positive elements of The Adam Project.  This week, I will highlight aspects that could be better, starting with the camera work. The camera constructs a major detriment to the action scenes, however. Some action scenes, especially the last battle, tout interesting shots that track bullets in their flight path and follow light swords as they twirl through the air, but in most cases, the action is highlighted by relatively generic shots of behind the back and side views of the person/persons in action. This is detrimental, because when the action movie is based on relatively run-of-the-mill flashing science fiction weapons, inventive camera angles provide an opportunity to bring the action from merely entertaining to amazing. Granted, there is nothing bad about each shot, besides some occasional choppy filming with short, fast cuts. The main problem is that each shot is boring. If more attention had been paid to each individual shot, important moments that become instantly forgettable due to their lack of interesting dialogue or important message (speaking specifically of scenes like the second confrontation with the bullies) could be elevated to have so much more meaning. For instance, during that confrontation with the bullies, had the camera posed at an angle so that Little Adam and Big Adam were aligned with each other side by side, it might make more sense that Big Adam finally confronted the bullies for Little Adam, because he realized that in that moment they were in the same boat, as he was also being chased–it would have made a forgettable moment much  more wordlessly meaningful. 

The two biggest negatives in this movie are the villain and the ending. The lesser of the two evils here is the villain, Maya Sorian, played by Catherine Keener. The primary issue is that Maya is utterly uninteresting. Despite some mild charisma, which can be attributed to the skill of the actress, it seems as if the only motivation that she is given is that she is evil. Her goal for the entire movie is to protect the money she has already made and make even more money in the future. It feels as if the writers attempted to make Maya more interesting, as she meets and talks to her past self, but the result is that past Maya just convinces future Maya that they need to be making money and gaining power. In the beginning it seems that Maya might be a bit conflicted with a soft spot for Adam and his wife, but by the end she is holding young Adam, a child, hostage with absolutely no character deterioration. She is used specifically as a wall that the protagonists have to face, which makes the main conflict of the movie far less interesting than the battle to erase time travel and protect the future should be. No connection was formed with the villain so her eventual death feels meaningless. In addition, it never seems as though she poses a threat as the heroes constantly overcome the opposition she poses, which tends to seem pathetic for someone who supposedly has massive control over the future. 

The feeling of emptiness at the death of the villain is only one aspect of the ending that makes it largely unsatisfying. Everything from the time that the characters enter the main headquarters of the time travel company to right before the very last bit of the movie feels unsatisfactory. As previously stated, the villain is given a failed attempt at complexity, but the final battle with said villain feels less like a battle with a billionaire who wields ultimate power in order to save the flow of time and the outcome of the future and more like an unimpressive fight with a middle-aged woman and generic storm troopers in front of a “science-fictiony” background that might feel more at home in CW show and not in a major motion picture with a large budget. The end of the fight illustrates an interesting method of killing the villain, and the generic background turns into a more interesting set piece as the time travel engine breaks, but the result is a villain death that feels rushed, as well as the violent death of past Maya, whose death feels like the slaughter of a victim instead of the satisfying death of the villain that it was meant to be. The resolution of The Adam Project makes the rest of the movie’s pacing feel rushed instead, as a lot of the movie’s conflict feels somewhat unresolved, even though the scene where the two Adams play catch with their father and each resolve the different issues they had surrounding his death is nice, when they are eventually teleported back to their respective time periods it doesn’t feel like much has changed, especially since young Adam’s treatment of his mother seemed generally loving and content at the commencement of the film, with the random spikes of overt rudeness and apathy toward her feeling forced. The scene at the very end where Adam is shown first meeting his wife is a touching note to send the movie off with, but the fact that the viewer isn’t sure whether the Adam in question is future or past Adam mars it a little.

All in all, The Adam Project falls into the same pitfalls that many science fiction movies tend to, especially when they are made for streaming services: genericness. Despite an interesting core concept and some fun interactions that spark between the two leads, nothing about the movie seems especially unique, as the camerawork, special effects, and world building all leave much to be desired when it comes to crafting a singular story that is completely its own. When watching the movie, it feels as though it has been done a million times before in a million different ways, in some cases with even better action and special effects. That being said, The Adam Project is still an entertaining movie, and Ryan Reynolds is still a massively entertaining star, just without the unique memorability of movies such as Free Guy and the Deadpool movies. I would recommend this movie to anyone who has time to kill and wants an enjoyable film that won’t tax them too much emotionally and will deliver fun sci-fi antics and funny dialogue–just don’t enter into it expecting an incredibly memorable experience.