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Film / The Adam Project

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How can you save the future without facing your past?

Time travel exists. You just don’t know it yet.

The Adam Project is a Science Fiction dramady film directed by Shawn Levy and produced by and starring Ryan Reynolds in their second collaboration following Free Guy. It was released on Netflix on March 11, 2022.

The film follows Adam Reed (Walker Scobell), a troubled young boy still trying to cope with the death of his scientist father, Louis (Mark Ruffalo). Things change, however, when his time traveling future self (Reynolds) crash lands in the present day from the year 2050. Together, the two must travel through time and stop a mysterious threat to the future.

The film also stars Zoe Saldaña, Jennifer Garner, and Catherine Keener. The teaser can be viewed here and the trailer here, while a clip from the film is available here.


  • Actor Allusion:
    • When Sorian first sics her goons on the two Adams, Young Adam glances at his older self's Mag-Cyl and quips "That's a lightsaber, dude" which is a line lifted from Free Guy.
    • During the climax, young Adam gets to do a Three-Point Landing and gleefully whispers "superhero landing!"
    • The box containing the Reed family's sporting items has Deadpool and Hulk stickers.
  • Alphabet Architecture: The Sorian building forms an S when viewed from above.
  • Ambiguous Situation: At the end it’s not clear how much of his adventures the Adam in the new timeline remembers. It’s stated earlier in the film that his memories would try to reconcile themselves, and Young Adam states that he can feel something happening after the climax, but he does remember to give his mother a hug.
  • Armor Is Useless: It's understandable that the future assault rifles cuts through the soldiers' armor — they're Magnetic Weapons with armor-piercing rounds. However the armor also doesn't protect against Laura shooting them with a modern FN rifle or even Future Adam punching the soldiers unconscious with his bare hands.
  • Battle Couple: Future Adam and his love interest Laura fight a mob of enemies together when they reunite.
  • Bad Future: Future Adam does not have many kind things to say about his time period.
  • Big Bad: Maya Sorian. At least the future version.
  • Blunt "No": Young Adam cops one of these when he introduces himself to a girl Ferris Bueller style while being chased by bullies.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Defied, as future Adam points out that getting behind his dad won't help because armor-piercing bullets will go straight through anyway. Though the steel cores of those bullets do come in handy very shortly after.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: It's a Ryan Reynolds film, so naturally this is all over the place.
    Louis: watching lab collapsing We should run?
    Future Adam: Yeah.
  • Casting Gag: Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner play Adam's parents, having previously played love interests in 13 Going on 30 (another film about a child getting to see their future).
  • Cool Plane: The future Adam has a high tech fighter jet that doubles as his time machine and has Invisibility Cloak plus Deflector Shield. Sorian does too.
  • Cool Sword: Future Adam has a double sided "laser sword" called the Mag-Cyl which can deflect bullets and generate a Shockwave Stomp .
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Maya is the CEO of Sorian Industries.
  • Crapsack World: 2050 is described as the opening of The Terminator on its good days. Part of the reason for that may be that Maya Sorian had her younger self invest in companies that aren’t known for being environmentally friendly.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Laura's cabin has the roads rigged with explosives and a sizable arsenal of modern assault rifles, ammo, Semtex and grenades (in addition to her own rail gun from the future). All this to prepare for the possibility of Adam coming to rescue her and Maya attempting to kill her.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The death of his father gradually leaves Adam becoming more and more bitter, until his adult self is an outright cynic.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Adam, both past and future, enabling them to share a nice back-and-forth. Given who he's played by, it's not remotely surprising.
    Past Adam: Wait, wait, wait, you were shot?!
    Future Adam: Yeah, no, actually, no. No. I was stabbed. With a bullet. What do you think, you moron?!
    Future Adam: Stay cool. You can trust me.
    Past Adam: Easy for you to say. I'm the one who winds up in a therapist's office telling 'em about where the bad man touched me.
    Future Adam: Oh, god, that's where you go? Immediately? You are dark, man.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Past Adam attempts to fight off Christos using his future self's weapon, with the moment being set up like a Big Damn Heroes moment. Of course, being a weak 12-year-old kid who could barely handle people his own size, he realistically doesn't stand a chance against a fully grown trained soldier; thus, he gets taken out in one blow by Christos.
  • Disappeared Dad: Louis died sometime before the events of the movie; it’s not until 2018 that he appears.
  • Doom Troops: Maya's forces. Wearing all black? Check. Heavily armored? Check. Masked to hide their humanity? Check. Slightly Distorted Voices? Check. Dreaded? Despite their foes' mookish buffoonery, Adam and Laura do think of them as a real threat — heck the couple used to be part of that group.
  • Double Weapon: Future Adam's Cool Sword.
  • The Dragon: Christos is Maya’s personal lieutenant.
  • Dual Wielding: Christos used this in one scene.
  • Dumb Muscle: Young Adam likes to snark that Adult Adam traded brains for muscles, something he calls "a shit deal".
  • Faceless Goons: Sorian has a small army of these to deal with Adam.
  • The Fatalist: Louis believes that time travel must never be used to alter the past, regardless of the tragedies it might avert. He repeatedly refuses to let the Adams tell him how he died and instead apologizes that he won't be there for them in the future.
  • For the Evulz: Adam’s colleague Christos and the bullies of his younger selves, Ray and Chuck are the classic “purely bad” villains who like to pick on Adam simply because they can. They are not given a Freudian Excuse for their actions.
  • Future Badass: Adam’s future self is a capable fighter and pilot.
  • Future Me Scares Me: The Maya from 2018 isn’t nearly as bloodthirsty as her future self.
  • Genre Throwback: The film has been described as one to '80s science fiction.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: When Laura saves both Adams from Sorian's goons, she fights them off by shooting at them, while her lover Future Adam uses his Mag-Cyl staff on them.
  • Help Yourself in the Future: The adult Adam is forced to work with his younger self to complete his mission in the past.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Laura chooses to stay behind and distract Sorian and her goons while the Adams make it to the time machine. She does not survive the encounter.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Future Sorian trying to gun down Adam's father didn't work as expected, the powerful magnetic accelerator caught the steel-core bullet and redirected it right into Past Maya — killing her and negating her world-conquering plans for the future.
  • I Hate Past Me: Future Adam is irritated with his past self's constant questioning, seeming inability to understand the word "classified", the frequency with which his past self rifles through his personal things, and admits that his younger self has "a very punchable face" and is "abnormally small for a twelve-year-old". His biggest issue however, is the poor way his younger self treated their mother, something he said still makes him sick.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Future Adam accidentally calls Past Adam by name, which Past Adam immediately twigs to. Future Adam tries to bluster through by throwing out even more personal info, but Past Adam works it out.
  • Insistent Terminology: No, Past Adam, the laser sword that your future self brought with him is not a lightsaber.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • In the new timeline, Adam and Laura are still able to meet more or less the same way they did in the original.
    • The ripple effect from the erasure of time travel wasn't enough to knock Louis off the path that lead to his death. Either that or Laura's theory about the "echoes" is correct, which would also explain the above example.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The Time Jets and Maya's security teams all have stealth technology making them invisible.
  • Magnetic Weapons: With the future being so heavily influenced by a university magnetic accelerator — it's no wonder there's a boom in magnetically-based weaponry. Those future rifles shooting the glowing blue bolts aren't lasers. They're magnetic accelerators using steel-core bullets (though the pistols are just regular ballistic weapons but more futuristic-looking) plus Adam's "laser sword"/staff weapon is called a Mag-Cyl and has various electromagnetic abilities.
  • MegaCorp: By 2050, Maya Sorian is so rich and powerful that her name emblazons almost every product imaginable, including all the futuristic weapons used in the film.
  • Misery Builds Character: Future Adam sets Past Adam up to get beat in another fight and then tells him that losing is important, because it takes constantly getting beaten down to build him up into a future badass.
  • No Body Left Behind: Anyone killed outside of their original time period disintegrates into glowing particles. Along with anyone whose past self is killed.
  • No, Except Yes: This exchange:
    Past Adam: You’re me?
    Future Adam: That’s classified. But yes. I was.
  • Noodle Incident: Future Adam makes reference to an incident in college that resulted in arrest and expulsion, but doesn't provide Past Adam with any more details.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sorian gets a major one when she accidentally shoots and kills her past self with a bullet meant for Adam's father.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Adam's plane is DNA locked to him to the point of Awesome, but Impractical — just from being injured, the time jet rejects the owner as having compromised DNA so Future Adam needed Young Adam just to open the jet. It does make a fridge logic sort of sense; it's an anti-theft system in case the pilot were being forced to take off or give someone else access to the tech.
  • Parents as People: As Ellie points out to Louis, when he's spending time with her and Adam he devotes all his time to them but when he's focusing on work he puts in the same amount of effort which means he's not around as much as he could be. As a consequence of using his anger to deal with his father's death, Future Adam forgets all the times Louis had been there for him and sees him as The Workaholic until Past Adam reminds him of how much Louis cares for them.
  • Pass the Popcorn: When Future Adam and Laura start making out in front of him, Adam just stares and takes a big bite out of his carrot.
  • The Power of Love: Laura tries to reassure Future Adam by saying that their love is so great it will overcome any changes that happen to the timeline. The ending shows that she was right.
  • Pre Asskicking Oneliner: Past Adam delivers one, but the moment gets subverted.
    Past Adam: Ever had your ass kicked by a 12-year-old nerd with an inhaler? [Strikes pose] Supper time, Spanky!
  • Precision F-Strike: Not explicitly said out loud but Young Adam can be seen mouthing “What the fuck?” when Laura tells him to eat a carrot.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Laura, who was previously thought to have been killed by Maya in 2018, winds up still being alive in 2022, much to Adam's surprise. She unfortunately ends up getting Killed Off for Real by Maya not too long after this was revealed,but she lives in the timeline created after time travel is destroyed.
  • Ret-Gone: Future Maya erases herself from history when a bullet meant for Louis winds up hitting her younger self.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Future Adam remembers Louis as being a workaholic who never had time for family. Past Adam corrects him, saying that Louis always made time for them and would come out and play catch no matter how tired he was. Past Adam speculates that being angry at Louis was easier than grieving him, so he gradually forgot the good things.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Future Adam’s mission is to prevent time travel from being invented, thus stopping the Bad Future he's stuck in.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Walker Scobell as young Adam is able to go toe to toe with master snarker Ryan Reynolds as older Adam.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Future Adam has a conversation about child-rearing with Ellie in a bar. At the end, he reassures her that her son loves her "more than he knows"; almost word for word Past Adam earlier telling her he loves her "more than I know". It takes a moment to sink in before she runs outside to look for Future Adam, but he's already gone.
  • Spiritual Successor: The film has been described as a throwback to '80s science fiction.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • Past Adam notes that the stranger knew how to get into his dad's garage and how to close the fridge, as well as how to time his breathing. They also have the same twelve stitches under their chins and they're both wearing the same watch.
    • Laura reveals that a timeship returned from 2018, yet there was no record of anyone being sent back to 2018, meaning that someone had changed the future.
  • Take Our Word for It: Outside of one scene in orbit, we never see anything of the 2050’s. At most we get Future Adam and Laura’s descriptions of it as being a Crapsack World worse than the Bad Future from The Terminator and hints that the ecosystem is in dire shape.
  • Techno Babble: Future Adam spouts off a string of techno babble to explain how his time jet is damaged and what he's going to do to fix it.
  • Temporal Suicide: In the climax, Sorian accidentally does this. She aimed for Adam's father, but didn't account for the bungled reactor drawing the steel-cored bullet towards it, with her past self in its path.
  • Time Travel: The plot revolves around a young boy meeting his future self.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Past Sorian still shows concerns about the morality of the investments that made her rich and the uses of time travel technology. Future Sorian is much more callous and dismissive of the damage she's caused because in the end it let her win. When Future Sorian tries to convince her past self to shoot Louis, Past Sorian refuses.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: For Young Adam at least, when his future self takes him from 2022 to 2018.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Downplayed with Young Adam. He's still very much a child and gets quite giddy at the prospect at meeting his future self, but he does have his moments of wisdom and maturity that can surprise even his future self such as realizing that future Adam hates his dad not because he did anything worthy of hatred, but because he prefers to use anger as a way to deal with the grief of his dad's death.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Sorian has young Adam held at gunpoint, threatening to kill him and Ret-Gone adult Adam.
  • Wunza Plot: One’s a cynical, wise-cracking fighter pilot and time traveler from a Bad Future. The other is his bullied, asthmatic twelve-year old self. They fight a Corrupt Corporate Executive and her Faceless Goons.
  • You Already Changed the Past: The future Adam states that in his timeline, Maya Sorian has already used time travel to give herself information to make her incredibly rich and powerful.
  • Zip Me Up: Adam does this for his mom Ellie Reed right before her date.