‘The Adam Project’ movie review: We’ve got a new star in Walker Scobell

Our The Adam Project movie review is a spoiler-free look at the Netflix Original film and its newest star: Walker Scobell.

I watched The Adam Project when it first hit Netflix and immediately fell in love with the entire film, from start to finish. A time-travel movie full of action and humor was always going to be my jam, but this one hit me harder than I expected.

In terms of the action, you really can’t go wrong here. There are plenty of bad guys and cool ships and interesting weapons that do interesting things. It’s a realistic sci-fi movie that plays with a not-so-distant future in a way that makes it feel wholly tangible.

Then there’s the humor. This movie is hilarious. Ryan Reynolds is in typical form, but if you’re getting tired of his Deadpool-but-not-Deadpool roles, then I think you’ll like this one. (I mean, I’m not, but maybe you are.) He’s just as funny here, but also manages to play a little bit of the straight man, too.

And it’s not just Ryan who gets the laughs. Walker Scobell is a true delight, but I’ll talk more about him later. Mark Ruffalo has a couple of laugh-out-loud moments near the end of the film, and it’s certainly worth the wait.

But what surprised me most was how much heart this movie had. It drew a lot of emotion from me, especially in the moments between Adam (both young and old) and his mom, played by Jennifer Garner. She’s a powerhouse of an actor, and I couldn’t imagine anyone else bringing as much strength and vulnerability to this role as she did.

Even though they don’t share a ton of screentime together, Ryan Reynolds and Zoe Saldana are the other half of that heart. Their chemistry is through the roof, despite the entire world crumbling around them. I promised a spoiler-free The Adam Project movie review, and that’s what I’m going to do—but suffice it to say that I was a whirlwind of emotion in the last third of the film.

The final piece of the puzzle here is the villain, Maya Sorian, played by Catherine Keener. I know her best from The 40 Year Old Virgin and The Movie That Shall Not Be Watched, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (which we totally rewatched on Prophecy Radio episode #12).

Suffice it to say that I’m not used to seeing her play a villainous role, but she does a great job of making you fear her. She’s an intelligent woman who’s willing to get her hands dirty to accomplish her goals. I loved that she wasn’t just someone pulling the strings, but she showed up to pull the trigger, too.

Okay. I’ve waited long enough. I have to admit that I wanted to review this movie back when it first came out because it was so much fun. But time got away from me, and I’ve been focusing more on my book reviews lately than my film critiques.

I figured I’d get around to it eventually, and then we got news that Walker Scobell was cast as Percy Jackson in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Rick Riordan-produced series coming to Disney+.

I could not have been happier about the casting. Walker already stole my heart in this movie, and it was the perfect introduction to him as an actor prior to landing this role. Adam and Percy are both sass masters, and I can see why Walker landed the job.

So, of course, I had to rewatch the movie following the announcement, and I’m so glad I did. It pushed me to write this The Adam Project movie review, in part to convince you to watch the film if you haven’t already, and in part to tell you that Walker Scobell is going to be a star and our perfect Percy Jackson.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on a kid—and I hope he never sees this review—but I have faith in him. The Adam Project is an ideal movie to put on his highlight reel because it shows he can do it all.

First and foremost, Walker was born with comedic timing. Not many people can face off against Ryan Reynolds and come out on top, and the list of 12-year-olds who can do that is even shorter. But Walker is both hilarious in his line delivery and his physical comedy.

In fact, Young Adam gets beat up a lot in this movie, and Walker handles it like a champ. He couldn’t have asked for a better first role, especially ahead of Percy Jackson and the Olympians—because we all know how often Percy gets knocked around.

But Walker wasn’t used as a gimmick in this movie—he’s not just there as the funny kid or the cute kid or the kid they use to raise the stakes. He has an integral role in the film, with his own plot and his own emotional journey.

And that’s where he really impressed me. The moments between Adam and his mother were hard to watch at times because you just want to take him by the shoulders and tell him to go easy on her, that she’s suffering, too. But Adam’s also wise beyond his years, and we see him school the older version of himself, reminding him that his childhood maybe wasn’t as bad as he remembers.

In the end, everything comes to fruition and each character seems to grow in their own way. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, and I truly loved the final moments of this film. The Adam Project found a way to tell a time-travel story in the simplest form possible (not always easy), while keeping the human story at the forefront of our minds along the way.

If it wasn’t obvious from this The Adam Project movie review already, I highly recommend this film for a number of reasons. If I’m being honest, though, I’ll be telling everyone to watch it for Walker Scobell’s performance ahead of his role in Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

‘The Adam Project’ is now streaming on Netflix

Like Percy Jackson? Check out our podcast, Prophecy Radio, which covers all of Rick Riordan’s projects, new and old. You can hear the hosts discuss The Adam Project in further detail on Prophecy Radio episode #29.