A cardboard cutout of Ryan Gosling appeared in Stamp Student Union on Tuesday. His purpose was simple — to welcome attendees to SEE’s advance screening of the actor’s newest film, The Fall Guy.  

The David Leitch-directed project, which stars Gosling and Emily Blunt, is due in theaters May 3. The film follows Gosling as Colt Seavers, a former Hollywood stuntman who is forced to reenter the profession to save his ex-girlfriend’s directorial debut when its leading man goes missing. 

Students and members of the general public were invited to collect free tickets to the event. The film earned laughs from the audience on a number of occasions, specifically with a well set-up cameo in the epilogue. 

The Fall Guy has the rare distinction of being an early-summer blockbuster that isn’t part of a major franchise, despite being a loose adaptation of a 1980s television series of the same name. 

The film’s release will be the first time since 2010 that a non-Marvel film opens the summer moviegoing season around the beginning of May —excluding 2020 and 2021 when theaters hadn’t fully reopened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The film rests on the shoulders of Gosling, who navigates between action set pieces with charismatic ease. He is in peak comedic form here, building off his Oscar-nominated role in last year’s Barbie and returning to his underappreciated slapstick humor from 2016’s The Nice Guys. 

Gosling has proven his action chops, notably in Netflix’s critically disappointing The Gray Man, which saw him face off against Chris Evans in a bland remix of dull cliches. Luckily, he’s treated to a far better script here, which capitalizes on his charming demeanor and chemistry with Blunt. 

Like the rest of the supporting cast, Blunt is fun to watch and easy to cheer for, although not given as much to do. None of the film’s characters, Gosling’s included, are given much in the way of depth. Backstories are unnecessary within Leitch’s world. Instead, he opts for a charming cast and efficient pacing — a decision that pays off.

The emotional beats are there, albeit predictable, but Gosling and company are so easy to love that any serious script criticisms fall away. The film’s story, and especially some of its secondary villains, are bland. But they rarely bog down the film for long. 

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What does occasionally disappoint — quite surprisingly — is the action. For a film about stuntmen, expectations were high for Gosling’s fight and chase sequences, but they are nothing that hasn’t been done better before. 

One particular sequence that involved a garbage truck in the film’s second act appears full of CGI. But in the film’s closing credits, the filmmakers show a behind-the-scenes clip of the stunt laden with practical effects. This left the scene’s final appearance all the more baffling. 

Leitch’s last film, 2022’s Bullet Train, features inventive visuals and impressive digital cinematography. The Fall Guy suffers from a common affliction in the modern moviegoing marketplace — an overreliance on flat, smooth lighting that reduces depth and visual interest in a frame. 

These are minor complaints in a film that is an often-funny and consistently-entertaining summer blockbuster, elevated by the charisma of its performers. Hannah Waddingham and Aaron Taylor-Johnson both feature in supporting roles and are clearly having the time of their lives with the material, riffing and over-acting to their heart’s content.