Warning: This post contains spoilers about the first half of Life. I won't spoil the rest. Although, if you see it, you will probably guess the ending halfway through.
Life, out March 24, is the year's horror-space-thriller that we all asked for (I guess?). It is about six young, attractive astronauts from around the world working together in perfect harmony aboard the International Space Shuttle. They have a very simple what-could-go-wrong mission: to see if there is life on Mars. And boy, do they find out about the life on Mars.
From the moment he enters the screen, it's clear that Ryan Reynolds' character, Rory Adams, the crew's mission specialist, is going to be the comic relief in an otherwise unfunny movie. (Although there are some cinematically rich moments that feel almost campy, thus providing a bit of lightheartedness in between bloody death scenes.) Rory heroically retrieves the samples from Mars in the first scene by putting on a space suit and physically grabbing the rover that collected them before it passes the ship, saving the entire mission (which ironically sets up some of the characters to die). The sample, which turns out to be some kind of microorganism, is groomed and pampered by one of the scientists and even given the name Calvin. At first, it's like a cute little blob — a first cousin of the adorable Flubber.
Then, about 20 minutes into the film, it kills Reynolds.
Yes, Reynolds dies not even halfway through the film — and his death is fucking gross. It's gory, disgusting, long, and brutal to watch. It made me nauseous. But more so than being queasy — at the sight of the now-evil Flubber entering Reynolds' mouth, then visibly sliding down his throat into his stomach, Alien-style, while crunching and destroying his insides — I was pissed that he was ALREADY DEAD. This is some false advertising. I don't want to see Rebecca Ferguson, as microbiologist Miranda North, until the last minutes of the film. I don't want to sit through an hour's worth of closeups on a moody and sickly Jake Gyllenhaal as David Jordan, who has been in space for 437 days! I want Reynolds and his scruff and his humor to carry me through this sci-fi film about an alien organism with no body and no brain, destroying all of life on Earth by blobbing people to death and feeding off our insides.
Reynolds is featured in every promo, has attended every press event, and even appears as one of the three faces on movie poster. The only other time we see him is at the tail end of the film, when another astronaut is trying to escape Calvin and stumbles upon Reynolds' lifeless, bloodied body wrapped in foil. I felt very cheated by this. I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you, but the biggest twist in Life is that Ryan Reynolds loses his when there's still two hours to go.