This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Kyle O’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Spielberg still knows how to knock a blockbuster out of the park...
READY PLAYER ONE's sheer ambition, and I'm not talking its boatload of references, is admirable. Dystopian sci-fi mixed with an endless video game world, READY PLAYER ONE's story is just massive. It's also a nice love letter to video games and gamers, and it doesn't over-indulge on nostalgia. While the film basks in its video game mayhem, it also reminds us that we can't get too sucked into these things to the point of losing touch with reality. A.K.A. The movie, despite all its eye candy, is about something and is heartfelt when it all wraps up.
Though its characters aren't the most spectacular, they are enjoyable to watch and the love story is fine enough. The villain is also pretty strong, and a lot of the supporting characters end up stealing the show. The climax was thankfully subversive, too, showing us that sometimes video games aren't about winning, but the joy of playing and finding secrets. Easter eggs, you know? For the uninitiated, the movie explains eggs and other video game jargon quite nicely.
On the whole, READY PLAYER ONE does feel like a long-lost 1980s Spielberg action epic, something he probably wouldn't have been able to make during that period. So much of that spirit is in the film, never feeling overdone or cheap. The major action setpieces are standouts, particularly a whole mission taking place in THE SHINING... Just, great stuff. Slice that off from the movie and it's near-perfection on its own.
While not a truly spectacular movie, and maybe a few clicks away from being exceptional, it succeeds entirely in the fun department.