trey northcutt’s review published on Letterboxd:
Yes, at times it can become a game of spot the reference, but beyond that, there really is a special story here. In essence, Spielberg was the absolute perfect person to adapt this - the source material is heavily influenced by his works and fits into the "a boy and his X" storyline that Spielberg often uses. There really isn't any reason to doubt the man's directing ability anymore; the fact that he can still churn out a blockbuster like this at his age is simply a marvel. While I myself have not read the book, and I don't know how accurate this was, there is so much technical merit that is shown throughout this. I know that most people go into this thinking that most of the film is just a cartoon, but that isn't the case - there's a lot more to the real world in this that most people think. But on that though, the special effects are astounding. The world of the Oasis is flashy, colorful, inviting, and is rendered absolutely beautifully. There's even a sequence that pays homage to one of the most famous movies ever and it's integrated in this computer-generated world so flawlessly. And in IMAX 3D, it's almost as if you're in the Oasis yourself. Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke make for compelling leads, even if the latter's character development leaves much to be desired. Ben Mendelsohn is dastardly as Sorrento, even if his character falls into cliched character tropes by the end of the film. While he's not in the movie that much, Mark Rylence's Halliday provides much of the heart of the film, and I haven't seen that many people comment on it. There's a lot to be said about how this comments on nerd culture and the new VR craze, but that kind of already been talked about to death. One thing for sure that could have been improved is much of the dialogue. In spite of that though, I loved just how intricate the world seemed in this, and though the multiple references got tiresome after awhile, the Easter Egg at the end of the finish line was well worth it all.