Shaun’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ah geez, I had high hopes that Spielburg could turn the narrative wasteland of Ready Player One into something interesting, but instead we get a mass of CG, excusing it's obvious CGiness with the convenient fact that it's portraying a virtual world, which principally seems to exist to be freezeframed by obsessives (look out for the 'films referenced in Ready Player One' coming to Letterboxed soo... oh wait it's already up) mashed against 'real world' segments which give us a bunch of G.I Joe-tier villains and a romance subplot which exists on a 'Star Wars Prequel' level of cringe-worthiness.
See what I did there?! I referenced some other intellectual properties that you're probably familiar with! Don't you feel smart for getting the reference? Don't you think I'm awesome for making it?!
On a technical level everything's there: yes, you get to see Mechagodzilla fight a Gundam and it looks pretty great, the film however does a terrible job of convincing anyone that any of this shit matters outside of the moment; the rules of the virtual world are hazy and seem to be broken continuously- one moment we're told that characters drop all their loot when they die, and the next someone is haemorrhaging coins from a wound for comic effect, in most instances a person's avatar seems to be tied to a person themselves no matter where they log in from, but then a character appropriates an avatar by signing in from a specific place... I could go on, and on, and don't even try get me started on speculating how the economy of this system works; people can lose vast amounts of real-world worth by dying in a system in which it seems people can be attacked without consequence at any time? Really? And why the hell is no-one at the company that actually makes and runs this system interested in securing half a trillion dollars of their stock?
Anyway, 2 stars for looking decent and making sense on a narrative level (as long as your keep your perspective totally lock-step and don't think about anything outside the frame). No stars for anything else.