Cass’s review published on Letterboxd:
Overall, this movie is a popcorn Spielberg flick with no deeper meaning or depth to speak of, but some pretty colours are on the screen for 140 minutes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Wide as an ocean, deep as a puddle.
This movie is a perfect example of this quality in Hollywood movies- the visuals are gorgeous in some areas and just mediocre others. The characters are all one-note: the protagonist is a generic awkward geek guy who comes through in the end. The love interest is love interest B, who thinks she’s ugly because of a small, hard-to-see wine stain on her face and is instantly in love with the protagonist as soon as he says she’s pretty IRL. All the side characters have one character trait each and the villain is the normal CEO bad guy. I appreciate the work that went into the animation, but that’s praise for the animators and the design team. The movie itself is quite cut-and-dry rebellion against authority. We’ve seen this a million times done better and with more meaning. The fight for “freedom” in a totalitarian world has been done to death even when there’s actual thought put into the writing. But I can’t completely disregard the movie- the visuals had me, and there were a few standout moments. The Shining sequence and the final battle had me smiling and laughing a bit. The references in general were pretty much just “hey do you remember x thing from the 70’s-90’s?” Repeat every 2 seconds for the entire runtime. I especially took umbridge with the portrayal of the Iron Giant as a war machine- the whole point of that movie was to critique the trigger-happy warmongers of the 50’s. it was explicitly a pacifist movie and it’s emblematic of the entire movie’s attitude towards the references. They slam the audience with 26584060 references and no regard for the meaning or goals of the sources of those nostalgic things.