Ready Player One ★★★

Steven Spielberg is going to die.

Hopefully not today or tomorrow or anytime soon, but at some point in the near-ish future — after more than five decades of projecting his soul directly onto movie screens — the bearded architect who built so much of the modern world’s collective imagination will fade into its collective memory. Considering that the increasingly prolific filmmaker has released two major studio features in just the last four months, it might seem a bit premature to speculate about Spielberg’s demise (or even his retirement), but the guy is 71 years old, and not even the gods can live forever.

More to the point, Spielberg has clearly started to think about this himself, the shadow of his own mortality increasingly creeping into his body of work. While Spielberg’s sexagenarian years found him continuing to zero in on the themes that have always defined his oeuvre (particularly the value of a single human life, which he’s been searching for and celebrating with so much of his post-“Schindler’s List” filmography), recent efforts like “The Post,” “Lincoln,” and even “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” have been uncharacteristically preoccupied with the legacies that icons leave behind.

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