Juan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Let's start with the good things...
The visuals were amazing, seeing everything come to life was great and I don't anyone could've done a better job at this than Spielberg. The worldbuilding (completely disregarding the script) is great and doesn't feel as forced as you would think a futuristic world where everyone is playing videogames would feel.
The soundtrack was really good. It shined and helped build the world. The score was pretty standard, and there was a nice little callback to Back to the Future that I appreciated.
The acting was sub-par, but to be fair they were not given a lot to work with. Tye Sheridan does not embody the underdog hero he should. All of the time he's just... there, and the emotional parts of the movie feel incredibly forced partly because of his performance. The standout by a mile is Mark Rylance as Halliday/Anorak. He elevated every scene he was in and made the movie significantly better. Olivia Cooke also delivers.
Now, about the screenplay... I'm going to try to express my thoughts nicely. It took every single thing I liked about the book and either removed it or ruined it, and it took every single thing I didn't really like and amplified it. They made the worst possible decisions in adapting a book with incredible potential, and the script feels cramped despite the two hours and twenty minutes. The story was completely reworked and in my opinion, ruined. There is absolutely no setup and payoff for anything, and a lot of the elements used in the third act were only mentioned in a sentence of the blatantly expository first act. The climax is by far the worst part of the movie, it violates the most basic rule in elementary screenwriting, you can't just base the climax around something that has never even been referenced before. As for the character development, it is horrid. Part of the reason why the script is so bad is because there are no stakes. The only real drama revolves around one explosion that kills people that we don't give a single fuck about. Any inkling of real danger is absent after that because there is no character development. The only thing we know about anyone is that Artemis wants to make the world a better place, and we know that because she conveniently says it, not because of what she does. All the other characters are just filler with no motivations, including the protagonist. Nothing about the romance felt natural and it just made everything worse.
I really was excited for this one...