JORDAN’s review published on Letterboxd:
I always forget that Spielberg loves his long takes. And that they never fail to impress me.
This is a very, very entertaining film. It really does have its moments. Also at other times, it has some bad moments. I think I enjoyed it overall though for the most part. It's not great, but it's a brisk and simple fun time at the movies. Especially if you see it at Grauman's Chinese Theater. Then it's not very hard to enjoy it in IMAX. The sound design during the car chase was insane!
The characters are serviceable. I think Tye Sheridan was pretty well cast as this main kid in the movie. Olivia Cooke was great as Art3mis. She has so much charm and it's clear she's got enough likability to carry this film. Their "romance" in this, if you even want to call it that, was terrible though. Early on in the movie, the main kid as his avatar, Parzival just out right states that he loves her. Even he's only known her for a few days...maybe less.
So luckily, Art3mis calls him out on this uninformed claim. Stating that he's idiot and he doesn't really know her or who she is. Just likes the idea of her. He loves her character, not her. Which I thought was great, he's going to have a little character development about not buying into the awe of the OASIS-
No it went the stupid route.
Eventually, he finds her in the real world and we learn that the Real Art3mis is actually a hideous human being because the gorgeous Olivia Cooke has a small birthmark on her face. He tells her he doesn't care and likes her for who she is. Which feels really fake and vapid and he probably learns nothing. Through the power of objectivity, the movie rewards him, her and they make out.
In the end, her avatar has the same birthmark. Because arc, I guess. I mean, I guess good for her character. For getting over her pettiness. It's so Hollywood and I hated it. Hey, Lena Waithe was pretty great as Aech. The film could have cut the other members of the good guy group and done some more interesting things with her character but oh well. The characters aren't great but they're serviceable.
I definitely feel that the first half was much better than the second half. The film really started to drag toward the end. Also the plot at times got way too easy and dumbed down. The guy figures out things way too easily sometimes and the exposition really gets tiresome after a while. Cool visuals in the OASIS however. Very neat sequences.
Overall a fun ride that will go in one ear and out the other.
Also y'all remember The Shining?
Very cool. Very cool. Very cool.
(Alright, I admit. I did laugh at a couple parts in The Shining sequence and enjoyed the humor of it.)