Michael Jones’s review published on Letterboxd:
Very happy that I saw this as early as I did, this is the first film I've gone in to for a while without having even an inkling of the general critical reception, I had no idea what to expect. It's the perfect film for it too, it's a visceral world of child-like wonder that allows an audience to be immersed in its world, as one may be after placing virtual reality glasses over their eyes.
The main thing to take away from this, is that you should NEVER doubt Spielberg. What looked like a future outlier in a stellar filmography has actually turned out to be an addition that could develop a fanbase and a love that lies alongside films like ET and Close Encounters. A film that, while not without its imperfections, plays with such a joyfulness and spirit, that it could become one to watch at any time, by anyone. My main complaint is one that seems trivial, but may affect this future of Spielbergian wonder, and that's how the profanity in this movie may prevent younger children from being allowed the opportunity to love this film in the way that they should be able to.
A big thing that meant that, at least on Letterboxd, and around Twitter, people assumed the worst here, was the expected over-use of pop-culture references. Now, there are some awkwardly squeezed in ones, and a couple that seem out of place, but mostly, the references seem totally in fitting with the world it creates, and they're fewer and further between than the trailer made it seem. Plus, when they're good, they're GOOD. A challenge that takes part in a certain cinematic horror movie hotel provides some of the most visually brilliant and genuinely nostalgic scenes I've ever seen. Without feeling tacked-on or manipulative, the scenes in question are what absolutely convinced me about this film.
Aside from the references, though, which some may worry would date the movie in years to come, the core of the plot is entirely timeless. There's something to be gotten, the good guy and his friends want it, but so does the bad guy and his evil corporation. There are chase scenes, fight scenes, confrontations, bad guys in the evil lair, the good guys rescuing their friends. And that's what's going to make this movie so timeless and allow it to sit right in there comfortably in Spielberg's pantheon of movie history, it's extremely fun, and so, so easy to love.