‘Ready Player One’ Defies Skeptics: Steven Spielberg Earns Acclaim For ‘Astonishing,’ ‘Brilliant’ New Film in First Reviews

"Never, ever underestimate Steven Spielberg," IndieWire's own Eric Kohn writes in his positive review of the director's latest blockbuster.
"Ready Player One"
"Ready Player One"

After spending the last several years directing historical dramas (“The Post,” “Lincoln”) and family adventures (“The BFG,” “Tintin”), Steven Spielberg triumphantly returns to the world of science-fiction blockbusters in “Ready Player One.” The buzz online has been incredibly skeptical in the weeks leading up to the film’s March 28 release date, with many people criticizing the movie’s nostalgia-bait marketing, but it looks like Spielberg and Warner Bros. have nothing to worry about.

“Ready Player One” world premiered at SXSW on March 11 and the first reviews and reactions are incredibly positive. IndieWire’s own Eric Kohn called the film an “astonishing science-fiction spectacle” in his B+ review, and he’s hardly the only critic blown away by Spielberg’s relentless virtual-reality adventure.

The film, based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel, is set in a future where citizens escape from the real world by entering a virtual reality known as the Oasis. Just before the Oasis’ creator dies, he announces he’s hidden an easter egg inside the VR world and whoever finds it will gain access to his billion-dollar fortune. The film follows the young Wade Watts (Tyler Sheridan) as he sets out to find the egg.

“Ready Player One” opens in theaters nationwide March 28. Check out the first reviews and reactions below.

Eric Kohn, IndieWire

This is Spielberg’s biggest crowdpleaser in years, a CGI ride that wields the technology with an eye for payoff. It’s also his most stylized movie since “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence,” though a lot more fun, with the cavalcade of visuals leaving the impression that he watched a bunch of Luc Besson movies and decided he could outdo them all. The result is an astonishing sci-fi spectacle and a relentless nostalgia trip at once.

Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Ready Player One” tells a breathless and relatively coherent story — essentially, the future of civilization is riding on the outcome of a video game — but the movie, first and foremost, is a coruscating explosion of pop-culture eye candy … It’s an accomplished and intermittently hypnotic movie. Yet you may feel like you’re occupied more than you are invested.

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