Ready Player One is a frenetic throwback to those classic family-friendly action adventure spectacles of yore. Here Steven Spielberg exhibits his mastery of the blockbuster (a film form he helped create) by elevating the source material through sheer craft and visual awe.
The film's nostalgia pulses not only through its (surprisingly restrained) pop culture references but also via its storytelling. This works as a double-edged sword though as even if its narrative delivers the earnest, wide-eyed entertainment we have sorely missed in blockbusters, characters in the film feel antiquated, lacking nuances. Also, story decisions fall under mere wish fulfillment while their stakes don't carry enough gravity to be felt (e.g., convenient love story, caricaturish and surprisingly incompetent villains).
At the end of the day, even though I find it troubling how the film advocates escapism instead of confronting problems of the real-world head on, I would be lying if I denied the amount of crowd-pleasing fun the film delivers.