Oh boy.

Ready Player One is the latest offering from Steven Spielberg (you may have heard of him) and focuses on… erm… the world’s a video-game?… The government is corporations?… There’s a chosen one?…  Look, its a young adult novel. It features everything that that genre entails. Dystopian future? Check. Young team of resistance fighters? Check. Bland and uninspired white male lead? Double check.

Now. I’m a man who loves a good pop-culture reference and if I searched really deep I’m sure I could find a small part of me that enjoyed scanning every frame of this movie for a character I recognised. However, I’m also a man who likes, among other things, narrative cohesion, universes that make sense and, most importantly, not being pandered to.

While there is enjoyment in this film (by enjoyment I mostly mean Simon Pegg) it’s constantly marred. There are long stretches of this movie that solely consist of references smashing into one another. This can occasionally be entertaining in short bursts of battle scenes. But when it leaks into the dialogue it is genuinely excruciating to sit through. I’ve never watched a film between gaps in my fingers before but listening to the characters simply list references like they’re on a Twitch streamed version of Pointless nearly made me cringe into another dimension.

I found the characters, especially the lead, to be extremely unlikable. The very premise of the video-game world robs most scenes of any semblance of narrative tension. As mentioned, the universe itself makes no sense at all and despite this the plot remains as predictable as the palm reading of a mayfly.

Finally, if I had to describe it in one word, I’d say that Ready Player One is frustrating. Every time it starts to drag itself up, the nature of the source material pulls it back down. I wanted to enjoy it. I really did.

Also, it does that thing I hate where a character hides their alleged hideous deformity from others. Then it’s finally revealed to be a very attractive person with some cool eye make-up on they say is a birth mark. ‘Oh no, how will this incredibly hot person ever find anyone to love her minor and aesthetically pleasingly located scar?’ Nonsense.