Poster image for Ready Player One.
Image: Warner Bros.

Steven Spielberg’s latest flick Ready Player One had its world premiere at SXSW on Sunday, and many critics are in love with what they’re calling a touching tribute to pop culture and nostalgia. However, there are those who see it less as a love letter and more as pandering to a very specific subset of fandom.

After experiencing some technical hiccups, including that time when the movie glitched (possibly a kismet moment), many audience members were eager to sing the praises of Spielberg’s latest flick. Some are calling the movie, based on the novel by Ernest Cline, a fun and entertaining callback to their beloved childhood icons, of which they said there are too many to count. Here’s a sampling of first reactions from Twitter.

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However, not everyone was in love with the film. Some critics said that the constant barrage of pop culture references didn’t detract from what they called a mediocre story and lazy worldbuilding. Others said the references weren’t given context and instead thrown around haphazardly in an attempt to pander.

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It’s also telling how some who saw the film have pointed out that they, along with most of the people attending that screening, were basically the perfect audience for the film to pander to, which does call into question whether the positive reactions will be shared among those who aren’t in the target demographic. In any case, round one goes to Spielberg. We’ll see what happens next when Ready Player One comes out March 29.

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