Warning: the following contains spoilers for Ready Player One. don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One is overflowing with popular culture references, both retro and current. The plethora of references draws from three primary sources — movies, videos games and, of course, comic books. Much of this story takes place in a digital world called the OASIS, created by a computer genius, and “digital god” James Halliday.
As the film open Halliday is dead, and the OASIS is under attack. in his last dying act, Halliday created a contest that whoever finds the three easter eggs would be the new owner of the OASIS. Comics were a huge part of Halliday’s life, so it goes without saying that he would include them as part of the OASIS. here are a few of the ones I was able to found, but there are plenty more, that I didn’t have time to mention or I’d be here all day.
One of the earliest pop-culture nuggets in Ready Player One features the Dark Knight himself. The moment comes when the film’s protagonist, Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), describes for the audience exactly what players can do in the OASIS — which is pretty much anything, it turns out.
One of Wade’s examples is that you could even scale the side of a treacherous mountain in the dead of winter … with Batman. The Caped Crusader in question looks to have come from Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman.
At one point during the twisting, turning, treacherous race course (which includes dangers like wrecking balls and the T-rex from Jurassic Park), one racer is shown trying to maintain control of a 1966 Batmobile. Sadly, it doesn’t work, and the classic car is blown to bits.
When the protagonist, Wade, who goes by the name Parzival in the OASIS, displays his Halliday knowledge for Art3mis after the race, recounting Halliday’s favorite quote of all time.
It’s from 1978’s Superman, and is delivered by Lex Luthor, played by Gene Hackman: “Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story; others can read the ingredients on a chewing-gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The final showdown between Wade’s crew and IOI’s goons sees the whole of the OASIS pitted against the sinister company’s henchmen. Plenty of comic book-inspired avatars are present in the mix, including the latest cinematic renditions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Spawn and Batgirl
Also in that final battle, we see a lot of different avatars, too many to count, and honestly the only way we can probably get them all is to freeze frame them with the at home edition when it is released. But in this scene, they do focus on an unlikely team-up of spawn and Batgirl. Can we say buddy cop movie?
What are some of the one you found that I didn’t list? Let me know in the comments.
In theaters now, Ready Player One is produced and directed by Steven Spielberg from a script by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline. The film stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Win Morisaki, Lena Waithe, Hannah John-Kamen, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Ben Mendelsohn, TJ Miller and Ralph Ineson.