While I do own the book I haven’t read it yet. It was bought for me as a present so I do plan to read it at some point, probably after I finally get around to reading Turtles All The Ways Down. During the build up to this film’s release I’ve heard both good and bad things about the book and figured rather than try and rush read it I’d watch the film first and avoid any book bias.
It’s a fun movie. It’s not great and the plot isn’t without its problems but as a movie about an adventure through a pop culture themed puzzle quest it’s enjoyable. From what I’ve heard several improvements have been made to the contents of the book while other details have had to be downgraded due to copyright limitations and the difference of mediums.
As far as the references themselves go most are just neat visual references, they look cool but don’t really make much good use of the abilities of the characters. It really is just like VRChat only with less chibi versions of Knuckles the Echidna showing up quoting lines from Who Killed Captain Alex. There are some abilities that get shown off like a Tracer using her blink ability and a Sonic using a homing attack but mostly abilities are used by the characters with unique avatars. I do think the Iron Giant is a poor substitute for Ultra Man but the Gundam still makes the giant robot fight near the end pretty cool.
The animation is pretty cool but I really wish all the locations weren’t so dark (with the most well lit in-game set being a recreation of The Shining). I’ve seen reviews praising and criticizing the movie and in a typical me fashion my opinion falls somewhere in the middle, I enjoyed it but still agree with a lot of the criticisms I’ve read. Will you enjoy this? Maybe, just don’t go in expecting the next Spielberg classic or something along the lines of Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Wreck-It Ralph. It’s just a fun adventure and I’m fine with that.