“West Side Story” underwhelms audience


Niko Tavernise

Ansel Elgort as Tony and Rachel Zegler as Maria in 20th Century Studios’ WEST SIDE STORY, directed by Steven Spielberg. Photo by Niko Tavernise. © 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Layla Torres, Editor-in-Chief

As someone who has not seen the original “West Side Story” but became captivated by new musicals, I, Layla, had high expectations for the reimagined West Side Story. Apart from my recent love for musicals, I also had extremely high expectations for the movie because of its director, beloved Steven Spielberg.

West Side Story was not what I had in mind, unfortunately, and not in a good way. 

I found the plot too fast-paced with Maria and Tony’s meeting becoming a catalyst that hurried the storyline too fast. 

Additionally, there were too many problems going on that they confused the climax of the musical.

Some might argue this is good because it gives the climax even more of a burst. I, however, think it’s best if there’s one main problem so that the audience can imagine a different solution and can focus on one main idea. 

The main reason for the conflicts that branched out of the movie started with the Sharks and the Jets. But what about them?

I haven’t been able to find an answer yet. Senior Maddy Jorgensen was in agreement with this, as she “found the Sharks and Jets scenes super interesting” but wishes there was “a more definite conclusion to their ending.”

There are several pre-existing problems between the groups such as race, assertion of one’s superiority, determination of who’s toughest, disputes of territory, differences in the treatment of immigrants and commoners and, lastly, interactions with others in ways that dishonor each person’s group. 

Although the choreography, settings and songs were brilliant, the plot was too complex and ambiguous to fully enjoy the musical.