Joseph Bulsa’s review published on Letterboxd:
Appreciated this film more on s second viewing. The lyrics, choreography, and supporting cast might be some of the best I've seen in any musical. I really like the group numbers with the supporting cast!
Some parts of the plot are cheesy and nonsensical, but it IS a 1960s teen drama based on a Shakespeare tragedy. One of my main issues is the casting of Natalie Wood. She's obviously not Puerto Rican, but she was a teen heart-throb and massive actress at the time. Therefore, I at least understand that casting decision even if I don't like it. (Hopefully Rachel Zegler crushes this role in the remake). My second and biggest issue is Tony. I don't know if the fault lies with Richard Beymer or Robbins/Wise or the screenwriters, but I think Tony's character is so flaccid and static that it throws off the entire film at points. Before we meet Tony, we hear Riff say that "he's got a reputation bigger than the whole west side!" But that seems unimaginable given the Tony we meet. He seems less confident and mature than either Riff or Bernardo. His height and looks are the only two things Beymer seems to have going for him. I don't know where the solution lies, but even the way they shoot Tony in the first scene with Riff doesn't help he. He's often lower than Riff in the shots and seems to second-guess himself in their conversation a lot. Maybe that's what Robbins/Wise/Beymer were going for, but it doesn't make sense to me. Maria has grown by the film's conclusion as have (seemingly) some of the game members, but Tony is a hard hero to root for or empathize with.
This film clearly contains messages which are still relevant in this decade, and I'm really excited to see the remake next year!
Oh, one last thing I liked: the transitions. Daniel Fapp's super-imposed and psychedelic transitions add a unique artistry to this artistically excellent film.
Thanks for reading! Let me know your favorite song from this film in the comments!