Ultimate message is that games, movies, TV shows, other forms of popular culture definitely matter, but consuming them shouldn't be more important than connecting with people, fostering friendships, finding love in the real world. The Oasis -- a symbol for various forms of online culture -- is both a blessing and a curse; it's a powerful tool, but it can also isolate people. Also promotes teamwork and perseverance, taking calculated risks, researching, practicing, and studying to become an expert/skilled in a particular field.
Positive Role Models & Representations
Many action-packed battle/fight/destruction scenes in the Oasis, a few in real life. In the Oasis, Parzival and friends must survive enemy attacks in the form of dinosaurs, King Kong, and other players targeting them with arsenals of virtual weapons (from guns and swords to grenades and world-leveling bombs). Scary re-creation of a horror film includes a literal flood of blood, ax attacks, frightening/gross zombies. Intense car chases/crashes. Characters die frequently in the Oasis (often brutally), breaking apart and turning into coins, which "zeroes out" their avatars. In the real word, an evil corporation sends assassins to kill and/or arrest people, put them in debtors' prisons, blow up their homes, pursue them in armored vehicles, and shoot at them. Gun threats. Creature from alien pops out of an avatar's stomach in a jump-scare moment.
Virtual flirting, dancing, touching, including a moment when Art3mis touches Parzival seductively (in his crotch region) and asks whether he can feel it in real life with his high-tech suit (the corresponding area of his suit glows red); he says of her "she's hot." A few big kisses. Brief innuendo about the kinds of things you can do in the Oasis; some avatars wear pretty skimpy outfits. During one of the key challenges, a naked woman gets out of a bath and approaches a character's avatar; her bare back/top of her buttocks is shown. A woman mimes pole dancing while plugged into the Oasis.
Many uses of "s--t," plus the occasional "a--hole," "bitch," "dickweed," "douche bag," "balls," "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "oh my God," "pissed," "ghetto trash," "noob," etc. And there's one momentous use of the word "f---ing."
Nonstop references to movies, video games, directors, and '80s pop culture. The movies The Shining and Back to the Future play a pivotal role, and there are glimpses/mentions of Atari, Dell, Apple, Minecraft, Firestone tires, Batman, Iron Giant, Robert Zemeckis, John Hughes films, Tab cola, Pizza Hut, and more.
Ease of Play
Empty/half-filled wine glasses in a post-office party flashback scene. An avatar has a cigar.