I was very apprehensive of seeing the new movie version of "West Side Story" as I saw the original 1957 Broadway production 7 times--don't know how many times I have seen the 1961 movie--plus how many remakes can you say are even as good as the original let alone better but I'm just a 'Broadway baby' so I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would completely surprise me. It did surprise me even possibly more than when I saw "West Side Story" the first time on stage or on film.
Initially I compared what I was seeing on screen in the 2021 version to what I saw in the 1961 version but that was thrown out the window when I saw the apartment buildings that were torn down to rebuild the area as the Lincoln Center shoving families out of their homes. Summing up WSS/2021 is a more realistic look at New York City in the 1950s including the people that inhabited Manhattan.
There are many differences between the two movies but none are shocking, jarring or off-putting and only 2 may be called 'spoilers'. Some minor examples are shown here https://www.imdb.com/video/vi1469563673?ref_=tt_eds_center-3_ecw_s4s_westside_cta&listId=ls025720609 not including any spoilers.
I was as moved by this version as I was by the first movie and any live production I have seen. To revive my memory and see the differences I plan to watch WSS/1961 on Prime Video tonight.
It would not surprise me to see the Spielberg version receive as many Oscar nominations as the Robert Wise/Jerome Robbins did if not an extra one with Rita Moreno and Ariana DeBose both vying for best supporting actress.
The 2021 "West Side Story" should be seen by anyone who hasn't seen a stage version or 1961 film version plus anyone who has seen either or both of the previous versions!