Less than a month ago I started messing with Blazor, the WASM front-end framework bits shipping with ASP.NET, and after going a little deeper, I was cautiously impressed. Now I'm closer to genuinely impressed.
Back in the day of course, we used server-side technology for everything and liked it. Then we got sassy and did more stuff in the browser itself with jQuery. Then we all had so much bandwidth that server-side tech was plenty fast enough, but we went down the single-page-app route anyway. (Oh, somewhere in there, Flash and Silverlight died, too.) Before you knew it, we started using command line tools to seed a project and it pulled literally hundreds of packages down as dependencies. POP Forums, which is pretty light in terms of front-end tech (it uses Vue.js for the admin, SignalR for websockets, TinyMCE for text editing, and then dev dependencies for relatively simple minifying and transpiling of what little script there is), pulls about 433 packages down from npm, about 44MB, to build what results in about 38K of scripts and 7K of CSS.
I don't understand why everyone is still OK with this. It's like a house of cards when some random "package" that's actually 10 lines of code goes dark.
Anyway, I sucked it up and did a little Angular for a job like four years ago. I did some "hello world" in React. I really embraced Vue.js for the forum app in the relatively simple admin, and it requires no packages, just the library. So it is in fact possible to strip it down and not have all the dependencies to an extent. I've still not been crazy about the development environments for it all, though VS Code made life a lot better for sure. As a manager, I've seen how misuse of these frameworks can easily cause performance problems, and if you have to manage a lot of state, they can get sluggish.
To be clear, I've never been a big fan of any UI technology. Sure, I've been getting along with HTML and CSS for 20-something years, but the various technologies like Windows Forms, Java UI's, all of the XAML-based stuff, etc., have not been great.