Damien Chazelle is back on the scene. Whiplash is one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen. La La Land one of the most overrated. First Man? Well, let’s get into it.
The title refers to Neil Armstrong, who we all know as the first man to walk on the moon. This is his story. And yes, I mean his story, not the story of the moon landing, though that’s a big part of the story. This looks briefly into his life as a pilot, before joining NASA, as well as the GEMINI mission and the early parts of the lunar program. We get a look into his family life, starting with the death of his young daughter, and a look at his friends at NASA, some of whom lost their lives in service of the mission.
The story is fascinating. I can’t believe that it’s taken so long for such a legend’s life to be put on screen. I loved that it not only honored him, but the others he worked with, including those that gave everything. Ryan Gosling played him well with that stoic charm we know and love him for.
However, something was just missing for me. The pacing dragged, to the point where by the time we landed on the moon, I was dozing. The moon landing is the last thing that should make you sleepy!! I get that this was a personal story, not one about the action of the missions, but there could have been a bit more vitality to it.
My biggest gripe though was the camerawork. I fully understand that it was an artistic choice, and I can appreciate that. However, the shaky cam and extreme closeups were just very difficult to watch. True, I have been dealing with some eye strain lately (getting it under control tho!) so that further contributed to my not liking it. It just really took away from the film.
Okay, so I know I prolly shouldn’t even say this, and that it’s completely unfair, but I absolutely could not help but mentally compare this to Apollo 13. Ron Howard’s masterpiece is a damn near perfect movie, and an impossible bar to live up to. First Man was never gonna get there. And that’s okay. I just wish it’d been a little closer
First Man – \m/ \m/ \m/