Though visually spectacular, First Man will bore you silly if you are not into that moment of history.
First Man Synopsis
This 141-minute biopic details the triumphs and tribulations of American astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, as he journeys from being a grieving father to the first human to step onto the Moon. Heartbroken from losing his young daughter to a brain tumour, Armstrong devotes himself to the Space Race, quickly becoming a key figure in the developments leading up to the Apollo Program. In the late 1960s, he is selected to lead the Apollo 11 mission, the success of which would forever etch his name in human history.
I hate to say this but First Man bored me silly.
Yeah … And that’s with me being a long-time (self-proclaimed) fan of space exploration. (Hey, I can name you all the Voyager milestones, ‘kay?)
It’s Ryan Gosling’s Neil Armstrong, you see. While the performance itself could be considered as technically superior, the character depicted on screen is simply too dry and too emotionless to be likeable. At times, Gosling’s Armstrong feels almost as cold as the Moon he stepped on. I say that with all puns intended.
And while the test and flight scenes were intense, all successfully replicating the chaos that must have taken place during the actual missions, it’s only so long before you tire of seeing the astronauts’ eyes, or get dizzy from all that shakycam.
To be fair, the climatic approach to the Moon eventually compensates a little, and to finally see our cold rock in all her forbidding glory made me somewhat inclined to forgive the waiting.
Still, I seriously would have preferred more insight into the Gemini and Apollo Programs, as well as information about the first man on the moon himself. To begin with, why did the real Neil Armstrong believe so strongly in the expedition? What motivated him?
Was he just purely a patriot? Or a grieving father looking to distract himself with an out-of-the world mission?
Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t tell you much beyond Armstrong simply believing in “it.” He simply … believed in it, the same way the Moon simply hangs in our skies.
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