By Seth Lukas Hynes
Directed by Roland Emmerich, Midway is a severely messy war film depicting a pivotal naval battle between US and Japanese forces during World War II.
The performances are uniformly solid, the major characters are engaging and the period atmosphere is flawless. Midway is also a refreshingly mature war film, balancing the honour and camaraderie of war with the stress, fatigue and suffering.
But after the taut, harrowing first act, which depicts the bombing of Pearl Harbour, the quality plummets rapidly.
The second act drags its feet through dry intelligence gathering and social functions, even as it skips across months at a time. Toward the climax, certain characters even return to base off-screen, undercutting the urgency of their ordeal.
The third act squanders its drama, introducing plot-points that hold little to no consequence within the plot, such as the damaged Yorktown aircraft carrier and reckless pilot Dick Best’s (Ed Skrein) lung damage.
The climactic battle has plenty of thrilling moments, but the overall sequence has sub-par CGI and lacks tension due to its confusing layout and the often absurd resilience of the fighter pilot heroes (which is a cliché known as “plot armour”).
Like Danger Close from last year, Midway is a well-acted, exciting war movie with a sloppy, erratic screenplay.