First Man – A Review

“The most dangerous mission in history.” Image source: Wikipedia

So Brad and I watched the movie First Man last night. As someone who loves everything to do with space and space travel I was really looking forward to it. I was disappointed. Which to be honest is usually the case with a Ryan Gosling movie.


From here on in there may be spoilers!

I’m going to read the book as there is no way the book can be as boring as the film. Damien Chazelle, the director, tried desperately to build the characters but fails miserably and it was often disheartening to watch Claire Foy act her little heart out and do her best with the awful script she has. Josh Singer, who adapted the book to a script, did an amazing job writing “The Post” but his adaption of this book by James R. Hansen is just awful.

Due to my love of space I already knew a fair amount about Neil Armstrong and the grief he’d gone through, not only with the loss of his daughter but with the loss of friends and family during his determination to become an astronaut. How this is portrayed in the film is awful. It got to the point where every time the scene changed and time had jumped forward I wondered which death would be the defining moment of this scene. Only by hearing their names mentioned did I know when some of them would go.

Given that this film was based on a book about Neil Armstrong I’d rather have seen more about him and his entire life than twenty minutes of a seven or eight different events.

Neil Armstrong. 1930 – 2012. One of my heroes.

Why didn’t we see anything about him getting his pilots license? This was an amazing achievement for him – he was sixteen! He soloed his first flight a month later – still sixteen! There was no mention of the fact that his application to become an astronaut was a week late. Gene Kranz barely gets a mention and he was one of Armstrongs biggest fans.  There is one scene in the film, when Armstrong completes the first ever docking with another space craft and the shit hits the fan and they start to spin. Armstrong saves the day and there is an investigation. The film hints that they’re possibly going to blame Armstrong, but what it fails to mention is how Kranz defended Armstrong very vocally and publicly. He famously said “He did what we trained him to do but we trained him wrong,” or words to that effect. The scene when Neil gets the call about Apollo 1 – there is so much more to that story! Where was that?  Why wasn’t that put in?

There was a tonne of stuff they could have left out of this film. It was great seeing the relationship Janet Armstrong had with Ed White’s wife but this film was about Armstrong so the majority of stuff between the two wives could have gone.

Gosling has the emotional range of a sieve. He made the entire space race boring and that’s quite the achievement. I’m trying to think of a Gosling film I’ve seen that he’s any good in and I’m struggling.

The entire story made Buzz Aldrin to be an unlikable twat and pretty much ignored Michael Collins.

All in all the film was boring with bad camera work, a slow and unnecessary script and poor acting from Gosling but brilliant from Foy, Clarke and Chandler.

The space race was said to be exciting and watched by an estimated 600million people around the world. This film made it feel like an every day boring event.