Cast: Ed Skeirn, Patrick Wilson, Luke Wilson, Aaron Eckhart
Director: Roland Emmerich
Well, it looks like Roland Emmerich is back for another super-saturated, underwhelming action blockbuster that feels cheap, uninspired, and unnecessary. There’s a legitimate argument to be made that Emmerich has never directed a good movie even those his profits don’t seem to match his quality. Midway is not going to change anyone’s minds on Emmerich as he once again directs a mediocre, explosion-filled war movie just in time for Veteran’s Day. Not necessarily a bad movie, but Midway is the same type of processed action that audiences will go see so they can feign patriotism and believe they are learning something factual about real events.
The film takes place after the events of Pearl Harbor which the US military struggling to recoup and figure out how to keep the Japanese from expanding their empire into the Pacific. While the war rages on, US intelligence suspects that the Japanese navy will attack Midway island next. The majority of the 138 minute runtime focuses on whether or not the intelligence community is correct on this matter and if they are, getting they soldiers and ships ready to defend the island at all cost. Honestly, the easiest way to summarize this movie is that the people who liked Pearl Harbor will love Midway. It has all of explosions and action that need with an unneeded love element so those bringing their wives and girlfriends will have something to enjoy. Do you want to hear pointless lines from an underdeveloped relationship fantastic dialogue like, “you can’t go Dick, it’s too dangerous and I love you.”? Well you’re in luck because this movie is littered with that type of nonsense. Not only that, but with the plethora of characters to choose from, you don’t need to get attached to anyone since the story will just jump away from them at a moment’s notice. Maybe if Emmerich cut one or two of these storylines out, we could actually develop a sense of emotion or worry about the well-being of these characters even though we know how this battle will end. As a result of all of these characters having their own moments, we end up with a runtime of 138 minutes and sluggish pacing which takes its time getting us to the end. If Dunkirk can tell a more concrete story with 32 less minutes, I think it’s time to take a step back and cut a few scenes out. I don’t want to suppress the creative genius that is Roland Emmerich, but sometimes you need to cut your losses and salvage whatever you can. It’s not the worst movie of his career, but it still baffles me how someone can make so many mediocre movies over 28 years and still be a box office draw. Maybe he just taps into a portion of society that doesn’t want to think when watching movies and just wants to watch things blow up, but there’s a better way to do that. The middling level of things done well prevent this movie from being one of the worst of the year, but I continue to be stunned at Emmerich’s ability to neither surpass nor meet any basic movie-making expectations.
Overall, for a low-effort Veteran’s Day military action movie, Midway isn’t the end of the world, but it’s pretty far from a good movie. You’d think with a cast this big that someone would break through and set the pace of the movie, but unfortunately the constant cutbacks make it hard to root for the well-being of any one particular character. I had a feeling based on Emmerich’s past that we would get something like this, but he’s shown time and time again he doesn’t need to do better as long as the theaters are full.
Overall Score: 4.5/10