The true story of Jackie Robinson’s(Chadwick Boseman) first season as a professional baseball player for the Brooklyn Dodgers. His road wasn’t easy, even though he was a good player, the game of baseball was stuck in the old ways of segregation, a lot of the country hadn’t progressed and he faced a lot of hateful language and death threats. With the help of owner Branch Rickey(Harrison Ford) he was able to break though and wear the Dodger blue.
The story of Jackie Robinson is probably the best in sports, he is true American idol. Being the first African American in baseball was huge not only for the sport but for the country. Racism is frankly pointless and many during that time period were doing it solely because that’s “how they were raised”. The story was seen on the big screen before in the 1950’s where Robinson played himself, the movie was really bad though. This film is a much better approach to the topic and story. The films one real problem is that it so wants to be a classic the movie is filmed in an old school way. This should have been done a little differently. The film should have an edge, like the film Moneyball which to me is one of the best sports films in the last two decades.
42 works because of the two leads, Boseman and Ford are fantastic and when they are on screen together it’s fantastic. The films biggest issue is the pacing, when the film dives into baseball and Robinson of the field it’s fun and intense. One scene where a racist ball club manager vocally taunts him while he’s batting is so hard to watch you’ll find yourself wincing. Yet off the field the movie doesn’t work. We follow Robinson’s life with his wife, but there is never really any problems and they just love each other, that is awesome but we don’t need them together every other scene to push this across to the audience.
If you have kids, take them to this film, it’s a good history lesson. If you love baseball you should really see this movie, like I said the scenes in the ball park are fantastic. I just wish there wasn’t this idea of making the movie some sort of timely “classic”, everything feels old school, the soundtrack to the way it’s filmed. The movie never takes risks visually which doesn’t help, 42 feels very long, I wouldn’t be surprised if many people glance at their watch or cell phone during the movie.
This is a by the books sports film, the story is so special that families should go see it. If you’re a baseball fan this is a must but average movie goers might find this film a little bland and slow. One thing is for sure I do want to get to the ball park and see a game!