First Man 1

Blast Off! First Man Shoots for the Moon

I remember the day when someone called to inform me that I got a summer internship.

There I was, in the beauty of Magill Commons Dining Hall with a roast beef sandwich and almost crying tears of joy after saying, “thank you so much!”

Contrarily, when astronaut Neil Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling, got a phone call from NASA to be a part of the Gemini Eight space mission in an effort to go for the moon, he simply said, “yes,” hung up the phone, and carried on eating the mashed potatoes on his plate.

Well I guess my emotions are a little out of this world.

Armstrong was the First Man to land on the moon, through space flight Apollo 11 with pilot Buzz Aldrin in 1969.

It was an impossible task as the weight of the country, family, friends, and world laid on the back of Armstrong.

In the trailers, audiences expect to see a Hollywood space spectacle similar to recent films in the sci-fi genre such as The Martian, Interstellar, or Gravity, but director Damien Chazelle takes a realistic and stripped down approach to Armstrong’s triumph.

Instead of dramatizing the life of Armstrong, Chazelle chooses to show him as a somber family man who quietly put in astronomic efforts into anything he did for his family or work.

Gosling, who portrays Armstrong in the film, is practically emotionless.

In the beginning, we see the man he could be: a smile on his face, reading stories with his daughter, Karen, and playing in the yard.

After Karen’s death from a brain tumor, Armstrong bottles up and keeps his feelings to himself.

First Man 2Considering the pain that he has been through, Armstrong holds himself steady through any situation.

No matter how daunting the task may seem, it’s as if adversity bounces off the protective shell of Armstrong’s space helmet.

When Chief of the Astronaut Office asks Armstrong to take on Apollo 11 in the bathroom, he nods his head and continues to wash his hands.

If it were me, I’d tell the guy, “I gotta blast!”

The calmness of Armstrong is incredible because of the lives lost and failures he faced ahead of Apollo 11.

Today, we take space for granted.

When we read about Apollo 11 in a high school history class, we saw a photo of Aldrin with the American flag on the moon, then flipped to the next page.

Furthermore, space exploration is a task that has been eclipsed by the incredible technology which can help us do anything, along with efforts made to land on Mars and President Donald Trump’s announcement of a space force.

When the moon landing is mentioned, we seem to shrug our shoulders and say, “Yeah, that was cool.”

However, getting to the moon took years of trial runs, overcoming systematic malfunctions, political pressure, and lives lost.

First Man puts into perspective the hardships of what it took to get to that distant beam in the night sky.

While it’s more story driven, there are plenty of technical accomplishments to make it worth the IMAX price of admission.

When Armstrong hops into the spacecraft, it feels like you’re strapped in for a rollercoaster ride.

As the vessel rapidly rocks, you can’t help but look away to avoid dizziness.

Amidst all the chaos though is Armstrong, who remains as cool as ever.

Armstrong’s life flashes before his eyes, yet he continues to remain steady for his family and country.

Presumably, there will be upset audiences because of the film’s lack in action or heated dialogue, but it’s nothing worth getting heated like a burning comet over.

First Man is an opportunity to take a step back and appreciate the sacrifice astronauts like Armstrong made to accomplish one of the greatest achievements in human history.

Just play it cool like Armstrong and take it all in.

PHOTO TAKEN from Digital Spy