First Man is no The Right Stuff. There’s no triumphant tone, no patriotism, and little glory here. This is is a film about the man who did something amazing, not so much the thing that he did. And that man — as depicted here anyway — was a nerd’s nerd, and a depressed and repressed one, because of tragedies both well-known and much less so.
I was really cringing hard as the Apollo 1 fire approached. Holy hell that was an awful thing, and this film did not pull that punch.
Best thing about the film for me was the intense sense of perilous adventure it successfully conveyed, especially the fragility of those vehicles — fragile under those stresses anyway. The noise, the shaking, the duct tape, the claustrophobia! We got them there, but humans may never be able to to build a smooth ride to the moon.
Can’t wait to see what Damien Chazelle does next.