In 42, Chadwick Boseman stars as Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play major league baseball alongside white players.
Harrison Ford co-stars as Branch Rickey, the team executive behind the decision to recruit Robinson into the major leagues.
The story primarily focuses on Robinson’s struggles on and off the field to prove himself to the other players and win the hearts of the nation.
It gets off to a pretty rocky start as it first hits us with a major exposition dump about the time period in which the film is set. I understand that not everyone who is going into this film will know that it’s a period piece, but the way it’s delivered feels rushed and doesn’t really help to set the stage.
On that same note, the same thing could be said about the editing in certain parts
It has a decent pace when you get past the expositional onslaught, but then it gets weird during the ending, almost as if they forgot to shoot an ending and had to salvage it with what footage they had. This leaves the film feeling a tad cut off, even after they do the whole “Famous Person went on to…” bit that they usually do in these types of movies.
When it comes to the acting, the major players do a really good job. Boseman is able to carry the movie, even if some of his dialogue was cheesy at times. However, there are some parts played by the supporting cast that fell a little flat. Some of the parts felt like they were put into shoehorn, some poetic imagery while others were made larger than necessary.
The only major criticism I can give the story is that I wished it had narrowed more of its focus on Robinson rather than on some of the other goings on. It kept bouncing back and forth between Robison and Rickey to the point where it got a little confusing. We never really learn that much about Robinson’s life prior to his recruitment to the major leagues aside from some hastily written exposition.
The best parts of the film would have to be the scenes where they are actually playing baseball
They’re shot and edited really well and build up the suspense in a manner that keeps you hooked. All the more reason why I wish they had a more conclusive ending then what we’re given.
Overall, 42 is okay, even if it waffles on whether or not it’s a sports movie or a period piece, since it’s definitely not a biopic as the advertisements would have you believe.
It loses some points for the weird editing choices and occasional visual effects flubs as well as an overabundance of “trailer-bait.” If you’re a fan of baseball movies or history movies, you’ll probably enjoy it. Even the average movie-goer may find they enjoy it as well.
On my personal scale, I give 42, a 4/5.