42. It’s a simple number, worn by an icon, and now the only number retired by every team in the MLB. Of course, Jackie Robinson was the icon behind the number and the reason baseball became integrated.
42 is a good movie, but one that could have been an instant classic. It succeeds due to awesome acting performances and stellar baseball action, but fails to excite. We’re never really on the edge of our seats.
For those of you that don’t know, Jackie Robinson is the first African American baseball player to play in the MLB. He started playing shortstop for the Kansas City Monarchs, then got a call from the Brooklyn Dodgers, and eventually played 2nd base for them. Robinson is played by the terrific Chadwick Boseman. Boseman brings a swagger to Robinson but also an emotional touch that makes him much more human and vulnerable. That’s definitely a good thing.
Also brought to the table is an amazing performance from Harrison Ford as the Dodger’s owner Branch Rickey. He’s tough but cares deeply about Robinson and will do whatever it takes for Jackie, and the Dodger’s to succeed.
We also get some good supporting work from Nicole Beharie as Robinson’s wife, Andre Holland as an African American journalist, and Lucas Black as sympathetic teammate Pee Wee Reese. This paired with quality writing, and awesome baseball scenes make 42 a very, very good movie.
That being said, the film has some drawbacks that take me away from loving it. There is almost no periodical music in the film. If there were some more music from the 40’s, we would feel transported back into that time period. Instead, we never feel like we are a part of the film. We only get to watch. Terrible job by Mark Isham.
Another drawback is the excitement factor. Hardly ever during the course of the film are we extremely excited. I felt like I was waiting for something big to happen and nothing did. There just could have been more edge of our seat drama for a film about civil rights and baseball. There’s plenty of excitement in both of those topics, but seemingly none in this film.
Although it does have its drawbacks, I still did enjoy 42. Overall it succeeds and I did enjoy most of it, but there is definitely a part of me that wanted a lot more. 3 STARS.