Howdy people of the north, south, east and west, and welcome to Day #14 of Month of Superhero Film Reviews 2! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best, average and worst comic book adapted films. Today I’m going to be talking about The Rocketeer.
The Rocketeer is one of those films I’ve been meaning to watch for around 3 or 4 years now. Because Joe Johnston had just directed Captain America: The First America, I wanted to know about his previous filmography and while I’d seen the majority of his films, the one that I’d head a lot about which I hadn’t seen was this one. So now I finally get to see what the deal is.
The story can be summed up as the following:
“A young pilot stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high flying masked hero.”
The story is quite spectacular as it has a blend of action, adventure, love and conspiracy meshed together it an entertaining way. This film did a great job at recreating the 1930’s time period with the way it presented the action, had certain dialogue and showed off scenes that involved dancing, music, radio shows and so on, it really added to the authenticity of the film. I really liked how this film capture that feeling of action, adventure, mystery and surprise, it felt quite whimsical. I was surprised by how humourous the film was, especially when it came to the Rocketeer’s flying sequences which were quite good. I really liked how there was a lot more going on with the story in relation to the jetpack, its origins and the villains who were are it. It was handled very realistically and though it is fiction, the ramifications of what could have happened to the world if that rocket had gotten in the hands of the bad guys would have been terrible. With this being a Joe Johnson film, I could see why he was chosen to helm Captain America: The First Avenger, there are a lot of similarities in this film with the story, character moments and time period among other things.
Now let’s talk about the cast. Billy Campbell as Cliff Secord/The Rocketeer was really good. Campbell was really likeable, charismatic and relatable as Cliff, he has this down-to-earth personality and while he’s not the perfect man, he’s humble and has good morals. Then there’s Jennifer Connelly who is lovely as Jenny Blake, she’s a sweet and delicate lady who has big dreams and has to balance her career with her relationship and dreams of Cliff. Connelly is such a gorgeous woman in this film and it also helps that she acts with such grace too. Timothy Dalton as Neville Sinclair, he was great. Dalton is extremely good in this film, I love how his character is actor and uses that trait to be all kind, positive and charming to the public, but in secret he’s calculated, mean and quite sinister. He almost stole the whole film for me. And the performances from Alan Arkin as A. “Peevy” Peabody, Terry O’Quinn as Howard Hughes, Ed Lauter as Fitch, James Handy as Wooly and Paul Sorvino as Eddie Valentine were great and memorable for sure.
Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually the film is pretty cool. The cinematography was really nice and the CGI while early is really well-made with some cool flying sequences and explosions. I also liked the framing of the shot with the Rocketeer, it was framed in a very heroic, iconic and comic book panel-like manner. As for the soundtrack, James Horner does such a great job with the score. It is energetic, heroic, playful and really adds to the awe and spectacle of the film.
And lastly how does it compare to the comics? This is another one of those films I never knew was an adaptation until I researched it online, so I haven’t read the graphic novel, but I would love to in the near future.
So to conclude The Rocketeer is a solid film filled with great action, story and characters. What it does well is capture the awe, magic and spectacle that not only comes with these kinds of superhero films, but also with great adventure/action films of old. While it is has certainly aged since the 90’s it is definitely a film worth checking out.
That’s 14 reviews done, only 16 more to go. So have you seen The Rocketeer and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!