‘Midway’ displays one of history’s greatest battles

By Jacob Roushia

The film “Midway” tells the tale of one of the most important events in World War II’s Pacific Theater with strong characters and amazing action. 

“Midway” focuses on the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor and the following Battle of Midway. Throughout all the chaos, the film focuses on a single ship, the USS Enterprise, that was critical to the United States in the Battle of Midway.

The film mostly revolves around Dick Best, played by Ed Skrein, an executive officer and a pilot in the US Navy. Other main characters include Edwin Layton, a United States intelligence officer, and Bruno Gaino, a US Navy pilot, played by Nick Jonas. 

In the first 30 minutes, the film had a powerful and emotional impact when the attack on Pearl Harbor was showcased. This sudden and heartbreaking attack set the tone for the rest of the film. 

The audience members know that the attack on Pearl Harbor is imminent because of how infamous it is but can’t do anything to warn the characters on screen. That helpless feeling was quickly quashed by sadness and anger toward the attackers.

To the film’s credit, they show the point of view of Japanese Imperial military commanders preceding and during the battle.

One of the scenes depicted a Japanese pilot looking devastated at the sight of a Japanese aircraft carrier. This humanized the Japanese military and the men who fought for the Empire of Japan. 

Not only did the film depict the American and Japanese points of view, the audience also saw a small glimpse of Chinese rebels and citizens. When an American pilot crashed in Japanese-controlled China, they saw first hand how the Japanese were targeting Chinese citizens. 

This depiction clashed with the humanizing aspects of the Japanese throughout the movie. Another scene depicted the United States Army bombing a civilian Janpanese city. This gray area shows that nobody is truly innocent in battle. 

The different points of view were very refreshing because in war the enemy is usually dehumanized. Some people, especially on the Japanese side, might not have had a choice but to fight. 

The film ended by saying, “This film is dedicated to the American and Japanese sailors who fought at Midway. The sea remembers its own.”

Throughout the film, none of the side characters, including Best’s friends and fellow soldiers, was safe from dying. 

The showcase of how deadly each battle was for the pilots keeps the viewer at the edge of their seat. Bullets and explosions whizzed past the pilot’s airplanes, sometimes even finding their mark. It was hard to find downtime throughout the film. 

“Midway” was an emotional roller coaster throughout and this continued even in the credits. The film showed what the actors’ characters actually looked like and what happened to them after the war, if they survived. 

Since the film was based on real people and events, it was educational and entertaining. This is the type of movie that should be included in high school history classes as a resource. People tend to trivialize war, but this story depicted the hardships both sides faced in combat.