‘Masters of the Air’ Review: If you’re seeking a glimpse into the wartime atmosphere captured by “Masters of the Air,” the show’s title sequence offers a compelling preview. With a moody filter and perpetual smoke in the background, the Apple TV+ drama unfolds through snapshots, showcasing the star-studded cast and high production values.
A Spiritual Sequel
As a spiritual sequel to “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific,” this nine-part war saga follows the Bloody Hundredth, a regiment of pilots on perilous bombing raids over Nazi Germany. The narrative delves into the camaraderie gallows humor, and Top Gun-style nicknames that define the pilots’ experiences at a UK air base.
Star-Studded Cast Takes Flight
Led by Austin Butler, recently acclaimed for his portrayal of Elvis Presley, the cast includes Barry Keoghan, Callum Turner, and Ncuti Gatwa of Doctor Who fame. Backed by the executive producing prowess of Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, “Masters of the Air” aims to become a television landmark in 2024.
Spielberg’s Touch and Production Values
Masters of the Air boasts the brilliant filmmaking expected from the Spielberg connection, following the precedent set by “Saving Private Ryan.” The casting and production values align with the names attached, delivering visually stunning battle sequences and close-ups that capture the intensity of aerial combat.
Narrative Quirks and Character Overload
However, not all production decisions hit the mark. The inclusion of a plodding voiceover from a lesser-known character may deter some viewers, given the vast array of over 300 speaking parts. While striving to cover diverse experiences, the sheer volume of characters makes it challenging for the audience to connect with each one.
Flying into the Nuts and Bolts
Despite treading familiar dramatic ground, “Masters of the Air” distinguishes itself in portraying the sheer complexity of flying in wartime conditions. The depiction of the challenges faced – from shooting at other jets to navigating frigid temperatures – raises questions about the wartime appeal of being a WWII pilot.
Daytime Raids and American Exceptionalism
The narrative introduces an element of American exceptionalism, contrasting the daytime raids of the Bloody Hundredth with the Brits’ nighttime strategy. While the daytime missions are deemed nearly suicidal, the bravado of the American pilots adds a layer of complexity, echoing themes explored in “Band of Brothers.”
Warfare as Entertainment
In contrast to recent war dramas that depict the brutal futility of war, “Masters of the Air” presents a gung-ho depiction that occasionally borders on detachment. The mood on the fighter planes, characterized by slapstick fun, contrasts sharply with the stark reality of wartime peril.
Character Dynamics and Emotional Depth
The characters, though initially portrayed with apathy, eventually grapple with the psychological toll of their experiences. Major Gale ‘Buck’ Cleven, played by Austin Butler, remains inscrutable, offering a handsome yet ambiguous portrayal that leaves viewers guessing about his true feelings.
If you have watched the movie then do let us know your ‘Masters of The Air’ review with us!