Devotion Remains Faithful to the Typical Biopic Plot

The Stream: It’s a boring Top Gun

The Big Screen: …but there are some exciting aerial fights.

The Final Bill: A generic, historical biopic that is too dull to be worth the time

– Trip Fontaine
Director: J.D. Dillard
Writers: Jake Crane, Adam Makos (book author), Jonathan Stewart
Stars: Glen Powell, Jonathan Majors, Serinda Swan
Genre: Action, Drama, War
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 2 hours 10 minutes
Production Companies: Black Label Media, STX Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)
Platform: In theaters November 23, 2022
Notable Trailers: Emancipation

Hey, Streamers! It’s the time of year when studios put out their crowd-pleasing family films. Something to be thankful for, I guess. Anyway, Devotion is a movie inspired by a true story of Korean War heroes and their effort to build friendship and trust in their dangerous mission as fighter pilots. It would be a perfect film for the season. I got to see it a little early as it opens in theaters on November 23rd. Here’s what I thought.

Based on a book of the same name, Devotion tells the story of Lieutenant Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) and Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors), who a fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy, as they prepare to take on a dangerous mission at the start of the Korean War. Apparently, Hudner and Brown develop a close friendship that navigates their racial differences and the sacrifices they make in order to be the top fighter pilots in their unit. Also, Brown is the first African American in his position, but he wants to be appreciated for his skill and tenacity more than just his race. Since this movie is based on a true story, which I did not know going into this movie, you can easily find out what happens to Hudner and Brown, if you want to be spoiled. Anyway, high flying, aerial 1950s hijinks ensue.

I really want to be generous about this movie about the first African American fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy and his plight through racism and his devotion to his family, but I really can’t. The movie doesn’t seem very interested in telling that story anyway. Devotion is so dull. It seems like there isn’t really a point-of-view, just a paint-by-numbers war biopic. As much as the film is about the first African American, it really doesn’t focus much on that. There’s not enough balance between Glen Powell’s character and Jonathan Majors’ character. Is it about friendship? I guess, but I don’t understand how Hudner and Brown became friends or why. Unfortunately, Brown is such a stoic and straitlaced man that there isn’t much to go on there. He’s like the noble Negro trope in a war movie. Hudner, on the other hand, has barely any character as well. He’s so bland. There’s just nothing here. This film hits all of the familiar beats and then it ends after more than 2 hours.

On a side note: I can tell that, in general, it is well made. It looks good for the most part. There are some pretty dark scenes where you can’t see what’s really going on. The costumes look good. The aerial sequences when they finally get to the war are kind of exciting, but Top Gun: Maverick stole this movie’s thunder on that front as well. It’s a shame the story is so boring.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Ultimately, Devotion is a decent, bland movie. It has good intentions in telling this “inspired by true events” story, but there is not interesting angel taken here. It leads to very boring movie that only has brief flashes of anything entertaining occurring. I’m sorry to be so harsh on this otherwise inoffensive movie. Wait for it to come to a streaming service, and even then, only get one kernel of popcorn.