Masters of the Air Season 1 Review: A Remarkable Achievement

The FandomWire review of Apple TV+ series Masters of the Air and this review does not contain spoilers.

Masters of the Air (Apple TV+)
Masters of the Air (Apple TV+)

SUMMARY

  • This review of the new Apple TV+ streaming series Masters of the Air and is spoiler-free.
  • The third chapter in The Greatest Generation Trilogy, Masters of the Air, depicts some of the most awe-inspiring and greatest air combat scenes ever made by exploring how these airmen find themselves flying so close to heaven yet amid the depths of hell.
  • Here at FandomWire, we give Masters of the Air a score of 9/10.
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Here at FandomWire, we review the new Apple TV+ streaming limited series Masters of the Air, and the article is spoiler-free.

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Few miniseries can achieve classic status across generations, but Band of Brothers, the groundbreaking 2001 World War II HBO miniseries, stands as a timeless masterpiece. Epic in scope, it pays homage to the subject matter and the courageous men who fought across Europe.

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks followed up with The Pacific, a well-received companion piece featuring awe-inspiring, intense battle scenes where new characters are introduced and lost in rapid succession. Now, Masters of the Air emerges as the third and potentially final chapter of the Second World War trilogy.

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The Eighth Air Bomber Squadron alone had a staggering 75% loss of men through death, capture, or severe injury. The limited series serves as an inspirational tribute to the greatest generation. Masters of the Air showcases some of the most awe-inspiring and undoubtedly greatest air combat scenes ever filmed.

Austin Butler and Callum Turner in Masters of the Air | Image via Apple TV+
Austin Butler and Callum Turner in Masters of the Air | Image via Apple TV+

Also Read: “I had a dialect coach”: Austin Butler Had to Get Rid of His Elvis Accent for Masters of the Air in Painstaking Process That Took Years to Develop

Apple TV+ Masters of the Air Season 1 Synopsis and Review

Masters of the Air follows the 100th Bomb Group, operating B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft in the Eighth Air Force during World War II. The group earned the moniker “Bloody Hundredth” due to significant casualties in its combat missions. This series delves into the stories of the valiant men who flew bombers and fighter planes into German-occupied airspace.

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The series depicts squadron members preparing for missions over the heart of Nazi Germany. The series showcases these brave men’s challenges from the outset until the tragic conclusion for many. Including the strenuous psychological toll. For instance, how could these men fly so close to heaven yet be so close to hell?

Based on the nonfiction best-seller Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany by historian Donald Miller, the series effectively captures vast conflicts, dangerous aerial battles, and the harsh realities confronted by the airmen from all walks of life.

Austin Butler and Callum Turner in Masters of the Air | Image via Apple TV+
Austin Butler and Callum Turner in Masters of the Air | Image via Apple TV+

Also Read: “We lucked out”: Masters of the Air Executive Producer Feels He Struck Gold by Casting Doctor Who Star Alongside Austin Butler and Barry Keoghan

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Masters of the Air captures WW2 aerial combat like never before!

Have you witnessed World War II aerial combat scenes like these before? Think again! These brave men are piloting tin cans over enemy airspace, where grabbing a metal machine gun with bare hands doesn’t burn from heat but from the intense frostbite at 25,000 feet. Bullets frequented your head more than the occasional seagull.

These airmen conducted bomber missions initially without air support, defending themselves solely with their wits, courage, and three guns equipped with their ship. They faced off against dozens upon dozens of enemy German fighters. One scene in particular, I won’t spoil, depicts about 50 Luftwaffe’s lined up like cavalry soldiers, this time coming at wicked speeds and riding in cool steel.

In what might be the series’ most extraordinary scene, particularly “Part 5,” so many men have to abandon their ship; you can’t tell if German AA gun Flak fire is creating clouds in the sky or hundreds of parachutes are opening, dropping our boys to safety. We are introduced to the legendary Red Tails of the Tuskegee Airmen in a spectacular aerial fight scene.

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At the 28-minute mark of “Part 7,” the scene has the breathtaking beauty of controlled chaos.

Austin Butler and Callum Turner in Masters of the Air | Image via Apple TV+
Austin Butler and Callum Turner in Masters of the Air | Image via Apple TV+

Also Read: Masters of the Air: Austin Butler Landed Steven Spielberg’s World War 2 Story After Tom Hanks Grew Concerned About Actor’s Mental Health

Is Masters of the Air Worth Watching?

Masters of the Air is worth watching because of the incredible cast. If you weren’t sure Austin Butler was a movie star before, you damn well should be now. Alongside Callum Tatum from The Boys in the Boat, they are magnetic in their roles. There is a deep bench of actors, including Barry Keoghan, Nate Mann, and Anthony Boyle, a standout in a sea of actors that disappear quickly.

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This mirrors World War II films like The Thin Red Line, where an onslaught of American servicemen oversaturates an attack to bring home victory. In the end, Masters of the Air is a remarkable achievement, structurally superior to The Pacific while instilling controlled chaos with a structure that doesn’t come close to the holistic storytelling of Band of Brothers.

It would have been nice to have intertitles at the end of each episode, explaining in greater detail the loss, the reasoning, and the importance of each battle. These are my few quibbles with the third chapter in Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’s “The Greatest Generation Trilogy.” Masters of the Air honors its subject and itself with some of the finest historical storytelling you’ll see on streaming.

Nate Mann, Austin Butler, Callum Turner, and Anthony Boyle in Masters of the Air | Image via Apple TV+
Nate Mann, Austin Butler, Callum Turner, and Anthony Boyle in Masters of the Air | Image via Apple TV+

You can stream Masters of the Air on Apple TV+ starting January 26th, 2024.

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Grade: 9/10

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Written by M.N. Miller

Articles Published: 154

M.N. Miller is a film and television critic and a proud member of the Las Vegas Film Critic Society, Critics Choice Association, and a 🍅 Rotten Tomatoes/Tomato meter approved. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from Mansfield University and a Master's from Chamberlain University. However, he still puts on his pants one leg at a time, and that's when he usually stumbles over. When not writing about film or television, he patiently waits for the next Pearl Jam album and chooses to pass the time by scratching his wife's back on Sunday afternoons while she watches endless reruns of California Dreams. M.N. Miller was proclaimed the smartest reviewer alive by actor Jason Isaacs but chose to ignore his obvious sarcasm. You can also find his work on Hidden Remote, InSession Film, Ready Steady Cut, Geek Vibes Nation, and Nerd Alert.