Eddie The Eagle tells the remarkable (and mostly true) story of Michael "Eddie The Eagle" Edwards and his journey to the Olympic Games. Eddie, played by Taron Egerton, is a very determined young man who has his sights set on Olympic glory. All he wants is to prove to the world that he can do it. As each additional person tells him he can't make it, all he hears is one more reason to do it.
When he decides he'll ski jump, he heads to Germany to start training. Looking to do it on his own, he turns to former American competitor Bronson Peary, played by Hugh Jackman, for tips. After a minor setback (read: major wipeout on the jump), the two work together to get Eddie to the Olympics and prove the world wrong about the pair of them.
There was a lot about this movie that producer Matthew Vaughn and director Dexter Fletcher got right. Firstly, the comedy: The pacing between jokes, the timing of each joke, and knowing when and where to place comic relief was excellent. Secondly, the stunts: Watching each jump truly felt like each and every one could end tragically. And thirdly, the movie's ability to capture the essence of the Olympics; participating for the sake of participating.
But of all this movie's pros, the one I find to be the most compelling is the characters . Everyone, from Eddie to Bjorn the Norwegian ski jumping coach, were all handled very well. Each and every character had their own personality and disposition. Each character had their reasons for handling situations the way they did. We didn't always know what these reasons were, but we accepted that these apparent jerks had their reasons for being such jerks.
My favorite of all these characters? Well, he just so happens to be fictitious. He also just so happens to be portrayed by everyone's favorite Adamantium-clawed mutant.
Aside from being portrayed by Jackman, Bronson is my favorite character for one reason and one reason only: his interactions with Eddie.
As you can imagine, Eddie is one of a kind. He's a little slow, probably a little dense, way more stubborn that he should be, and a little clumsy. But he has more heart and spirit in his little finger that most people have in their entire bodies. And a person like Eddie is easily written off as just some kid crazy enough to attempt something as dangerous as ski jumping. And Bronson does just that. Well, at first.
Y'see, Bronson is a rather damaged and broken character. Having once been an Olympic contender himself, Bronson knows a thing or two about ski jumping. He also knows a thing or two about failing and being cast aside. So when Eddie comes calling, the reluctant Bronson is there to help him get to where he wants to go.
Of the two ski jumpers, Bronson's journey is easily the more interesting. Where Eddie is an overly optimistic and easily excited amateur, Bronson is a washed-up, drunken coward who never got his chance to truly prove himself. And from the minute he meets Eddie, you can just feel he's going to change for the better.
Despite being abandoned and ridiculed by his coach, despite being a drunk, despite his cowardice, and despite seemingly failing at his one passion, Bronson manages to overlook everything he's been through to help this kid who just wants to be an Olympian. More than that, he actually uses his old coach Warren Sharp's guidelines for help in coaching Eddie. Bronson looks to his former coach who he should be hating because, despite what this man had done to him psychologically, he still respects him. The man who calls him his biggest disappointment, the man who we as the audience aren't entirely sure isn't making this stuff up about Bronson. The man who abandoned Bronson when he probably needed him most.
Bronson should be a hateful man, but he's not. Angry, maybe. Cynical, definitely. But not hateful. He doesn't hate Warren Sharp. He might be angry at him, upset with him, or distrustful of him. But the hate is not there. He still respects the man. And that is very impressive.
The best part of Bronson turning to Warren Sharp for guidance is that he's not doing it because he wants to. He probably wanted as little to do with the man as possible after the fact. But when Eddie came to him, Bronson put aside his anger, sadness and distrust, and looked to his old coach so that he could help someone other than himself.
Everything that Bronson does after meeting Eddie is to help Eddie. Bronson stops drinking so much. He turns to his old coach. He travels the European circuit. He goes back to the Olympic Games. He gets him some free gear (the term stealing could be used here, but that is up for debate). He even suggests that Eddie waits so he can continue training and return to the Olympics as an actual contender, not as a fool for the world to laugh at. Because Bronson's biggest fear for Eddie is that he'll make the same mistakes he did.
At the end of the day, Bronson and Eddie ended up proving the world wrong and making a name for themselves. They both learned a great deal from their Olympic experience together, and all is right in the world.
Bronson Peary is my new favorite Hugh Jackman character. He is someone to aspire to and emulate. OK, maybe not the drinking part. But the forgiveness and respect that he had for his former coach, that's something everyone should strive for.
If you don't think anyone could possibly be better than Wolverine, or Jean Valjean, or Keller Dover, or Robert Angier, then you'll just have to watch Eddie The Eagle yourself to decide.
Eddie The Eagle hits theaters on Friday, February 26.