With lengthy scenes of both the Japanese and American battle planning, the movie shows how the Japanese superiority after the 'infamous' damage they inflicted on the US navy at Pearl Harbor was overcome, mostly thanks to radio intercepts and code-breaking by the guys at Naval Intelligence (sorry, ladies).
Back stories are minimal, in keeping with the documentary style of the film. Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid give un-showy performances as key admirals and all the fighter pilots play as a team, much as they would have in wartime, with nobody pushing for extra screen time. Good to see Luke Evans on solid form; he reminds me increasingly of the young Richard Harris, and I hope he has an equally substantial career ahead of him.
The CGI bombing at Pearl Harbor and out in the Pacific is nothing less than awesome. Here and there the aerial combat scenes (and camera-shots behind ordnance) give off a PlayStation flavor, but overall MIDWAY does eloquent justice to a turning-point moment in 20th-century history.