The movie takes place in an alternate 1939 timeline, starting with the Hindenburg III airship docking with the Empire State Building. We get a bit of intrigue involving a scientist on the run, leading to introduction of Polly Perkins, the independent woman reporter for the Chronicle played by Gwyneth Paltrow. She goes to meet someone who might know something about the six missing scientists, and she ends up witnessing a giant robot attack on the town, being saved by Sky Captain, played by Jude Law, who managed to halt the robot advances through savvy flying.
The first half of the film worked really well for me. I really liked the action sequences, and there was plenty of amazing lighting; the film had been processed to give it a soft, glowy look that worked really well. Many of the scenes are framed and posed to remind us some of the iconic imagery from early science fiction, and the costume design was top notch.
The second half, which centered around a bunch of adventures around Asia and the Pacific Ocean, hurt the film a bit. There's a bit of back story between Polly and Sky Captain, but their on-screen interactions just didn't work for me. It all felt too stilted. There were some nice visuals, especially in the final rocket assembly complex, but it all left me feeling unsatisfied.
I ranked it 3.5 out of 5 on MovieLens. It's worth seeing for the visual effects and cinematography, but I don't think the whole film bears viewing again.