I really enjoyed Captain Phillips. The tension, and it largely had to do with Hanks performance, IMO, although the music contributed greatly, had me once the ship was underway. I found the story to be gripping and well told. To maintain that for over two hours about a story that takes place at sea is not an easy thing to do.
I agree with the sentiments that it could have been shortened; especially once the lifeboat hit the water. A lot of what went on in that boat could have been eliminated.
Also agree that Barkhad Abdi's performance was not deserving of an Oscar nomination.
I knew of the controversy and understood going in that Phillips was an arrogant SOB and there were two sides to the story. But I learned a long time ago that "based on" doesn't mean factual. If I boycotted every movie that wasn't a factual "based on" account, then I would have missed out on Good Morning, Vietnam, Rudy, Lean On Me, Pearl Harbor, Gladiator, Braveheart, and more. For me, first and foremost, movies are entertainment.
Having said that; being rescued after disregarding warnings and blatantly cruising in an area you were told to keep out of is a far cry from being a hero. But lets say he obeyed those warnings and stayed 600 miles off the coast and everything went down as it did; how in the world is that being a hero? A hero would have pulled a Clint Eastwood and kicked the crap out of the pirates, thrown them overboard, and continued on. Hero, like evil, has become such an overused/abused word; I roll my eyes when people use them.
Still, I really enjoyed the movie.