Release Date: May 31st, 2019
Studio: Marv Films / Paramount Pictures
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Release Format: Theatrical
Rocketman is a biopic musical featuring fantastic visuals mixed with rocking tunes that leave you wanting more as any good musician does.
The film centers on Elton John (Taron Edgerton) finding himself going through integral parts of his life. The highs and lows are all on display with the only kind of flair an Elton John could have.
I went in not knowing what to expect and came out with an experience that is sticking with me days after. While I’m not gonna start wearing bedazzled clothes and outrageous outfits, I will have this amazing soundtrack in my head for a long time.
Style and Flair for Days
Director Dexter Fletcher may have the name of a serial killer but his direction is to die for. There are so many cool shots and transitions that made me want to stop and rewind to catch it again.
Being “based on a true fantasy” I wished the movie leaned heavier on the fantasy side of things. So many of the films best parts are when it gets trippy when the visuals and sound combine to reach nirvana.
Fletcher gets the most out of everything every seen by combing style and substance. Watching moments like Elton playing his first American gig that has everyone literally floating is breathtaking.
The film is a musical at its heart with every couple of minutes having another number around Elton’s hits. Most of the time they do fit but after an hour of constant singing can wear you down. Not because the songs are bad but because it takes away more time from the great acting scenes.
While Elton’s childhood does play into emotional beats later, it felt almost unneeded. The time could have been better spent following more interesting parts of his career.
Elton deals with drug issues, his sexuality and a lot of complex issues that make for a fascinating tale. The film tries to juggle so many topics and ends up dropping the ball on some of them.
I mentioned earlier that Rocketman leaves you wanting more, but that is not always in the best way. While there was a complete arc for Elton’s journey, things felt rushed towards the end. So much so that the ending scene is text saying what happened during the next 30 years.
A couple of steps are skipped as some problems get resolved by the next scene, from trying to condense a man’s life in two hours. What it does is try to get the bullet points across without getting too dark, so it can hit the next beat.
This is a musical at its heart so if you aren’t a fan of that genre or Elton, rethink sitting this one out. Everything is done so well if you weren’t a fan before you will be by the end. This movie does such an excellent job at blending the sounds and visuals, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun.
When I say the story is light, it is from mostly being told in the form of song. So if you aren’t listening closely, you might miss out on details. However, the visuals during the musical numbers will not only keep you interested but also tell you what’s what.
Movies like Aladdin have the songs interrupt the story for a dance number, but Rocketman makes the songs into the story. For the most part, it is successful in forwarding the narrative through a song without comprising the story.
The soundtrack is pretty fantastic, basically the greatest hits of Elton John songs sung beautifully by Egerton. Truthfully, I didn’t know most of the songs but that hasn’t stopped me from having the album on repeat for days.
Lights, Camera, Acting
Edgerton delivers a stellar performance as Elton John with crazy good pipes and scenes that could make an onion cry. He lost himself in the role, I didn’t see the kid from Kingsman but the living legend transported back to his prime.
Jamie Bell plays Elton’s songwriter and best friend Bernie Taupin. He is great in the role as a laidback doe-eyed writer and highlights a different side to star never seen in public.
When watching these biopics, you can time your watch to when the band’s relationship implodes. Thankfully, it’s not as simple as that here and the drama is subtle and gripping. This is only one of the many relationships with Elton that has multiple levels.
Richard Madden is Elton’s lover and manager, who has a grin even that even a monk would slap. He is a cold and hateable villain that you can’t wait to see get throw. There is a charming side to him that you can understand why Elton keeps cycling back to the toxic relationship.
Overall, Rocketman is filled with a cast of characters that come and go. They add color to the movie and leave a lasting mark that alters our star’s life. It’s great to have a strong lead but even better to have strong supporting characters and writing.
Verdict: This is such a personal story that no matter how flashy things get you to feel every bit of pain and happiness that Elton does. In a summer of big blockbusters, it’s refreshing to watch a film with great acting and a relatable plot.
Rocketman is a two-hour music video filled with fantastic visuals, great songs, and an interesting story. Maybe it goes a bit overboard at times but fits the persona of Elton John being extra, being larger than life. If your already a fan or into musicals or just good cinema, then it is a must see.
What is your favorite Elton John film? What are some other great biopics and musicals? Name some disappointing biopics? Leave your comments!