Music biopics are some of the hardest movies to stand out and be remembered by audiences due to the similar structure of their stories and reliance on familiar music to drive home the movie to the audience. Rocketman is the latest music biopic to connect with audiences as it looks at Elton John, who’s brought us some of the most well-recognized songs of all time. I can happily say that Rocketman stands out in a crowd as a brilliant telling of the rise, fall and redemption of Elton John with outstanding performances and a clever twist on the biopic formula to make the cliche seem fresher.
As I said before, Rocketman is the story of famous musician Elton John starting from childhood and going to his time in rehab and although the story is predictable and full of cliches, they throw an excellent spin on the story by integrating the music and making it a musical and using his songs to help move the story along while giving us some insight on how the songs were created. He checks into rehab at the beginning of the movie and goes over what lead him there. There is no doubt that this movie will get compared to Bohemian Rhapsody but unlike that movie that more focuses on the legacy of the artist and creation of the music, Rocketman gives a deeper look into the artist especially his drugs, alcohol, and sexuality. Also, you know Elton has a happy ending because he’s still alive and singing.
The performances are excellent across the board but Taron Egerton was phenomenal and delivers an award-worthy performance as Elton John. He gets so into the role and you can tell he’s having fun with it. He brings this energy and he sings all the songs in the movie and has a great voice as he sounds similar to Elton John while making it his own. Jamie Bell plays Bernie Taupin, Elton’s best friend and songwriter and the chemistry they have together are great as apparently, they’ve never had an argument. Other great performances worth shouting out are Richard Madden as John Reid – the evil producer that every music biopic needs to have and lover to Elton – and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton John’s mother.
The movie is directed by Dexter Fletcher who also produced and helped finish Bohemian Rhapsody which explains the similarities. He absolutely understands how to make a music biopic because he does an outstanding job with Rocketman. The fact that he makes it into a musical gives him to break realism and elevate the story while never making it unbelievable. The movie is shot beautifully too with some excellent long takes and popping colours. There’s a contagious energy in the movie whenever the music is playing and it continues through the whole movie so when Elton hits his low, we feel it even more. He also hits the themes of finding your identity without losing who you are so well as Elton John’s original name was Reggie Dwight but he lets this stage personality take over his life. Keep an eye on the costumes too because they help tell his story.
Rocketman was a brilliantly well-done music biopic with gorgeous directing, amazing music, and a hell of a performance from Taron Egerton. The story may be cliche and predictable but the fact that they turned it into a musical helps make it stand out in a wave of other biopics. If you’re a fan of Elton John and his music then you’ll really like this movie but beware of some of the stronger content and the fact it’s a musical.
Rocketman is an excellent look at the legendary Elton John packed full with energy, brilliant directing and an outstanding performance from Taron Egerton. The story may be predictable and cliche but the spin they put on it makes it definetly worth a watch and shine bright.