A sequin-encrusted delight. On paper it reads like a by-the-book biopic; on screen it explodes with the kind of colour and energy that only Elton John himself could invoke.
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As a fantasia on the making of Elton John, Rocketman at the very least commits wholeheartedly to its flashy eccentricity, and for many, that will be more than fun enough.
Rather than revealing much about the man behind the music, Rocketman seems more content to hover inside of it, exploring his unique synthesis of blues, rock, and every other relevant genre as a natural extension of his personality.
As with its beloved subject and his enormous catalog of multiplatinum earworms, the movie’s familiarity turns out to be crucial to its charm.
Rocketman is an honest, heartfelt tribute to Elton John’s music and his public image. But the man itself eluded it.
While Lee’s script steers Elton’s life from the “Billy Elliot”-like tropes of his daddy issues to the equally trite “Walk the Line”-esque cautionary tale of what happens when fame causes talented musicians to forget who they once were, Fletcher at least has Elton’s music to fall back on.
If there’s one thing Rocketman does have in common with Bohemian Rhapsody, it’s a commanding central performance.
Not only does Egerton have Elton’s look and mannerisms down to an uncanny degree, he also musters up enough of his subject’s signature showmanship to give a performance that’s joyously at peace with its own preposterousness.
It’s all grand and fun and corny, a musical fantasy that reaches for the sky and gets there often enough to make it diverting but also frustrating.
Rocketman is so energetic that it’s possible to be swept away by its enthusiasm for putting Reg on a pedestal. Too often, though, the film just flattens you, demanding fealty to Sir Elton.