Rocketman (2019)

Rocketman (2019)

2019 R 121 Minutes

Music | Drama | History

The story of Elton John's life, from his years as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music through his influential and enduring musical partnership with Bernie Taupin.

Overall Rating

7 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • Deadaccount


    9 / 10
    For some context, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Elton John. Don’t get me wrong, his music is great, and I won’t turn down a chance to listen to his songs, he’s just never been a personal favorite of mine. On a somewhat unrelated note, I feel the same way about the band Queen. Going into both of these movies, I was intrigued. From the trailers, it seemed like I had a lot to look forward to. When I saw Bohemian Rhapsody, I loved it. This isn’t a review of that movie, but I’ll say that at the time I would have given it a 9/10. This made me even more anxious to see what Rocketman could do, and if it would live up to Bohemian Rhapsody for me. And after finally getting the chance to see it, I’m incredibly happy to say that it totally shattered any and all expectations that I had set for it.
    I’ll start off by talking about something that surprised me; this movie is a musical. I mean, yeah, it’s a movie about one of the most famous musicians of all time, of course it’s going to have music in it. But there are points in this film where they break out into heavily stylized song and dance sequences, not unlike those found in The Greatest Showman. I personally really liked this. We’re talking about Elton John here, one of the most famously flamboyant people of all time, so it’s nice to see the overall style of his movie embrace that. These sequences are packed with so much energy and flare, and I love it. They’re also extremely unrealistic, which I also liked. For instance, in his very first performance, Elton and his audience begin to fly for a little while. It makes this single scene so much more distinctive and memorable than any of the performances in Bohemian Rhapsody, including Live Aid. It’s a very nice change of pace after the previous movie I saw in theaters was the 2019 version of Aladdin, in which most of the songs were painfully dull and lifeless.
    One of the strongest parts of Bohemian Rhapsody was the Oscar winning performance of Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. In my opinion, Rocketman has it just as good with Taron Egerton as Elton John. In the movie’s more intense moments, Egerton presents Elton’s pain extremely efficiently and effectively. The rest of the cast is remarkably solid as well, but Egerton really knocks it out of the park.
    After coming out of the movie, I’m extremely glad that the movie isn’t rated PG-13. Would it have worked fine as a PG-13 movie? Probably. But it was so much better to see a totally unrestrained portrayal of Elton John’s life. He was a gay man had a lot of sex and did a lot of drugs, and these ended up as very important aspects of his life story. So, I was extremely glad that they didn’t stray away and just show it in one scene.
    Speaking of Elton John’s drug use, the movie does a great job of portraying just how it came to be so bad. Throughout most of the movie, there’s a clear cycle of events going on. Traumatic event happens, he’s immediately forced to go on stage and hide his pain, and he turns to drugs afterward as a way to cope with what just happens. The transition between these three is almost seamless, which is a great way of making these events really feel connected. The sheer amount of times that this pattern is repeated makes it that much more satisfying when the cycle breaks in the end, and he turns away from the stage to go to rehab.
    This movie packs an extremely hard punch emotionally. Even on the third weekend, the audience still reacted audibly to the really heavy stuff. Not even Avengers: Endgame got something like that in its second weekend. There’s literally a point in the movie where Elton’s own mother says that she’s disappointed that he is her son, and that somehow isn’t even the heaviest scene. That would go to Elton’s visit to his dad. This scene is so subtly and beautifully constructed that I can’t even put it into words how powerful it is, just go see the movie and witness it for yourself.
    In the end, I absolutely adored Rocketman. I have no doubts in saying that it was better than Bohemian Rhapsody. From the music to the cast to the drama to the everything, there is nothing here that feels undercooked. I would say that it doesn’t quite go far enough to earn a perfect score, but it’s a really remarkable movie. In fact, it’s so good that it made me like Bohemian Rhapsody less. I still think it’s a good movie, but after seeing the extent of what it could be, I would have to lower my initial ranking to about a 7/10. As for Rocketman, I feel that it totally deserves a 9/10.