top of page
  • Writer's pictureKaveh Jalinous

Rocketman (2019): Film Review

Although Bohemian Rhapsody came out nearly seven months ago, the film still gives me anxiety. Being one of the most anticipated films of 2018, I walked into the theater praying that the film would surpass my through-the-roof expectations. Now, if you know me, or if you read my review of B***n S*****'s film, you would know one thing: I absolutely hate Bohemian Rhapsody. Everything about it, from the horrible editing to the crusty lip-syncing, it was all just awful. So, when I heard that another musical biopic was coming out, this time about famed British singer Elton John, was on the way, I was not happy about the news. But, trailers pointed out that this one, this film, would be different then the mess that was Bohemian Rhapsody - particularly due to the fact that this would be a literal musical filtered into the hectic life and career of the ultimate British singer with real actors singing the famous tunes by John himself. For me, that was a redeeming factor, and showed that the film held promise. But sadly, after seeing the movie, it is completely evident that Rocketman is more of the same, holding the capacity of an Elton John wikipedia article with a few tweaks here and there. Rocketman is exactly how it sounds - a by the books depiction of the rise of singer Elton John, chronicling his up's, down's, and everything in between. The film is reflective and nostalgic in its depiction of the story, as it is a collection of flashbacks imagined by John while at rehab, thinking over his life and jumping through various defining memories from childhood to the start of his career. Along the way, the audience discovers how John overcame the difficulties of the industry, the difficulties of family matters, and the difficulties of various intoxicants. While doing this, the film portrays Elton John's life the way he wants it to be portrayed - as a full on musical using John's music as the backdrop for his life. By far, the most defining factor of Rocketman lies in Taron Egerton's fantastic performance and voice, as he truly captures the spirit and charisma of the British singer in his entirety. The two look the exact same, and have extremely similar voices, and through the film, Egerton has proven to the world that he is a fantastic actor who should not be looked over, as he is a major player in the game. The supporting cast, specifically Jamie Bell and Richard Madden, also do a fantastic job in their roles, but no actor in the film holds a candle to Egerton's sensational performance. For me, there were some parts of the film that really worked, and others that fell completely flat. And for me, it was very easy to decipher what part of the film I liked, and what part I just did not enjoy as much. I really loved the musical aspect of the film, and the borderline drawn between fantasy and reality. This aspect of the film does a spectacular job in really defining what Elton John's life truly was, and massively succeeds in this portion of the two hour movie. The problem was the rest of the movie: the formulaic mess that piles exposition on top of exposition, hoping that the viewer won't mind being given straight facts. This part of the film felt too average and cliched, falling flat just like the music biopics prior to it - especially since it felt exactly like Bohemian Rhapsody, something I hated. So to sum it all up, Rocketman works, but only for around 50% of the time. Spectacular performances and beautiful musical numbers are practically erased by sweltering exposition and too much information - the usual, which is such a disappointment given how set up the film was for success. Alas, the wait continues for the next good musical biopic - I just hope we get one soon, one that can put its full effort into breaking the status quo. Rocketman was a step in the right direction, but we need more. We need a lot more.



bottom of page