scott aa wilson’s review published on Letterboxd:
The musical biopic must be the most vapid genre.
Having an actor sing sub-par versions of superstar performances readily available on Youtube - or lip-sync entirely - is pointless. By focusing on the spectacle rather than any sort of nuance, all these films do is make you wish you were watching the real thing, like the way Disney live-action adaptions make you long for the animated original.
They only work when they remember the medium of film is actually quite good at telling stories. Love and Mercy put the music aside to focus on Brian Wilson's spiral, both as it happened and how he lives with it now.
It told a story that reading his Wikipedia article could never substitute for. Rocketman is a greatest hits journey through an Elton John synopsis with a few karaoke attempts thrown in along the way.
There's nothing here that's told better because it's a dramatised biopic. Even as someone with little interest in Elton John, a well-made documentary is able to turn such disinterest around, such as with the recent Whitney film. John himself is a charismatic, larger than life figure, so why use anyone else to tell a story no one could tell better apart from the man himself?
There's nothing 'wrong' with Rocketman. But if you watch films for wonder and imagination, for what storytelling can really do on a personal and universal level, what could be less invigorating than this?