Rocketman ★★½

Is there a more dull and trope filled genre than the music biopic? I don't know. But about 30 minutes into Rocketman, I came to the realization that no matter how you dress it up, no matter how uniquely you incorporate the music and artist hardships, I simply don't think there is a way to hook me into a music biopic.

Rocketman's whimsical fantasy aesthetic is fine and almost gets you involved with what's happening. But it's major failing is that it's a cliff notes style retelling of Elton John's career. At times the fantasy sequences feel like they're being used to mask or skim over the darkest parts of the story (particularly Elton's alcohol and substance abuse issues).

Rocketman incorporates an AA-style meeting as a framing device for the narrative. Throughout the film we go back to the meeting with each new scene showing that Elton has shed pieces of his flamboyant attire (read: persona). It culminates in a somewhat trope-ish but surprising way. However, it would have had much more of an impact if we got a more honest depiction of Elton John's issues throughout the movie. Instead, the movie is robbed of a much more cathartic and satisfying ending.

The music is good. Of course. The one bright side of music biopics for me is the rediscovering of good music. And the way the music is incorporated is pretty fun. But I still just didn't find myself caring a whole lot about much else of the movie.

No matter how much creative energy goes into a music biopic, you go in knowing it's going to have all the trappings of the genre. Sadly, Rocketman is no different.

Matt liked this review