Rocketman ★★½

Doing this as an actual musical does give it a little bit of unusual flavor for a rock biopic. Taron has a really good voice, and the middle portions where Elton’s so far gone on drugs he’s stumbling from one disconnected scene to another is maybe the best excuse anyone’s ever come up with for biopicitis, the affliction that boils a person’s life only down to its most momentous days and on-the-nose conversations. 

And yet even with all of that said, Rocketman still feels like basically ever other music biopic, and for every choice I admired, there was at least one that gave me the eye rolls. The disapproving parents, the sanitized hedonism, the flashbacks from the end of the story to the start, the tired redemption arc. The only thing that’s different about this version is Elton’s music (which, to be fair, is amazing and I am definitely going to be diving back into it for a while). It just seems like the movie and its creator did not learn the lesson Elton has to learn in Rocketman: Putting on a snazzy, glittery front can disguise the problems at your core, but it can’t fix them. Those have to be faced head on.