Rocketman (2019)

I almost groaned at the opening to Rocketman as Taron Egerton mid-impromptu therapy stares down his younger self.  I think, may the self-flagellation and hero worship commence! But Rocketman alleviates those drudgerous concerns when the younger Reginald Dwight bursts into post-war London with a roaring “The Bitch is Back” introduction.  His youthful fantasies in London domestic dismay present pre-pre-teen escapism. Rocketman’s story of Elton John’s unlikely rise to the biggest selling artist in the world and downfall into endless excess is handled bounds better than Freddie Mercury’s fate in Bohemian Rhapsody: it’s really beneficial to get a say in your story rather than let your living bandmates feast on your legend.

Taron Egerton turns on the ham factor for playing the flamboyant songwriter.  Shifting from booze and cocaine drenched to that show face, he has his own super villain persona where his foe seemed to be himself; except there really was a villain in producer John Reid (Richard Madden, Game of Thrones), the same dickbag who pushed Mercury in BR.  Egerton pulls the impersonation through to understanding the very troubled man underneath. There’s a showman in Egerton that’s usually buried in dude vibes, and it’s delightful to see him physically dive into a comedic musical who doesn’t dwell too much on Elton’s depression at the time; they allow him to slide in the ever-elusive happy ending for a gay man.  Happy Pride Month, ya’ll! We’re allowed to be happy!!


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