HOLLYWOOD—Let me be very clear please don’t attempt to compare “Bohemian Rhapsody” to “Rocketman.” Yes, while both movies are about musical icons, one about Freddie Mercury, the other about Elton John, they are not similar to say the least. How so? “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a biopic (actually a drama) that had music in it, while “Rocketman” is an actual musical. That is a major difference because with “Rocketman” our characters literally burst out into song and dance during various points of the movie, hence the word ‘musical.’
Let me say this right now Taron Egerton shines in the role of Elton John, who before growing to fame was known as Reginald ‘Reggie’ Dwight; quiet, yet a precocious kid who showed an interest in music at a very early age. Egerton delivers a sensational performance embodying an icon that was known for his theatrics on the stage and his over-the-top antics.
Not only does Taron feel like a splitting image of a young Elton, he even sings. Yes, there are so many movies made about musical geniuses where the portrayer is afraid to actually showcase their vocal chops, Egerton doesn’t have that fear. Anyone who saw that animated flick “Sing” are well aware of Egerton’s musical capabilities. Now, is the guy Elton John, of course not, but he does a damn good job vocally. This musical doesn’t veer too much off the typical path we see with most musicals that showcase our icon struggle to obtain fame.
A mass majority of Elton’s chaos revolved around his relationship with his parents portrayed by Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh. His parents were slightly cold, not necessarily in a bad way, but you could tell he wasn’t getting a ton of hugs from mom and dad on a daily basis. Elton has a contentious relationship with songwriter Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), who is one of Elton’s closet pals. We see the highs, the lows and the really lows between these two. This especially transpires as Elton engages in a sexual relationship with music manager John Reid (Richard Madden).
Reid has a bad impact on Elton’s life as he dives deep into drugs, sex, alcohol and everything bad we always hear about with most musicians. “Rocketman” as I stated before is a musical and for those who are not fans of musicals (I happen to be one of them), it’s hard to wrap your head around a flick where people just burst out into song and dance after an argument.
Now if you can look past that, you find yourself immersed in tale that has amazing music. I mean the catalogue for Elton John alone is extensive and trust me you will NOT leave this movie without singing a few songs along the way. The music gets stuck in your head and to be honest I think that is an amazing thing for a musical; that is what you want from your audience. I entered the theater with mediocre expectations for this musical and I must admit after leaving the theater, I was far more impressed with “Rocketman” than I expected. That should tell you everything you need to know about this movie.