Ash’s review published on Letterboxd:
Probably closer to a 3-3.5 in terms of actual filmmaking quality but I had such a blast with it that I’m boosting the rating. Sadly it is impossible to talk about what Rocketman does well without comparing it to Bohemian Rhapsody; there are a number of similarities in terms of the use of CGI, rise-to-fame montages and the way the performances are executed. The low fantasy route this film takes makes all of the above work much better than it has in other recent permutations. They’re rather silly in how they are presented (a certain scene with a spinning piano comes to mind) and it’s all part of the fun. Taron Egerton is as good as everyone is saying he is (and so are the younger Eltons), but it would be remiss to not also praise the consistently great Jamie Bell, who gives a subdued yet powerful performance as Bernie Taupin. The film doesn’t go too hard on the sex and drugs, but there’s just enough that the film doesn’t feel PG-washed to bring in bigger audiences (there’s even the word ‘cunt’ sprinkled in there for added edge).
Rocketman is a great example of how to break the bland biopic mould, keeping all its elements and typical flashback narrative framework, but making it feel compelling. Working more as a musical than just needle dropping for nostalgias sake is a stroke of genius. I’m still slightly pissed that so much of Elton’s life is thrown in as a pre credit footnote, however this feels like a film that both does his legacy justice and gives us more insight into who he actually is.