Rocketman isn’t so much a biopic about Elton John as it is a film that indulges into the fantasies that have defined his creative process, while telling his story in a digestible manner. But at that, what director Dexter Fletcher presents to the screen in Rocketman is everything that is so unapologetically Elton John at that, without ever shying away from the roughest parts of his lifestyle – for he notably said that he never lived a PG-13 life as one of the world’s best-selling musicians. Yet it’s always the best parts of the film that remain every bit as glorious as they possibly could ever be, whether it be the sex, drugs, or just living at the height of one’s own life within the 1970’s, all creating what isn’t only the perfect portrait of Elton John as an artist but also as a person. It’s impressive enough that Dexter Fletcher manages to make a film that celebrates everything Elton John had made himself out to be from beginning to end, because there’s a point to which you’ll find yourself feeling like you aren’t watching a music biopic anymore. Putting it lightly, I think it’s gonna be a long, long time before we get another film of this sort – because even if it may not be perfect it still soars up higher than most modern biopics would.
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I never felt that the first Kingsman film deserved the praise it received so the idea of a sequel coming this soon had little to no appeal to me. Even less appealing was the idea that Matthew Vaughn was returning to direct based on how he has previously blended action and comedy from another Mark Millar comic (Kick-Ass, which I also find rather off-putting to a degree), so my expectations were never high. And even with my expectations placed at a low, I thought to myself about how much I’d rather sit through the first Kingsman again because it seemed like a more focused piece of work right next to this sequel. Not that it makes the first film any better than it is, but all the better aspects of it shine out when looking at how much of it is done far worse in this sequel.
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There’s a point to which biopics can go play on such a by-the-numbers route, suddenly it makes the subject uninteresting. Eddie the Eagle is exactly this sort of biopic, in which we have the story of its titular athlete, going through specific trials within his life to achieve what he is setting out for, and in the end, we already know he is triumphant. Where does Eddie the Eagle commit more of a sin? It’s a very average film that could have been that, but with the very nature of its averageness, there’s also a level to which it comes off as manipulative. Continue reading →