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It’s hard not to compare Rocketman to Bohemian Rhapsody. They both tell stories of larger than life, flamboyant, at times closeted pop stars that dominated the music scene in the seventies and early eighties. They both, obviously, heavily feature said pop star’s music. They both track the meteoric rise of the pop star through drug-fueled lows and back again. The central performance from an unexpected actor dominates each film, and while Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher didn’t receive credit on Bohemian Rhapsody, he did step in on that film after its original director, Bryan Singer, departed. Hell, both films feature music manager John Reid as a supporting character played by a Game of Thrones actor (Richard Madden for Elton, Aiden Gillen for Freddie). But really, Rocketman is leagues better than Bohemian Rhapsody, for two main reasons: it doesn’t sugar coat or whitewash the story, and it leans into the colorful reputation of the main character. While Rocketman is sometimes messy, it is the bright, bedazzled fantasia spectacle that makes sense for the bright, bedazzled fantasia performer that is Sir Elton John.

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