There has been much speculation of late that there will be a gay superhero in the near future. Well, worry no more, we have found one. Rocketman is our own flawed Supergay. And he is a marvel!
Rocketman is everything the recent Queen biopic wasn’t. Maybe someday somebody will still make a movie about Freddy’s life, but the night belonged to Elton. Three stories play off simultaneously, that of the young boy Reginald (Reggie) Dwight, the rise and rise of Elton John, and Elton in rehab. But this is no dry telling of the story, in true Elton John fashion it is one mighty musical with some spectacularly staged dance sequences that simply took the breath away.
The music was part of the narrative which reflects the gay experience accurately and painfully. We confront our own demons through his story, that of rejection by family, isolation through hiding out of fear, continuing in toxic relationships, addiction and self-destruction and ultimately, redemption. The clever script intertwines all these aspects and tells the story in a way that draws us in and lets us into his secrets so we finally understand more than Elton the man but in the end ourselves. And it does so in the most entertaining way possible.
Taron Egerton is amazing as Elton. He sings his way through the whole movie with confidence and vigour and gets it spot on. It is an amazing performance for which he most certainly will get acknowledged come awards season. Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin, Elton’s life-long friends and lyricist, is a solid and authentic performance. He is the perfect foil for Egerton’s character, while Richard Madden as John Reid was a great antagonist. And thank goodness that after all the uproar that it would be cut, they did not cut the man on man sex scene. I have no idea how they will butcher this movie in Indonesia or Russia, but it is about time we see honest depictions of all our sexualities.
Why did I start off by saying Rocketman is our own superhero? Well, it’s not because of the superhero performance by Taron and the rest of the cast, or because of the amazing script and incredible production value of this well-directed film, it is about how a talented gay man could overcome his obstacles to become somebody who does amazing things in the world, not only through his music but through who he has become as a person. He may look like a demon in his red wings and horns, but gradually the angel is revealed by stripping back the layers of who he is and in the end finding love and happiness, continuing to make a difference in the world
It’s something we as queer people can all attain to. Let nothing hold you back. Be the best you can be. Overcome your demons. Your life is a musical. Sing it!