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The shiny, imaginative Elton John biopic is currently in theaters.

Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

Metacritic score: 73

Any worthwhile movie about Elton John must be much, much larger than life. John has been a legend for decades — his songs are ubiquitous, his stage presence iconic. But Rocketman is smart enough to not try to outshine its star. It’s flashy because its spectacular subject is a lightsource all his own.

The film absolutely explodes with energy because Elton John is its pulse. It stumbles a few times — as has John — but on the whole, it’s a consistently good biopic and jukebox musical from start to finish, a movie rooted in a real story that nonetheless doesn’t tether itself too close to the ground.

Which is a bit of a relief. You don’t have to be a fan of Elton John’s music to know his music; even the most pop culture-oblivious person knows “Your Song,” and “Tiny Dancer,” and “Rocket Man.” And it’s easy, watching Taron Egerton play Elton John whipping a crowd into a frenzy, to understand his genius. Rocketman is a solid introduction to the singer that is also guaranteed to please his fans.

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