In the end, this may be a case of a pop-culture icon being dragged down by the weight of trying remain relevant past its prime. It’s not woke, but you can’t call it racist. Maybe racist-ish. Misogynistic-ish. Entertaining-ish.
Maybe Pavarotti would be even more compelling if Howard had delved deeper into the contradictions and controversies. But the director does achieve the first goal on entertainment: Always leave them wanting more.
Under the perfectly paced direction of Ry Russo-Young (“Before I Fall”), Shahidi and Melton develop an easy chemistry on the way toward a satisfying denouement that’s neither tear-jerking tragedy nor fairy-tale wish fulfillment.
For fans, counting up how many superheroes can emerge from the clown car of one three-hour movie is half the fun. For casual moviegoers — say, those who might skip minor installments such as “Ant-Man and the Wasp” — it accounts for half the exhaustion, a bit of world-building fatigue to go along with the sensory overload of a fantasy realm that seems stuck in perpetual apocalypse.
Like Tom Hanks in Big, Levy does a great job of capturing — or parodying — the giddiness of a kid flexing his adult muscles (literally and figuratively). The two-hour-plus running time breezes by in a well-paced adventure that mines familiar comic-book tropes for laughs.
Firth remains in low gear throughout his character’s transition from fuzzy dreamer to desperate schemer to mad transcendental poet. It takes a bit of voiceover to get the job done, but Firth’s steadfast refusal to chew scenery turns out to be the key to his performance
With a filmography stuffed with masterpieces, the Coen brothers’ greatest trick is balancing the ironic commentary on cinema and storytelling with the dramatic impact of compelling human stories well told. And it’s a trick they pull off again and again.
If it doesn’t have the family drama of “Walk the Line” or the psychodrama of “The Doors,” Bohemian Rhapsody does deliver what any music biopic must: convincing characters and some kick-butt simulated concert experiences.