The Greatest Showman – review

A musical loosely based on the true story of PT Barnum (but ignoring the  extra exploitative and racist stuff he did) he gives up his office job with dreams of show business. He creates a circus made from unique people with unusual talents or just stuff he made up that sounds cool. Will the American public accept this as entertainment or will he go bankrupt?

Hugh Jackman started his career in musicals and after playing Wolverine for a decade, he finally gets to star in a musical of his very own. The Greatest Showman allows Jackman to fully work his musical muscles with plenty of song and dance numbers and while he does them all justice I can’t help but think that it would have been better if he was 10 years younger. Or added a second actor to portray the younger man version of his character.

Zac Efron as much as he wants us to forget about his High School Musical past, is excellent and should probably consider keeping his shirt on and getting is vocal cords out instead of his abs. His duet with Zendaya is probably the standout song of the film, thanks to some clever trapeze work. Zendaya can add this to an equally good performance in Spider-Man Homecoming.

I was happy that Michelle Williams gets to sing and dance for at least one number, but otherwise she and Rebecca Ferguson get little to do.

The story itself goes through the plot points rapidly, without too much thought, rags to riches, moral dilemma, conflict, resolution,  which is probably a good thing as too much thinking and the whole movie would fall over. But the stage musical version of The Greatest Showman would be amazing and I would go and watch it.

The Greatest Showman undoubtedly has some very catchy tunes and a fine way to spend 2hrs, but a grand, epic,  multi-view musical needs more than just a few songs and a bright red jacket to be memorable.

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