What is not to love about Brett Morgen’s David Bowie doc? The director has created a fascinating paean to Bowie from a montage of archive footage, which includes stage performances, backstage material and some of his most famous interviews. He captures how hugely talented, immensely intelligent and ridiculously sexy Bowie was. Alongside all that, Bowie’s innate niceness and honesty seeps through in virtually every interview. As one weeping fan from the 1970s put it: ‘He’s smashing’. And so is this documentary.

Starting from Bowie’s heyday, the viewer follows the performer onstage for his remarkable Ziggy Stardust tour. His playfulness and sexiness, plus his almost godlike hold over the audience, shine through even fifty years later. Yet Morgen also touches on Bowie’s formative years, his family life in southeast London: the significance of his half-brother Terry, who was institutionalised for schizophrenia for most of his adult life and who introduced his younger brother to jazz and to literature, and Bowie’s distant relationship with his mother (touched on in an interview with Russell Harty). Ironically, it is also Harty who brings up the subject of Bowie’s bisexuality, the beige-clad presenter sitting opposite a beautiful and brave peacock. When we see the 1970s footage, it brings home just how beige and drab the UK was. Bowie really did seem like an other-worldly, glittering and glamorous alien creature amongst all that dreariness.

Moonage DaydreamBowie’s first wife, Angie, and their child are not mentioned. In fact, most of the period between his childhood and his Ziggy Stardust years is ignored. Neither are any other relationships until he meets Iman. If the kids watching Bowie back in the 1970s looked like they were watching a god, then God knows what Bowie looked like when he first met Iman. His description of her and how he cherishes their relationship and time together is the stuff of romantic legend.

Morgen globetrots with Bowie as he moves to the US and Berlin – where he made his famous collaborations with Brian Eno – and back to London. Then there’s the famous Serious Moonlight tour, which brought Bowie greater global fame and true superstardom. After that, Bowie returned to more cerebral work, loving the chaos of the 1990s, before the final Black Star work in which he ponders his mortality and how he has lived his life. As Morgen skips through the decades, Bowie dances through them all – that sexy swagger and snake-hipped strut an utterly watchable constant throughout.

Moonage DaydreamHow did he live his life? Well, in his opinion. He would relive it all in a flash. What a life. What a legacy. How lucky we were to have had him. Brett Morgen has done the man justice with this loving film which is almost as engaging, intelligent and beautiful as its subject.