By Owen Gleiberman
Updated June 10, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Fin Costello

It would be hard to think of a rock & roll band with more chops, and fewer hooks, than Rush. Formed in 1968, this legendary Toronto trio invented its own thick, spiky brew of early-metal prog showmanship (think Led Zeppelin without…you know, tunes). It’s a sound that many listeners adore, and that an equal number (including me) find to be among the most bombastic creations in pop.

Yet Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage is a doc that anyone can enjoy. Fans will gorge on this deft, year-by-year portrait of the ultimate enduring cult band. And even a skeptic may come away with an affection for the intricate labor of Rush’s skewed-time-signature epics. Geddy Lee, the banshee-voiced lead singer who’s like a peacock Howard Stern, grew up a nice Jewish boy, and for 40 years he has stayed nice: Even on tour with Kiss, the band avoided groupies. Maybe that explains what’s missing from Rush’s music. They’re the sound of all rock and no roll. B+