Creed – 4 out of 5
Boxing isn’t really my cup of tea. Now, I know the few loyal readers I have and people who know me personally are saying that this isn’t really news worthy because I’m not a sports guy and you definitely have a very valid argument. However, of all the sports that sport, boxing is probably the lowest on my list of sports—even below curling and competitive eating. Even though my very un-active self doesn’t dig this shining example of athletic prowess and knocking people’s brains around, I’ve always enjoyed the Rocky films. While they aren’t my go-to films for entertainment, every time I’ve watched them I’ve been engaged and entertained—even slightly motivated to get in shape (although, that never lasts long). So, does Creed stand victorious in the middle of the ring with its hand raised high in the air or did this one go down for the count? (Almost like my stupid hack line I ended this paragraph with.)
|I'm going to get my ass kicked for that lame pun question, aren't I?|
Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) is the illegitimate child of famed boxer Apollo Creed. He never met his father and spent his childhood years in and out of youth facilities. One day, he’s taken in by Creed’s widow; Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad), and it’s from there he sets out to make a name for himself in boxing—but strives to do so on his on and not on his father’s name. When he’s old enough, he packs up and leaves L.A. for Philadelphia in hopes he can train with his father’s best friend and best rival; Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Reluctantly, Rocky agrees and along the way Adonis starts dating a singer named Bianca (Tessa Thompson). All seems well and his training seems to be on the right course until fate steps in and Rocky is sidelined with illness and a troublesome fighter named “Pretty” Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellew) discovered Adonis’ past and seeks to meet him in the ring.
|Remember when the internet freaked out with Jordan being cast as the Human|
Torch in Fantastic Four and he ended being one of the best things about
that awful movie?
Essentially, Creed is a sequel, a spin-off and a reboot all rolled into one. It’s simultaneously continuing Rocky Balboa’s story, bringing new life to the franchise and forging a new path with a character stemmed from one of the franchise’s icons. On the surface, it seems like just another sports movie and just another Rocky film but it’s a pretty ambitious feature. Had this film failed, it would have been considered another example of “unoriginal Hollywood making a mad dash for easy cash by churning out another remake/reboot/sequel” but this film feels so much deeper than just another addition to this established franchise.
|On any other man, that hat would look dumb. But not on Rocky!|
Granted, this film hits all the notes you know that are going to be hit when you sit down with it but when you combine absolutely tremendous performances from Sly Stallone and Jordan and combine it with some stellar directing from Ryan Coogler you are treated to a sports film that is inspiring, emotional and exciting. Additionally, the film has some absolutely incredible camera work during the actual boxing matches that really puts you in the heat of it all and makes you feel the gravity of what Adonis is going through and the legacy that he is trying to live up to but, at the same time, start to forge his own. It really came together for a beautiful rendition of what a sports film is supposed to be and something that belongs in the legacy of the other films.
|I'm not even going to ruin this great pic with a dumb joke.|
|They should have called him "Intense Eyed Stare"|
Ricky Conlan, amirite? (That was awful.)
The only downside I had with the movie is that I wasn’t too thrilled with the development of the man who would be Adonis’ opponent in the climactic battle; “Pretty” Ricky Conlan. While he’s developed serviceable enough where you understand he’s a hothead and a bit cocky and he’s antagonistic enough where you want to see him lose against our hero thanks to the press conference scene where he’s talking his crap but, in the end, he never felt that strong of an obstacle for Adonis to climb--not as strong as Adonis' desire to be his own man. While it’s still a momentous occasion when he fights him and the outcome brought me to very, very manly tears (that’s my story), I still felt like the character was terribly one-dimensional—especially when you concern how dynamic and real everyone else felt.
|Yeah! Sting like a butterfly and float like a bee or something!|
Overall, Creed is just a killer addition to the Rocky franchise but, at its core, it’s a stellar sports drama filled with heart and character that could have easily existed on its own merit--which is a nice parallel to the titular character. The film looks good, the cast is absolutely astounding and the whole thing is just exciting and inspirational. It’s what a film from this franchise is supposed to be…and it does so as it passes the torch on to a new generation!