Creed was exciting from start to finish, and to quote a line from the film, “you belong here!” Creed does indeed belong in the Rocky saga. It was a passionate film, directed by a young passionate film-maker named Ryan Coogler, who happens to be much more talented with his directing ability than his writing, but I’ll get to the script’s flaws later.
First and foremost, the fight scenes in this film are amazing and some of the best you’ll ever see. The final showdown in the end was brilliantly edited and cut, there was also a fight in the middle of the film that was absolutely brilliant. This particular fight was shot entirely on a single take without any cuts. And it wasn’t just a one round fight either. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that done in a boxing movie and this single take method was very effective at creating tension.
Coogler has managed to build a completely new atmosphere for this franchise that gives a sense of difference and change but at the same time , affixes us to the city of Philadelphia that we have known and loved since the original Rocky with the perfectly cued original soundtracks that assures us that we are actually connected to the world we always loved. It is evident that the style of direction that Coogler used for this movie is something completely different from the previous Rocky movies. This film had a somber tone throughout. It didn’t have that comic book, campy, superhero vibe to it like so many of the sequels had. Homages to Rocky’s patented training sequences were cool to watch too.
Stallone works a miracle, taking a character we all know and adding new dimensions as he ages and confronts the end of his days. Now Michael B. Jordan, the young actor who plays Adonis Creed is equally brilliant. I’ve admired his work ever since he played the doomed young drug runner in the HBO series ‘The Wire’, but the character of Adonis Creed isn’t really as compelling as the character of Rocky Balboa. And I think I know why.
When you watch the original Rocky, what really jumps out at you in the first half hour is not that Rocky is tough, or a great boxer. What jumps out at you is that he’s a nice guy in a tough neighborhood who takes abuse from literally everyone. The mob boss, the boss’ driver, the lady who runs the pet shop, the kids on the corner, the guy who runs the gym — Rocky has a place in their world, and it’s at the bottom of the pecking order.
The point being, audiences cheered for Rocky because they had a full sense of the man and his place in the world. But that isn’t really true of young Adonis Creed. He has a rich mother who adores him, and a father he’s never met, and that’s about it. We don’t know what his buddies think of him, or the neighborhood he comes from, or who he really is — other than the son of Apollo Creed. You just can’t buy into a hero you don’t really know. And that’s why this movie, as wonderful as it is, remains just shy of great.
Give it a watch if you have nothing better to do, or if you just really want to see a somewhat satisfying resolution to the Rocky franchise.
Creed gets a 7.6/10.