What’s this? A movie that is in theaters at this very moment being reviewed? I guess i’m slipping. Some spoilers are here.
There are lots of movies i haven’t reviewed on here yet, one of them is the original ROCKY and its numerous sequels. It is my goal to eventually review all of the movies that i own here on Ten Years Too Late, at this rate though its gonna take a while.
Not that the above paragraph really has much to do with the movie CREED, i just felt like wasting your time a bit. I have essentially used up a bit of your life, just like Count Rugen did to Wesley, and i didn’t even need to build a machine to do it.
So lets get straight to it.
Can the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed live up to the legend? And most importantly make one of his own?
There’s been a lot of buzz around Michael B. Jordan, none of which i have paid attention to because i don’t care much about movie and film press (by choice and actual apathy). However considering it has reached my ears it must be quite the big buzz. Thankfully it’s not unfounded, indeed Jordan gives the film much of its heart by embodying a man who is driven by his anger and pride but still managing to be likable despite it, by infusing his Creed with a great amount of charisma and vulnerability. The supporting players of Tessa Thompson and Stallone are no less heartfelt either.
A large part of that likeability must also be credited to the strong writing within the film. Adonis Creed is appropriately (and thankfully) given the lions share of the running time, and in that time his motivations for his anger are explored thoroughly and gain both relatability and most importantly believably. His anger at his father and his name would easily seem childish if it was the sole driving force in his life, but the script thankfully provides other influences in Rocky’s failing health and a growing romance.
The film considering its roots in the ROCKY franchise could easily have fallen into being overly sappy or motivational. Thankfully once again the script and Ryan Coogler’s direction doesn’t stay too long on any one of the heavily dramatic scenes so that they over stay their welcome, it instead adds and piles them on top of Adonis’ shoulders and makes his fight not only a physical one but also a spiritual one.
Speaking of fights, special mention must be made for Adonis’ first ranked fight, and how Coogler in choosing to do it all in one large take manages to make it one of the most tense and nail biting onscreen fights that i have yet seen in a movie.
Ludwig Göransson provides a very good score, in particular he dodges using Rocky’s famous theme (for the most part) and instead endeavors to give Adonis his own musical identity that evolves through the film. While it is not as immediately tear jerking, memorable, or delightfully cheesy as the various themes in ROCKY they are more appropriately suited for this new character.
Ironically enough the film and its main character isn’t living in Apollo Creed’s shadow, it’s living in Rocky’s. Every comparison and judgement made on it was contrasted directly to what came before, and ultimately it doesn’t stack up as well to the classic original or ROCKY BALBOA in emotional punch. I didn’t shed a tear during CREED, even when the heaviest dramatic hits came. While i credit the film for not being too sappy, the sappiness is what supplies the heart in the best films of the ROCKY franchise.
Honestly i don’t feel enough was done to move CREED away from the Rocky movies in this outing, i honestly think Rocky should have died in this installment. As it would let the series start completely on its own for the next immediate outing (although what would that leave the next movie to do? I’m sure that’s going to be what happens in the next movie). Also the film has Creed heading straight into a title match against a superior opponent instead of trying something different (the outcome is also predictable if ROCKY is kept in mind as a template).
I was also disappointed to hear a couple of Rocky’s themes used towards the end, as opposed to the beginning (where i feel it is more appropriate), as it once again draws comparison to Rocky instead of Apollo or Adonis’ struggles by its very nature.
CREED despite some minor flaws is a well written and brilliantly acted follow up to the conclusion of the Rocky series. It certainly sets the stage for this new boxer’s stories, of which i’m genuinely curious to see.
You should see it, it’s great.
OUT OF FIVE