Wednesday, November 25

Creed Review

Dir: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, and Graham McTavish
Warner Bros.
132 Minutes

Two men enter the ring, only one leaves victorious. Both are battered and bruised, physically and mentally. Boxing is a battle of skill and will, some fights hurling a bombardment of punches while some are managed methodically with well planned attacks, still regardless of how swift or sluggish the fight may be, throwing a good punch is all about patience. “Creed”, a continuation of the world created by the “Rocky” films, takes its time with throwing its punches waiting for the best opportunities to mix well-composed characters with a narrative structure that builds familiarly towards the crowd pleasing final round, with creative punches landing successfully. 

Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never had the opportunity to meet his famous father, though it didn’t stop the son of Apollo Creed from taking after his father’s fighting profession. Adonis is trying to live a life without the help of his father’s name, giving up a good desk job for life inside the ring. After being turned down by numerous trainers Adonis decides to ask his father’s good friend to train him, legendary boxer Rocky Balboa.

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”. Take that sentiment and restructure it slightly and you’ll have the foundation for nearly every “Rocky” film. Why is this appealing? Why do audiences find satisfaction with this rehashed story? Well, it’s simple. Rocky Balboa is a character that is easy to cheer for and underdog stories are always fun to invest in. Plus, Rocky doesn’t always win, both in the ring and in life, which gives the story an interesting element that keeps Rocky’s journey interesting. Many of these features also apply to the film “Creed” as well, almost as if the writers watched every “Rocky” movie, took all the best parts, and composed a film that deals a new underdog story that is also a loving homage for fans of the past films.

“Creed” is finely executed in the capable hands of director Ryan Coogler who takes his time with the story and seldom loses focus on the characters. Adonis is given a proper introduction, displaying a young man living a troubled life without a father and trying to make a name on his own. Adonis is given ample time to make an impact on screen before Rocky steps into the movie, an acknowledgment to the talented Mr. Jordan who has wonderful charisma and screen presence throughout the film. And Mr. Stallone, rugged and aged, has no problem settling into the familiar role, doing a great job of playing motivator and mentor to the up and coming fighter. Having a character as iconic as Rocky Balboa in a boxing film could have easily hijacked this story and turned the film into the next Rocky story, and for a moment it feels like it is leaning in this direction. However, the film offers a nice split for the two characters to shine together, giving Adonis primary focus but allowing for the next chapter in the Rocky saga to easily play the supporting role. Both characters hold their own against each other, the mix of Adonis’ youthful “never say never” mentality and Rocky’s old school hardened charm works exceptionally well with many of the familiar setups.

As with most boxing movies everything is leading up to the big fight. Outmatched and inexperienced, Adonis must prove his worth against a foreign opponent in unfriendly territory, sound familiar? Still, it’s an entertaining and exciting finale but also a passing of the torch in some regards. “Creed” is most definitely a worthy successor and a great counterpart to the “Rocky” legacy.

Monte’s Rating

4.00 out of 5.00

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