Ever present in my mind was the idea that the Rocky series was this amazing, well-rounded story that will hold up forever. In actuality it is anything but that, with the series spiralling on an ever downward motion until the abomination that was Rocky V. A stale formula attempting to rekindle the working class grit of Rocky is everything that the series didn’t need (and the father son thing, I mean come on). And in a way that is everything that is so refreshing about Creed. The formula is somewhat in tact but rooting for another champ changes the game completely.
Creed follows the rise of the biological son of Apollo Creed, Adonis, who was born after Apollo passed away. Wanting to make his way through the ranks to the big time, ‘Donnie’ seeks the help of his father’s greatest competitor, Rocky Balboa (Stallone). Through persistence alone, Creed manages to convince Rock to help him be the best he can be, to be the fighter his father was.
If there has ever been a better example of what attaching a young budding star and director can do to a project that would otherwise seem stale, I have not seen it. Michael B. Jordan shines as Adonis Creed, solidifying himself as an out and out star of the future and present. In front of the camera of second time feature director (both films starring Jordan) Ryan Coogler, who’s first film Fruitvale Station stands out as one of the most impactful films I have seen in the past five years, brings all of his tricks to create an absolutely exhilarating film from start to finish.
It is the little things that make Creed to exciting, not just for Rocky fans but film fans in general. From training montages to exuberant ring entrances, Creed is a display of beautiful cinematography and brilliant direction. Another aspect of the film that sets it apart from what has come before, is the way the fight scenes are shot. Almost at times seemingly like it is floating on a breeze, the camera panning is spot on creating a seriously invigorating experience for the viewer with the final fight being brutal and visceral yet no less beautiful.
Away from the boxing, Jordan’s love story with Tessa Thompson’s Bianca is effortless. Jordan oozes charisma, seemingly without trying and his scenes with Thompson have this lovely feel of a couple of mates having some banter. It all becomes serious when it has to be without reaching a point of cliché, something that this film in its entirety manages to do.
Creed is the perfect love letter to a franchise that has had trouble differentiating its films from one another and the fans that have been knocked down for the past few instalments. It may be Rocky’s seventh round but what a come back it is. With Stallone seemingly tamed under a young assured director, the idea of a boxing movie with under the Rocky family becomes a beautiful reality. Never slowing down, never feeling dull, Creed is a nostalgia sequel that is so much more.
Never slowing down, never feeling dull, Creed is a nostalgia sequel that is so much more.