Country : U.S.A
Year of release: 2015
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Tony Bellew
Synopsis: Adonis Creed has spent his whole life fighting, whether it be opponents in a boxing ring or a legacy he doesn’t fully understand. When his desire to follow in his famous father’s footsteps becomes all consuming, Adonis seeks out a legendary fighter to help train him and in the process, the two men discover what it truly means to fight for something greater then yourself and the true meaning of family.
Review: From the brilliant opening sequence to it’s euphoric climax, Creed is a true cinematic delight. Retreading well worn ground within the Rocky franchise was always going to be a tricky proposition. Rocky’s story is one that really doesn’t need to be further explored. Indeed, according to Sylvester Stallone, he was ‘done’ with the Rocky character. Apparently, it was after seeing Fruitvale Station and hearing a compelling pitch from that film’s writer/director Ryan Coogler, that Stallone signed on. Creed certainly feels like a Rocky movie, all the tropes are there for fans of the franchise to enjoy. But, much like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Coogler has managed to find a way to inject new life and energy into the old war horse.
Part of this comes from wisely shifting the story away from Balboa, and instead focusing on his great friend and rivals illegitimate son, Adonis Creed. Adonis is a character that many of us can relate to. He never knew his father and has a lot of residual anger surrounding this. He’s a young man trying to understand why he is here and what his famous last name means to him. He’s perfectly captured by Michael B. Jordan, a young actor who I have enjoyed since his fledgling days on the acclaimed TV show, The Wire. Whether this role goes on to catapult him towards the stardom he deserves remains to be seen, he has certainly washed away the odious stench of ‘Fantastic Four’ with this performance.
As for Rocky Balboa, Stallone is as dependable as always in a role that must feel as comfortable as warm slippers. As a somewhat reluctant boxing trainer and father figure, his battles with his conscience, repressed emotions and his health are never less than believable and often thrilling to watch. His Golden Globe nomination was thoroughly deserved, even if the victory itself was debatable.
Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad are both great as the women in Adonis’s life. Thompson in particular gives a performance of charm, wit and humanity that adds real depth to her character. The other boxers in the film are all entertaining, including the main protagonist Ricky Conlan (played by professional boxer Tony Bellew).
But really, the star of the show is director Ryan Coogler. His understanding and skill with visual storytelling belies his relative inexperience. He is able to coax solid performances from minor characters, whilst offering generous amounts of style and excitement to familiar scenes and iconic moments. This is a true star-making performance, and when Coogler was confirmed as the director for Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther, I danced a little jig as I knew we were going to be in very safe, very daring hands for one of the most important comic book movies of the next 5 years.
In conclusion, Creed is a movie you should be going to see if you have done so already. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with the Rocky franchise, this movie does a great job of pleasing fans old and new. This movie is so good, it made me consider retraining in boxing, until I remembered that i’m pretty and don’t like being hit. If you don’t come out of the cinema shadow boxing and with a strong desire to chase chickens around a yard, you need to take a long hard look at yourself.
Final Score 4.5 out of 5.