Creed Review! A Knockout!
Creed Review: 4 Stars!
Let me start off by saying the Rocky movies are not my favorite movies at all. In fact I find them all boring. Yes, including the first one which I am aware won Best Picture in 1977. Boxing films are usually predictable, and structured the same, with the exception of Raging Bull which is in a different class of its own, but I usually know what to expect when I go into a boxing movie. The driven young fighter finds a mentor, fights a few matches, becomes the talk of the town, agrees to a title match against some brutal opponent, eventually overcoming the fighter in front of them, or learning a valuable lesson if they lose. Yes, this movie is just like that, but so few do it honestly, and realistically, without seeming contrived, and coming across too, "inspirational". This film flows organically as the characters grow, including Rocky who is back to train the son of Apollo Creed, Adonis, who feels he might just be able to become a great fighter of his own, but when the pressure is on, he struggles to live up to his own name.
Adonis, played so beautifully by Michael B Jordan who has a quiet rage burning underneath the surface with a hint of fear and innocence, moves to Philadelphia to seek out Rocky Balboa played once again by, Sylvester Stallone. He feels since he was the last person to see his father alive, and who fought him three times, he may be able to help mold him into the great fighter his dad was while at the same time making a name for himself. Rocky refuses at first as he runs a restaurant in his old age, but eventually the thought of getting back in the gym motivates him to seek out Adonis. It is the drive of any competitive athlete, to still wanna be in the thick of things even if you are not the one playing, or in this case, in the ring fighting. It is just another challenge for Rocky to overcome, and maybe do right by Apollo whose death he still feels responsible for.
The film isn't without it's corny, inspirational training scene's, but it's shot with such ferocity by director, Ryan Coogler who is without a question a great up and coming talent in this industry, knowing exactly where to place the camera for the most effective fight sequences since, everybody, RAGING BULL! Yes, exactly. I'm not saying he is better or on the same level as, Martin Scorsese, but he can get there. The fighting scenes are so rarely cut as he lets the fight unfold making you feel like you are watching a real pay-per-view fight on T.V. rather than a movie. It is superbly choreographed as well, moving almost like a dance as the camera spins, zooms past and around the actors who hit every punch perfectly on target.
There are breakout performances here, including from Tessa Thompson who plays, Bianca. A singer Adonis meets in his apartment who has gradual hearing loss. She too is determined to do what she loves for as long as she can until she can't do it anymore. Sylvester Stallone also is heartbreaking, reminding us he can act, as a man who has lost everyone he holds dear, even his own son who lives three-thousand miles away, but in Adonis gains another, to guide, mentor, and to love. I agree that this film was snubbed at an opportunity for an Oscar. It definitely should have at least been nominated for Best Pictures at last years Academy Awards. It is such a shame this film was overlooked even though the Academy has an up to Ten movies can be nominated policy yet they only nominated eight.
If you to are not a fan of the boxing movies like I am, I still recommend this movie, which will restore your faith in these type of films. I do hope though this is the last of the Rocky movies as it closes on a very hopeful, and somber note, but If they do decide to continue the story of Creed, they better do their best to not fall into the same pit traps that plague most sequels. I was very impressed, and pleasantly surprised as I now wish I had given this film a chance in theaters. My loss.