Creed Review (Spoiler Free)
A young man tries to step into his father’s shoes by making his own legacy, but to reach that goal he needs to ask an old friend of the family for help.
Director: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad & Tony Bellew.
Run Time: 133 min.
US Release: 25 November 2015
UK Release: 15 January 2016
German Release: 14 January 2016
It’s the seventh film of the franchise and boy is it a big one! Hello and welcome to my review for Creed, the latest addition to the Rocky series and possibly the best one to date. This boxing-drama was released in the States last year during Thanksgiving, but just reached the shores of Europe mid-January this year and although I only heard positive things about this movie, I was still incredibly nervous walking into the theatre.
Now I am not a real Rocky fan, I like the first movie as well as Rocky Balboa and thought that the second one was fun to watch, but the rest of the films are simply mediocre or bad. When I heard that this movie was in production it did not really excite me and I doubted that it would live up to any of the other films. Well I have been proven seriously wrong! What I experienced in the cinema was not only emotionally touching, but also offered an amazing cinematographic representation of the sport of boxing.
Creed revolves around Adonis “Donnie” Johnson, who is the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed; former rival and close friend of boxing legend Rocky Balboa. Apollo’s wife Mary Anne took in Donnie when he was a young troubled child from the streets and gets him through college, but when Johnson tells her that he quit his job to pursue his late father’s career, she snaps at him and tells him to leave.
Alone and without anyone to help him, Adonis travels to Philadelphia searching for the man that once defeated his father years ago: Rocky Balboa. Balboa is now running a small Italian restaurant named after his late wife and when Johnson asks him to train him he refuses at first. What comes after is a blossoming friendship between two men (one before, the other after his prime) who have just each other to rely on.
Creed managed to capture the spirit of the first Rocky movie and used it to develop it’s own legacy. There are strong parallels between Adonis story, wanting to make a mark of his own without the need of his father’s name, and this movie wanting to be able to stand on its own merits without ripping of the Rocky films. Coogler not only managed to pull that off, but he also directed, what is in my opinion, the best movie of the franchise surpassing even the first Rocky.
Creed is much more than a typical boxing film, at the core it is about the friendship and relationship between Donnie and Rockie; one who had no one to begin with and the other who lost his wife, friends and kids along the years, and that is what makes it so great. The boxing fights are just a side dish served with the main course.
This is a sports-drama with a beautiful and emotional message about how true strength comes from the inside. If you work hard and keep training, you have already proven that you are worth something. I am not going to lie, this movie had me close to tears during specific moments, including the end.
The dialogues were fantastic, the original Rocky was a little plumb when it came to romance, but Creed managed to hit all nails on their heads when it came to dialogues. The chats between Adonis and Bianca are heart-warming and sweet and the conversations between Adonis and Rocky are lessons for life that left me severely moved and that is in part due to the acting.
Stallone was incredible and gave one of his best performances since years. His work as of late consisted of a lot action movies, but returning as Rocky in this film he proves that he is still able to act. Just like Adonis Creed making his own mark was a metaphor for this movie, the story about Rocky is a parallel to Stallone’s acting career and he truly knocks it out of the park with his performance! He absolutely deserved the Golden Globe for best supporting actor.
Michael B. Jordan portrays Adonis Johnson fantastically. He managed to give a strong and physically brutal rendition, as well as an incredibly deep and emotional psychological performance. The way he looks up and cares for Rocky, the father figure he never had, is touching and heartbreaking.
This is a great looking movie by cinematographer Maryse Alberti. The shots of the streets of Philly look unusually realistic, as if the viewers were able to reach out and touch the pavement on which Donnie and Balboa are standing on. Adonis first real boxing match was shot in one single extended take without any cuts, which gives the fight an incredible sense of grit. You can almost smell Michael B. Jordan’s sweat and the blood as he is trying to survive the first couple of rounds.
The musical score for Creed was composed by Ludwig Göransson and was extraordinary. It not only gave the original score from Rocky a small upgrade, but had an intense and energetic soundtrack of it’s own that gets to the audience and entices them. Göransson’s composition matched that of Bill Conti in every aspect.
Verdict: Creed, the seventh movie in the Rocky series, is by far the best instalment to date. It features an impeccable and emotional story, brought to life by the amazing performances of Stallone, Jordan and Thompson. The cinematography is beautifully looking and the score is as impressive and majestic as Conti’s original. I was more than satisfied when I left the theatres and thought it was a near perfect movie, I will therefore give it a 9.5 out of 10. I implore you to watch Creed in the cinemas, because it deserves to be seen on the big screen. If you saw it already, leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it. My next post will be uploaded this Thursday and will about The 5th Wave, the new movie starring ChloëGrace Moretz. Thank you very much for reading and if you enjoyed this review, make sure you share and like it!