Creed is the seventh film of the Rocky franchise, and for someone like me – a teenager who has never seen any of the franchise as I have clearly been living under a rock – it was a great advert to go back and watch all the other six films.
Adonis Johnson is a kid who loves to fight. After finding out who is father is – Rocky’s respectable rival, Apollo Creed – he grows up wanting to become a boxer. He risks everything to fulfil his dream, in a predictable, yet moving tale.
Firstly, I want to say that Michael B. Jordan is a fantastic actor. He teams up again in Creed with director Ryan Coogler, with whom he worked on Fruitvale Station (if you haven’t watched that before, go and do it now, and thank me later). His character in this is slightly similar – a young black guy, who although deep down is a good person, is liable to making bad choices – but my god, does Jordan play it well. His cocky yet humble persona jumps off the screen and he is instantly likable, winning over Rocky as well as the audience.
And next, the man who has already won the Critic’s Choice and Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actor – Sylvester Stallone. He’s a legend of the screen, and he really didn’t let us down with this performance. Despite some questionable films of late, Stallone shone in every scene he was in. It is Rocky Balboa’s story that tugs at the heartstrings, and Stallone added some perhaps unseen before raw emotion to the character.
The camerawork is excellent, in particular in the actual matches that Adonis fights in. Using 360 shots it gives a great in-the-ring perspective, and although it can make you dizzy at times it’s amazing to see the blood, sweat, and punches up close. The soundtrack added to the movie well, with Childish Gambino, Future, Meek Mill, and 2pac all featuring, and the score of course featured the classic Rocky theme tune hook, ‘Gonna Fly Now’. That was just one example of how the film paid homage to the franchise, which can surely please the die-hard fans.
You do get some amount of cheese with a film like this, and there was a fair few times, but only once did it drive me to the distraction of checking my phone on the sly. The love story between Adonis and Bianca (Tessa Thompson) was a bit weak and seemed to develop way too quickly, although it is probably still necessary in a movie of this genre. It doesn’t go too far off-script from the original recipe that made Rocky such a global hit (young, unknown boxer gets a chance, works hard, shocks everyone, wins the girl) and that could potentially be seen as a negative. I think it would do no harm to spread its wings a little and try something different, but don’t change a winning formula, right?
A great feel-good film, I’d recommend any fan of the Rocky franchise to watch this. Maybe not a new classic, but it certainly didn’t harm the legacy that Rocky has built.
Check out the trailer:
What do you think? Will you be seeing Creed? Have you already seen it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or tweet @film_swot.
Author: Andrew Petrie