Creed is essentially a re-boot of the Rocky franchise showcasing fresher, younger hands.
The film centers around the trials of son of legendary fighter Apollo Creed, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan). Creed grows up in a juvenile corrections facility and in and out of group homes until Apollo Creed’s wife (but not Adonis’ biological mother) Mary Ann (Phylicia Rashad) takes him in.
18 years later, Creed is following in his father’s footsteps as a pro boxer in Tijuana. By day, he is a desk jockey in Los Angeles, but he knows that it is not the life for him. We see him studying tape of his father fighting Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), imitating his fathers motions in the glow of the video projector.
Creed fights with a chip on his shoulder, as if he has something to prove. Jordan embodies this determined rage well.
Ultimately, he decides to quit his job and move to Philadelphia to train under the tutelage of Balboa himself.
Jordan anchors the success of the film. he is a refreshing addition to a tired franchise, and taking Stallone’s place at center stage gives Stallone the chance to be meditative and mentor-like. The chemistry between the two is great. Stallone is in good form; the best he has been in years.
Perhaps the main issue with the film is the high number of extraneous characters that are introduced early in the film. The amount of time spent showing characters being introduced is strangely high, especially considering the effective info graphic technique that is used off the bat.
Close to this issue is the similar issue of the underdevelopment of Rashad’s character. Once Creed leaves L.A., her character all but disappears, only to reappear later as if the character still holds some importance to the story in spite of her absence.
The fight choreography early on is simply but elegant. The camera pans circles around fighters, occasionally pushing in where necessary. This makes the fight choreography all the more impressive as the rounds are extended single takes.
The climax, however, changes this tone and amps up the adrenaline. It is paced wonderfully by a combination of montage, parallel editing, and well-timed speed adjustments.
When all is said and done, Creed is nothing new, but it is a solid addition to the boxing oeuvre. Bolstered by strong performances from Jordan and Stallone, the film is a late-year gem.
Midway through the movie, Creed, during one of the patented Rocky-style montages, takes a stab at creating a “running up the Philadelphia Museum of Art stairs” moment. Surprisingly, this moment is equally as effective as the original, famous montage. That is how well this film stacks up to the original.
As always, thanks for reading!
Have you seen Creed? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)