Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and half stars)
Star Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashād, Tony Bellew
Director: Ryan Coogler
What’s Good: Even though Creed is formulaic, the film brilliantly recaptures the Rocky era. This addition of present to the epic series is certainly a welcome move and in fact a perfect fit for the franchise to re-enter the business.
What’s Bad: At the roots of it all, Creed is quite a predictable underdog story which rises to the occasion when required. Ryan Coogler smartly dishes out a story that otherwise could not have had an impact with a Rocky touch, thus giving it a packing punch.
Loo Break: Don’t Even Think!
Watch or Not?: Definitely! There are three reasons I could suggest you to watch Creed. 1. The film is an excellent decedent of the Rocky series which wavered in between but gave us an unforgettable parting film like Rocky Balboa.
2. Creed is technically as well as thematically smarter than the Rocky series and hence worth a watch. 3. Can you honestly resist watching Sylvester Stallone entering the ring once again, may be not to jab but to teach?
The story takes off from Adonis Johnson/Creed’s ( Michael B. Jordan) early years when he is moving from foster cares to juvenile prisons. As a child, Adonis is filled with anger and is always looking to pick a fight. Hearing about his violent episodes, Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad) who is Apollo Creed’s wife, visits Adonis (who is Apollo’s illegitimate son) and decides to take him in her custody. Providing him all the necessary facilities, Mary Anne brings him up fine.
Adonis starts working and even has a perfect job, yet something is missing in his life and that is boxing. Lying to his mother, Adonis takes up a few street fights and Tijuana and eventually decides to give up his job for a full-time boxing career.
After confessing it to his mother, Adonis leaves home and moves to Philadephia. His first stop for training is Delphi gym, the place where Rocky started along with Mickey’s training. Soon Adonis comes looking for Rocky at his restaurant Adrian’s and coaxes him to become his trainer. Resisting at first, Rocky eventually impressed by Adonis’ commitment, starts training him. After winning his first local fight, Adonis is challenged by British fighter ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlaln for a match.
Is Adonis ready to take on a world champion and will he embrace his dad’s name Creed for the fight is what lies ahead.
Creed Review: Script Analysis
What seems extremely surprising is the fact that Creed starts off extremely predictably and formulaic when it comes to the plot but as it progresses, it unravels beautifully into an underdog story. Ryan Coogler who has written as well as directed the film, does a fine job of connecting the past and the present of Rocky to this tale. If everyone thought the entire Rocky series was all about him, Coogler makes sure to remind us that there was another hero too, Apollo Creed. This story celebrates Creed, who was once the villain and then a friend to Rocky in the franchise.
The story of Creed is a good reminder to us of the first and porbably best Rocky film ever made in 1976.
Laced with some fine dialogues, the script does full justice to the film. Even in the smallest of scenes like, when Adonis takes down his routine on a paper from Rocky and then taking a snapshot uploads it on his icloud, Rocky who is now much older, is seen wondering about ‘cloud’ as he gazes up in the sky.
We also hear some classic dialogues like, “It ain’t about how hard you can hit.It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
Cooglar succeeds in making us sympathize with Adonis’ character as he has struggled being the illegitimate son and the cries of being called ‘fake creed’. His determination to wash off those claims certainly work.
What is definitely not easy to digest in the story is Adonis being challenged by the world champion Ricky Conlan and in spite of his freshly started training Creed accepting it. This seems like a far fetched reality. Also, the twist that Rocky’s tale takes in the second half is kind of cliched and in fact could have been avoided altogether. Unnecessary sub-plots form a minor distraction from the main story here.
Creed Review: Star Performance
Michael B Jordan essays the protagonist Adonis Creed. He is extremely convincing as the younger Creed and his angst portrayed extremely well. Jordan shines in certain scenes. A disarming sense of humor that Creed’s character is pulled off incredibly by Jordan. Who would have thought, the teenage drug dealer from Wallace in The Wire could look so efficient as a boxer in Creed.
Sylvestor Stallone may be too old to get into the ring now but his charm isn’t. The star is extremely comfortable in his role as the now aged boxer who loves to walk a mile to meet his beloved late wife Adrian and best friend Paulie at the graveyard. Stallone wins you in certain scenes, like the last one when he and Jordan walk up the steps of Philadelphia Museum of Art and look at the city’s view. There is a certain sense of innocence and longing that Rocky’s character has in this film and it is emoted extremely well by Stallone.
Tessa Thompson plays Bianca, the love interest of Adonis in the film. Her character of a rising Philadelphia musician does not have much to offer but support to her boyfriend Creed in the ring.
Real life professional boxer, Tony Bellew plays Ricky Conlaln, the heavy weight champion who challenges Creed. He obviously excels in the fight scenes.
Creed Review: Music, Direction
Ryan Coogler’s love for the Rocky series is quite evident in his work. He takes us back to the most visited places from the series, be it Balboa’s restaurant Adrian’s or the now polished Mickey’s gym. The scenes that he captures from the streets of Philly where Creed is seen practicing are brilliant, especially as he races withe bikers.
The agile camerawork is marvelous and now we know, we have come a long way from the first Rocky film, which shot the fight scenes in the ring from the right side. Coogler captures single shots of Adonis’ fight, from jab to jab. The camera is so quick that you actually feel the pace and the sweat that goes on in the ring.
The first fight scene looks incredible as it is taken in a long shot and that’s where you know, the film is packing a punch.
The music is essentially hip-hop and R&B and comes in the portions with the romantic moments with Bianca.
What does not make you leave your seat is the two best fight sequences and the way they are captured.
Creed Review: The Last Word
Creed delivers a complete knockout blow and is a deserving descendant of the Rocky series. This Donny & Rocky tale is a sure shot crowd-pleaser . I am going with a 3.5/5 for it!
Creed releases on 25th November, 2015.
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