Creed Review

Creed follows Adonis Johnson, son of legendary boxer Apollo Creed, as he convinces former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Babloa to train him. I am a pretty big fan of the Rocky franchise. I have seen every single film, except for the fifth (we do not speak of it). The first Rocky film is easily one of the best films ever made, and it holds up remarkably well. The rest of the films in the franchise are fairly good, but never could quite recapture the magic of that first film. However, with this new film, the franchise comes as close as it ever has to replicating the impact of the first film.
Every Punch I’ve Ever Thrown Has Been On My Own
Right of the bat, I need to commend the cast. Every single actor in the film did a fantastic job, but the two standouts are Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone himself. While Michael B. Jordan’s character could have been a bit more fleshed out (more on that later) he did a great job with what he was given. He played the role with great intensity, while also being able to demonstrate a more vulnerable side as well. His character had a wide range of emotions, which Jordan handled with ease. However, the standout here is Stallone. I have never thought of Stallone as a great actor, but he really shines in this role. Just like Michael B. Jordan, he was able to bring vulnerability to his role, which is something we have not seen before. Stallone made me laugh, he made me cry (almost), and he made me think. I will be very surprised if he does not get a nomination for best supporting actor since he stole almost every scene he was in. Along with these two actors giving fantastic performances, I fell in love with the cinematography. There are several scenes that employ long takes, and they are breathtaking. It is an effective way to immerse the audience into the film, and even increase the tension. The long takes were also very intricate, so my hat is off to the director (Ryan Coogler) who did a phenomenal job directing these scenes. Other than these long takes, the cinematography was simply gorgeous. There was some grit and realism to it, which actually reminded me a lot of the first Rocky film. The boxing was also a highlight. Every punch had a thunderous impact, and it felt as if the fights were not staged. That is a testament to the actors, the stunt coordinators, the cinematographer, and the director. Before shifting focus to some of the negatives of the film, I have one more aspect of the film that caught my eye. There are plenty of subtle moments that director Ryan Coogler throws in that really enhance the film. I cannot get into too much due to spoilers (nothing too serious, but still), but there are small moments where Coogler is able to enhance character motivations without being too explicit.
It Ain’t About How Hard You Can Hit
The biggest problem with the film lies with the characterization of Adonis. He is not a bad character by any means, but the film would have benefitted from getting to know him a little bit better. The first 20 minutes of the film are a little rocky (pun intended) and that is mainly because the development of Adonis’s character was being rushed. The film tried to push him towards Rocky as quickly as possible, which really hurt his development. Another problem with the film, albeit not a big problem, is that it is very formulaic. Almost everything can be predicted ahead of time, but like I said, it is not a big problem. What matters is the execution, and the film is able to execute everything fairly well. Finally the writing was occasionally less than satisfactory. Most of the writing was really good, but there were a couple of times where I though “I could probably write a bette line than that”.
Closing Remarks
As you can tell, I did not find too many problems with Creed. Is it a fantastic film? No, but it is a great one. It had several shortcoming that kept it from reaching the heights of its predecessor, but that does not stop it from being one of the year’s best films. With great performances, sweeping cinematography, and effective direction, Michael B. Jordan and the rest of the cast and crew produce a film worthy of the Rocky franchise.
Creed

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