In this age of reboots and remakes, I am happy to say that Creed is not only one of the best reboots of a franchise, but it also surpasses the typical constraints of a reboot and goes beyond to become its own thing.
Creed, directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, and Phylicia Rashad, tells the story of a young Adonis Johnson (Jordan) as he tries to find himself through boxing, all while constantly being compared to his father, the legendary Apollo Creed.
The characters in this film feel genuine. That is at the forefront for this film. Aside from the rivals that Adonis has to fight, the main cast feels warm and true, though sometimes a little cliché. Jordan as Adonis was a perfect casting call. Adonis constantly struggles through the film to find his identity and is given a reason to fight. I love the idea that Adonis finds boxing as his passion not because of the violence and hatred but rather as a way to feel alive.
Of course, no one could forget the old Italian stallion Rocky Balboa, who is once again played by Stallone. I really loved Stallone here even though most people know of his acting prowess; however, here he fits right in as an old and ageing Rocky who is done with boxing. I feel for Stallone in this film—he not only portrays a convincing older individual but also someone who was left bitter and lonely by the world.
Speaking of the world, this story is similar to that of previous Rocky films, with the exception that Rocky and Adonis really share a strong bond. This is one of the strongest teacher-student bonds in the genre, and I absolutely love their dynamic: a much more believable and interesting relationship as opposed to the old Rocky films.
This film is visually captivating with its shots of Philadelphia and fights within the boxing ring. Philadelphia’s scenery really help to set the film’s time—that while this was Rocky’s town, it is now a different environment. A lot of shots were replicated from the original films, such as Rocky’s famous run up the stairs during his training montage. However, it is the fighting that take all the glory. These fights are brutal and up-close, giving off a visceral feeling. The punches are exemplified by an amazing sound design that boomed throughout the theater.
Speaking of sound design, the movie is filled with little homages to the old Rocky theme without ever fully playing it. This serves to remind people what was so great about the past films.
In my theater, the audience was not quiet about their emotions. Constant cheering and applause erupted during the final climactic fight. I felt transported to a time where Rocky had just been released and how people would have felt back then when Rocky fought his final fight.
Creed understands that this is not Rocky’s story, but it does remind us of the legacy it left behind. Creed is about Adonis and his struggles to not only win, but to understand who he is and what it means to be a Creed. People forget that the reason Rocky is so well remembered is because it was inspiring. Creed continues that path and gives people that inspiration, but puts it in a modern day tone.
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