Creed (2015) is the seventh installment in the Rocky franchise. It’s the latest but not the least.
Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) moves to Philadelphia from L.A. to get trained by his late father’s rival Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone).
The soundtrack is the major positive point. Throughout the running time the score helps in maintaining the visuals’ grasp. I especially favored the music as it made me nostalgic of the previous Rocky entries. Even though I have only witnessed two before this one.
Secondly, acting is paramount by Stallone who reprises his role for the seventh time as retired boxing legend Rocky Balboa. Stallone was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actor, for 1976’s Rocky. After so many decades he gets the Supporting Actor nod for the 2016 Oscars. And it comes as a thrill that a man known for playing action heroes, gave so much heart in his performance, that it’s hard not to feel your eyes getting watery.
Michael B. Jordan didn’t get any Academy-Award nomination but he suited the role. In a way this is redemption for starring in 2015’s disastrous reboot of Fantastic Four. Both as a boxer in the film, and as a thespian, Jordan gave it his best shot. He has both the physique and talent to back it up.
The rest of the cast is also great but since the focus is on the two afore-mentioned performers – they don’t get a lot of screen time. And that’s appropriate in accordance with the narrative.
What I liked most about the direction was, whenever any boxer appeared, their name and attributes would be headlined across the screen. This saves time for any introductory scenes. For a motion-picture with an above 2-hours duration, it was a clever move.
The script was brilliant as it allowed an equilibrium between sports and drama. Although, there are minimal amounts of fights, the ones incorporated are breath-taking. Choreography is definitely top-notch, and even though Stallone didn’t film Creed, he sure proved any boxing depiction starring him is not below his caliber. The concluding bout is one of the best I’ve ever seen on screen.
The venture is never too slow. Sure, the dramatic bits do make it feel weighed down. But the impeccable dialogue delivery by Stallone’s character makes you forgive all the rest. Most of the speeches aren’t that memorable, but those spoken by Rocky, are unforgettable.
Creed suffers from misdirection in the written aspect. At times I felt I was watching Adonis’ story, and at other moments I felt it was more about Rocky. Sure, both individuals had their own psychological developments. But in the preceding part Rocky Balboa (2006), all eyes were on the titular fighter. In Creed, we seem as if we’re floating continuously between two colossal structures.
Another con was how a minority of events were predictable. We know what’s going to happen when the main character goes into a relapse. Creed offers us a grand experience but there’s nothing we haven’t seen before.
Two mainstream boxing showcases were released in 2015: Southpaw and Creed. For the former I rated 4.5 out of 5 due its constant engaging atmosphere. In Creed, there is a balance of action and tragedy, but the flick sweeps to and fro like a person having mood swings.
To end with, Creed is still a knockout for its genre. It might not have the most outstanding battles, but includes enough heart, so you won’t have to appreciate it by head.
You can read my review of Creed 2 here.