Written by: Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington, Sylvester Stallone (characters).
Directed by: Ryan Coogler.
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson.
Run Time: 122 Minutes.
Check out our Creed review below!
The young Adonis Johnson, son of Apollo Creed, is trying to make a name for himself in the boxing world, and finds a mentor in none other than the legendary former world heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa.
The film opens in 1998 at a group home for children, where an adolescent named Adonis is visited by a lady willing to take him in. We fast forward to the present day in Mexico only to find out that Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) is the illegitimate son of the iconic Apollo Creed, who was raised by Apollo’s wife by law – Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad).
Five minutes into the movie, and you will find yourself already drawn to the character and the plot, leaving you with no doubt that despite the title of the movie, it is virtually Rocky 7.
Fighting the mundane nature of the software industry, Adonis decides to move back home. Spurned by the scoffs at his self-taught status by L.A. trainers, he moves to Philadelphia to pursue a career in what he thinks is his true calling – boxing.
Self-taught, especially from YouTube videos of his father, Adonis seeks out Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Rocky, who now lives as a small-time restaurant owner, decides to leave his septuagenarian geriatric life on a stand-by, to help the son of his late friend. Maybe it was because he felt he owed Apollo something, or maybe he saw something gratifying in being a father figure to Adonis.
Meanwhile, Adonis meets Bianca (Tessa Thompson) – a foxy singer who also happens to be his neighbor. Things ignite between the two of them, and Bianca manages to get past the defenses of the closed book of a character that Adonis is. Rocky assembles a team to help Adonis while slowly transforming into Burgess Meredith’s famed ‘Mickey’ role, who created the Italian Stallion.
The rest of the journey is an inspirational one which highlights Adonis’s struggle in proving to the world what he really is – a ‘Creed’ by all means.
Landing the right punches
When you hear that Warner Brothers and MGM will be teaming up to make a spinoff of one of the largest series in the world, you cannot expect much to go wrong.
The movie is all that can be expected from a sports drama. With a plot such as this one, it is extremely difficult to feed the audience with something that is out of the typical rise-to-fame production. That obscurity is easily overcome by Director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), who ventured into studio film-making with this gig. The script does not offer you something fresh, but it displays all that in a manner which is pleasantly unpredictable. The profiles of all the boxers in the movie, the elements of comedy used and the inspirational clichés have all been carried out elegantly.
Creed, written by both Coogler and Aaron Covington, is very emotionally direct. This comes as a welcome change to the Rocky sextet. However, it pays homage to the original movies in a beautiful manner by including everything, which will leave fans with goosebumps.
Maryse Alberti has given cinematography a new perspective. She is known to bring out the best in actors, and she has done justice to Jordan’s chiseled figure. The camerawork, especially in Adonis’s first legit fight, is something never seen before. The soundtrack by Ludwig Goransson is incredible and slots in perfectly with the theme of the movie. Watch out for Ricky Conlan’s entrance during the last fight. The editing department is possibly the only one in this production team which may take a hit.
In the arena
Adonis’s character is the first that wasn’t written by Stallone himself. The character is a distressed young man, and the choice of Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four, Fruitvale Station) to play this character couldn’t have paid off better. He has done an admirable job throughout the movie – consistent and brawny. His performance makes you comfortable and easily draws you in. Certain scenes like the last fight or the jail scene leave you wondering why you haven’t seen him around more often. One can expect that to change.
This is easily Sylvester Stallone’s (Rocky, Rambo: First Blood) best work to date. Age has really made him an enthralling presence on screen. In Creed, it is his body language which is ironically doing all the talking. There is depth in his portrayal of Balboa without overdoing it. Tessa Thompson (Dear White People, Selma) plays Bianca, who does a calm and composed job of a character who could have been exploited further, but ends up being nothing more than emotional motivation.
Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show) is mostly a by-stander in the plot as Mary-Anne Creed. None of the other characters are vital enough for the plot, but almost all the cast members put in solid performances. Antony Bellew, who is a real life heavyweight champion, deserves applause for his role as Ricky ‘’Pretty’’ Conlan.
All in all:
Creed is as formula-driven and emotional as expected from any sports drama movie, but the end result is a smooth film with a sense of pathos. Not only does it look back at the legendary series with a nostalgic filter, but it also stands out as a genuinely strong independent movie.
Possibly the first of a series of Creed films, this one leaves you with an experience which quite simply put, knocks you out.
Watch it if you’re: A fan of the Rocky series, a fan of the sports genre or are simply in need of some inspiration in life.