If Creed were not part of the Rocky franchise Sylvester Stallone and Michael B Jordan would be sure-fire Oscar contenders.
Creed shouldn’t be good. There’s no reason that a passing the torch movie should work. Creed manages to feel like an original underdog story with a compelling main character who by the end you’ve fallen completely in love with.
It’s obvious how much Creed owes to the original Rocky. It’s also apparent that it’s not Rocky at all. So many of the element are there but there used in a way that’s interesting. There’s no leaning on nostalgia, the point where they just evoke the previous movies to win you over. Creed knows the legend it’s a part of. Paying its respect, and being a sequel to all the previous Rockies while holding it’s own and telling its own story.
Adonis Creed grew up in group homes and juvenile centers not knowing who his father until the day Mary Anne Creed finds him and adopts him. He then grows up learning about his father and trying to live up to his legacy.
Every moment Jordan is on screen is electric. He is perfectly cast. Adonis or Doni as they like to call him comes off as charming while having a darkness that sits right there in the corner of his eyes the whole movie. He makes the movie funny and light while being about internal angst. The thing that loved most was how well he paired with Stallone. If Mick was a harsh old grandpa who occasionally acts sweet – Rocky is the biggest marshmallow you’ve ever seen that occasionally gives you the tough talk, tells you it’s time to get back up. My favorite moment between the two comes early when Doni does a Marlon Brando impression and Stallone (in my mind at least) broke character because he thought it was so funny. These two have such great chemistry that even if the fights hadn’t been fantastic the movie would have still been worth it
When this comedy team is funny they are brilliantly funny. When it comes time to get serious, Stallone reminds you with a big left jab to the heart how good he can be. It’s also the range that Jordan has that makes Stallone’s more somber moments, all the more real. These are two people that relate to each other and have intertwined legacies, who become partners and even friends despite their pasts.
The relationship between Jordan as Doni and Tessa Thompson as Bianca is pretty great. It doesn’t try to be Rocky and Adrian 2.0. It’s a different story about two people with similar dreams that bolster each other and try to help one another. But they also screw up sometimes and they don’t always fix everything when you might want them to. It’s a very touching and working relationship that I absolutely want to see more of.
I should also point out how impressed Tony Bellew made me. I thought they found a really big British guy who could act, that looked like he could brawl and taught him to box. Learning that Bellew is a former lightweight champion makes me impressed. He should not shy away from acting again in the future
Oh my god the fights in this movie. From the opening fight to the finale all the fights in this are energetic and fluid. The punches hit like a wrecking ball and you feel in your gut the excitement. Oh and the moment when they earn the original Rocky theme. Such exciting and well-done action this movie feels right at home in the Rocky canon.
The score of this movie is also fantastic. As the movie progresses Adonis’ them becomes more and more present. By the time – as I
said earlier – The classic getting stronger starts playing, Donnie’s theme has drilled so far into you that it’s just icing on the cake.
Creed truly proves itself as a stand alone movie that doesn’t need you to know the past.
Although it might help.