Cinematic Releases: Creed

Rocky Balboa steps to the side of the ring for this latest chapter, Creed. 

"Pretend your're Chris Brown. Hit the bag
like it's Rihanna."
After the dour but satisfying Rocky Balboa, Creed is here to bring the thunder with a new spin off featuring the beloved character of Rocky. Now focused on a post Fantastic Four Michael B. Jordan playing Apollo Creed's son, his career is back on track with a story that fits right in with the continued life long battles of Balboa. 

Director Ryan Coogler and a sharp writing staff recreate the essence of the original Rocky with a quasi-remake that borrows heavily from the original film while delivering a heartfelt ode to the characters and story we already know. Falling just shy of Rocky II, Creed is the embodiment of what the first two entries were about. This is a two hour long look at the battle to succeed against all odds with an endearing sentimentality that begs audiences to forgive the flaws of the continued sequels in this saga. With Creed bogging down during the second act and not enough building blocks in between, it isn't as good as it could have been, but it's still a far cry from the cheesiness and pro-America propaganda that ultimately made Rocky IV and V so hard to watch. Creed exists in the real world where the offspring of Apollo wants nothing more than to prove himself worthy while creating his own legacy.

Much like Rocky Balboa, Creed moves at a snail's pace, making the middle portion of the film a little hard to watch at times. And some of the direct references to the 1976 classic become a little overbearing. The love story is a straight up carbon copy. And the duality between an older Rocky and the now deceased Mickey is quite obvious. However, it all plays very well on the screen. Even though it's extremely apparent what direction the story will take, Coogler offers younger audiences a chance to experience the rough and tumble of a young boxer first hand while not forcing them to sit through the original film they may not have ever seen. With Michael B. Jordan commanding attention in every scene he's in, they'll get a taste of Rocky's journey through the eyes of someone they can sympathize with. 

"Johnny Storm never looked this sexy!"
Following in the footsteps of the greatness that defined Rocky and Rocky II, Creed modernizes one of the best boxing movies ever made while hitting it home with a fantastic score, realistic fight sequences, and a cast that really nails it across the board. Stallone brings back the glory of his formative years as the always youthful looking Phylicia Rashad stuns with her usual emotive grace. Against the backdrop of six other movies, Creed is not brilliant by any means but it takes Rocky back to a place where realism defines a dramatic study of characters just trying to make their own way in the world. The combination of Stallone's aging character and the youthful spryness of Creed is one you don't want to miss. If you can survive the slow parts and don't have a problem seeing a virtual recreation of the first Rocky, you'll enjoy this. 

Rocky has endured for nearly 40 years in cinemas. You can guarantee this will not be the last of the franchise. As long as Sly is still standing, there will be more Rocky. In a theater that was filled with mostly teenage boys, the winning combo of Coogler, Jordan, and Stallone will undoubtedly be back in the ring sometime in the near future. After the failed Fantastic Four, this is exactly what Michael B. Jordan needed. The man is a great actor. 



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