Rocky is a legend, not just in cinema but in life. Rarely, if ever, has a film surpassed its own creation more than Rocky has. There is a statue of him in Philadelphia, that’s insane. What’s more insane is that I’ve never watched a Rocky film. Ever. You can hate me for this, many do, but I decided it would be interesting to watch Creed with only a vague knowledge of the universe to see how it translates.
Creed is touted as a “Rocky for a new generation”, but do we really need one? Isn’t all that rags to riches and defeating the odds been completed in other movies? I understand in its time Rocky was unique and groundbreaking, but now isn’t the same template worn and boring?
How wrong I was.
Creed is more like a war cry than a film; it starts with a whisper, an idea, a hope. Then it grows into a rumble, into a roar, a promise. Then finally end as a statement, in a climatic confrontation that keeps everyone guessing till the very last blow.
Creed’s beauty lies within its low key and subtle approach. You don’t realize it’s got you until you are on the edge of your seat. You can try to resist but in the end everyone succumbs to the magic of Creed.
Creed isn’t trying to impress you, with fancy footwork or over the top effects. No. What Creed has is heart, stamina and an urban soundtrack that matches the feel of the movie so well you’ll be hard pressed not to download it immediately after.
There is something underlyingly brutal about Creed too, like it wouldn’t back down from its own fight, it’s this confidence and boldness that makes Creed so powerful to watch, and it all evolves around a single man. Creed.
Creed is as strong a character as you will find in a movie; he is complicated, ferocious and broken. These are three features that we can all find in ourselves if we look deep enough. We are all diverse and complicated people, all have a passion that we are willing to fight for and all of us are broken souls. That’s why Rocky (and now Creed) spoke so strongly to humanity. He was one of us.
Rocky was a film about the underdog, a man who no one would bet on, the million to one shot, when it was made, during a harder time for America and it’s working classes, it successfully reflected the world in which it was made, so how is Creed different?
Creed‘s about the struggles to be successful not off of the reputation or name of your family, but on your own merits. Adonis Johnson wants to be a champion, not because his is the son of Adrian Creed, but because he is a born fighter, with a desire to win. Creed tells to us that qualifications aren’t important, your family history is irrelevant, all that matters is what you want to achieve and how much you are willing to work for that goal. A reflection of the world it is made.
For most of the film Michael B. Jordan is the star with Sylvester Stallone taking a side step. This is a strong sacrifice for the franchise, Rocky has become the mentor and so the father figure. He is Adonis’ guide and coach through the world of boxing. Stallone is a still and quiet presence in a movie with sharp punctuations.
Michael B. Jordan, is much more a raging bull (at some points literally). He lashes out at the slightest problem and becomes hostile when threatened. His opponents are continually the opposite, each a real life boxer, they are controlled and disciplined.
Creed does have a surreal subplot inside it about a British boxer who is going to prison and needs one last fight, I can see how the story contributes to the overall arch but perhaps a little too much time spent in the UK.
All this being said, when the bell rings Creed delivers a fast paced drama. Between the ropes you truly believe you are watching a real fight, not a staged or choreographed play, but a true punch up. This is a true testament to Ryan Coogler the director, he makes us feel every last blow, both metaphorically and physically. That is where Creed’s true power is, that it can engage us on every level.
The music of the film is a perfect complement to the on-screen action, it has a classical and nostalgic feel to it with hardcore rap placed over the orchestral scores making them invigorated and new once more.
Creed is a powerful and heartfelt battle, it calls back to the legacy that is already established while endorsing a new one to come. Creed is a true champion of cinema.
Review by Robert Lucas
Creed is out now on home entertainment.