Creed – 4.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

creedCreed – 4.5/5 – There is something to bed said about storytelling.  The purpose of storytelling (in any form) is to engross the audience into believing some purpose.  There is supposed to be something where you feel for the characters through thick and thin.  When it comes to this film; having a great story revolves around two key factors:



If you put an emphasis on either or both; you have a journey that is worthy of the term excellence.   Creed is a film that many would think (going in) would just be rehashing of a boxing film; some kind of ‘underdog’ coming and reaching the ‘pinnacle’ of his journey.  In some aspect it does play to the commonality of this approach, but it goes beyond the typical rehashing of that generality.  Creed becomes more than a boxing film but an endearing human tale of struggle and sacrifice.  With some excellent performances, awesome storytelling and a different aspect of the ‘feel good’ motto; Creed is one of the best boxing films in a long time and one of the best films of the year.

Premise: Through circumstance; former boxing Champ Rocky Balboa becomes the trainer of Apollo Creed’s son.  With everything on the line; both of them must find what it really means to find the heart of a champion.

The acting in this film is stupendous; and it starts with the main actor.  That would be actor Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Johnson.  Being a boy with no home and family; he gets brought into the mix of boxing when he finds out he is the son of the former great Apollo Creed.  Through some self discovery and purposeful motivation; he finds a way to work into the boxing world.  Jordon does his best acting job to date.  He embodies a full complexion of the character, bringing out the physicality of the boxing as well as a humanistic side.  Not only is he has a furious/angst aspect; but he shows he is one that is faulted with trying to live up to the name ‘Creed’.  That dimension of trying to prove worth but not being too emotional is a fine line that he plays well on the big screen.  Through his interactions with others (including the fighters he comes against); you feel his passion, anger and struggle all within the same action.  He has raw veracity; but also has a heart that is humble and serene.  That complete depth of immersion brings quality to a role that could have been typically typecast as another ‘up and coming’ boxer.  With the side characters; there are two notables:

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa

Tessa Thompson as Bianca

Stallone gives one of his best performances in years in returning to this iconic role.  The reason for the greatness is the added depth of being the ‘elder statesmen’.  As an aged boxer, you see the complexion of hesitation when it comes to returning to that world through training Adonis.  You see the worth of protection like a ‘son’ but one where he wants to push him to become the great person he can be.  That added element of being a trainer goes beyond the common archetype.  The relationship between him and Jordan is one that comes across as real and pure.  That ‘fatherly’ aspect is one that draws you in, enhances because of the added ‘flawed’ aspects that develops in him.  This adds deeper qualities to who Rocky is, as well as his drive/motivation to be something more to this young man.  Thompson does a great job in providing the ‘love interest’ with Bianca.  She is another character that is humanized within this film.  There is a struggle in her passion that draws her and Adonis together; as their chemistry is one that reflects the honesty of a young couple.  With the rest of the cast; it is very typical of a boxing story.  You have your trainers; other boxers and supporting roles that help move the film along.  Through it all; you get to see some worth in the opponents of Adonis.  There is some depth to the other boxers; adding some value to the fights that happen throughout the film.

The direction takes a twofold approach.  You have a simplistic ‘journey’s tale’ combined within the formulaic aspect of a boxing film.  Combining these two elements puts a heavy focus on blending realism within the character and story.  That realism helps develop an experience that is smooth, genuine and overall engrossing.  Within the prologue, we get introduced to a young Adonis.  We find that he is a troubled adolescent who only wants a place to call his own.  He is saved by a woman that tells him of his heritage; he is the son of Apollo Creed.  After the prologue, we get a methodical approach to Adonis’s ‘journey’.  He decides to take the path of his father; but wants to forge it in his own way.  That struggling is one that unearths both a ‘heroic’ and ‘humanizing’ kind of tone.  The parallel is enhanced by the ‘common struggle’ theme.  You see yourself in the main character, allowing a purpose to comb over some of the typical boxing motifs and archetypes that progress a through line within the plot.  Once Adonis makes his way to Philadelphia; he seeks out Rocky to be his trainer.  This is when the film goes beyond the linearity of its direction; characterizing something that becomes an honest aspect of living.  You see a tale that is not only about a boxer; but (thematically) about generations, personal struggle, worth and finding your place in life.   That purposeful approach allows the director to bring out the raw vigor of the characters flaws; shedding a limelight on some growth to be had for the young man and aged elder statesmen.  When Rocky finally agrees, with get a mash of strong emotional overtones.  It is a strength that provides realism to the relationship that drives the ideas of bonds, friendship, loyalty and love.  The building of momentum goes through an endearing approach, while mixing in typical boxing elements of training, techniques and also professional development.  Within the bulk of the story, we also get a look at some amazing fights in the ring.  The use of the camera (explained later) provides an aspect that has never been seen before.  When the film moves into its final act; we hit the peak of each character’s personal struggle.  There is a crossroads that each must face; a willful like epiphany that helps define a betterment as people to each other.  When we come to the final fight; it is a mixing of emotions.  That emotional heighten through the finale plays perfectly against the common aspect of a boxing film while balancing characterization of that full circle in this journey.  When the film comes to its conclusion, there is a strong vintage shot that pays homage to the Rocky films; but also introduces a very moving ‘passing of the torch’ setting.  This caps off a film that is not only part of something timeless, but one that is a great ‘feel good’ tale built on genuine merits.

The cinematography is some of the best found in any film to date.  The ironic feeling is that the simplistic approach is left to just an aesthetic appeal.  With keeping the film grounded; the visuals bring through the use ‘one shot’ angles of the camera.  That technique of ‘one shot’ allows a continuous focus on everything going in the film; including the boxing fights.  You are brought into the action as if you’re there; becoming a witness of something that is visceral, raw and unrelenting.  You feel the power in the dramatic moments, as well as the strong physicality of each punch that happens in the fights.  That ‘close up’ gives an authentic appeal to the fights, one where the believability factor washes away any doubt of predictability.  The score of the film is one that is built on ‘modernization’ of this tale that is infused in the Rocky lore.  You get a lot of aspects of traditional music from today. This helps draw in the realistic overtures, as well as make you feel the flow of the film’s music with everything in the film.  The blending of some of the authentic ‘Rocky’ score helps provide a nostalgia appeal, but doesn’t detract from the overall progression of the film.

Creed is one of the best films of the year.  This story surpasses the typical layout that is a boxing film; bringing you something that draws upon the heart of the characters.  With a strong lead and overall cast; engrossing but familiar story and realistic visuals, this is a film that that is complete experience.  I recommend you go watch this; you will not be disappointed.

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