Creed (2015)

Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan in Creed (2015)

Harrison Forth author picCreed is a Rocky film, just with a different stance and technique. Like its titular character, Creed is aware of its legacy and honours it while at the same time wanting to make a name for itself. Writer-director Ryan Coogler – best known for Fruitvale Station – demonstrates both a clear admiration for the series and the confidence to carve a new course.

The film centres on Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), the son of heavyweight boxing champion Apollo Creed – introduced in Rocky. Johnson is a self-trained boxer with professional aspirations which lead him to seek the mentorship of his father’s greatest competitor, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Here, Jordan delivers a committed performance while Stallone is powerful as the film’s heart and soul.

Coogler brings an invigorating contemporary edge to the film. Moments and iconography from previous Rocky films are echoed throughout, but such homages feel instinctive rather than derivative. Composer Ludwig Göransson infuses the soundtrack with modern hip-hop, while remaining faithful to Bill Conti’s iconic Rocky score. Maryse Alberti’s cinematography is bold and dynamic, with one long-take fight sequence sure to talked about.

You’ve seen this type of film before, but Coogler has provided a compelling reason to re-enter the ring.

4 stars

 

6 thoughts on “Creed (2015)

    • I also liked Southpaw. It managed to be fairly engaging even with its shameless propensity for clichés and melodramatic undertones. But what Coogler does with Creed is something special. Admittedly, he has the legacy of the Rocky series to lean on, but brings a clear and unique vision, managing to add an unexpected amount of personal investment in the story with legitimate and more pronounced emotional stakes.

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