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Royal Banner Reviews: Creed

By Evan Derby in Arts & Culture

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Creed theatrical release poster (2015)

I must admit: it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the original Rocky movie. In fact, the most I can say I know about the franchise and the story comes from a Buzzfeed article I read a few hours before seeing “Creed”. So this review will come without comparison to the original. From what I’ve read, this movie is on par with the original. On its own, “Creed” is a fantastic movie.

“Creed” follows the story of Adonis “Donny” Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the son of Apollo Creed (the antagonist of “Rocky” and a side character in “Rocky II” and “Rocky III”). Creed’s life has been hard, spending most of his childhood in juvy and constantly getting into fights. After being raised in relative luxury by his father’s wife, Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad), Creed decides he wants to be a boxer like his father and travels to Philadelphia in order to reconnect with Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Along the way, he meets Bianca (Tessa Thompson), an up-and-coming singer, whom he quickly falls for.

If you’ve ever seen a boxing movie, or even know the plot of “Rocky”, you can probably guess most of what’s going to happen in this movie. And sometimes that’s a problem, but “Creed” does what is required when making a formula movie: it does the formula well. Its training montages are epic, manly relationships are showcased, and the boxing scenes are really, really good. “Creed” succeeds simply because it sticks to its job and does it incredibly well.

Jordan’s performance in “Creed” is rather expectedly great, especially after a similarly impressive showing in “Fruitvale Station” (2013). He does a great job of showing the physicality needed to portray a boxer, and by that I mean he is jacked. He’s also great during the downtime, emotionally portraying a man flawed by his father’s absence. Jordan’s chemistry with co-star Thompson is excellent, and the pair do a great job not being incredibly sappy, as can be commonplace in formula movies like “Creed”. However this is not to mention Stallone, who gives an amazing performance in the role that only he is qualified to play.

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

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

I must pay lip service to the cinematography in this film. “Creed” is beautiful. I said that the boxing scenes are epic, that’s in part due to the incredible way in which they were filmed. Anyone who liked the look of “Birdman” (2014) will be stunned during the first fight scene, when the camera follows Creed from his dressing room, through the hallways of the arena, out into the ring, the crowd chanting and announcer thundering in the background. Don’t even get me started on the finale. Just expect to be blown away.

Overall, “Creed” is an excellent movie. Emotional, epic, and enthralling, Stallone, Jordan, and director Ryan Coogler give us what is probably the best Rocky movie since the original.

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