Creed

This is shaping up to be a rough movie season for Jay.  First, she got dragged to SPECTRE (which by all accounts is a spectacular movie).   Second, she’s been dreading Star Wars: The Force Awakens since it was a twinkle in J.J. Abrams’ eye.  And third, a whole other Sean-approved franchise makes a return and potentially gets rebooted into a whole new series of movies.  Dun Na NAAAAAA, Dun Na NAAAAAA!

That’s right, Rocky is back again, for the seventh time.  It seemed over after IV, V, and VI, but some studio exec decided we could handle more!  And it was clearly the right decision because I think MGM/Warner Brothers now has a whole new franchise on its hands, featuring Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed (Apollo Creed’s son).

I have always loved this franchise.  From the moment I saw Rocky III, I was hooked (yes, I started with III and have never regretted it – as recently discussed in my defence of SPECTRE, plot and character are pretty much unnecessary in franchises and here’s more proof that’s a good thing).  Based on my love for the franchise, I had high hopes for this movie but I was also nervous at how this would all turn out.  After seeing Creed, I am happy to report that this franchise’s record is still unblemished as long as we agree that Rocky V never happened.

One of my favourite things about Rocky VI (a.k.a. Rocky Balboa) was how much love it showed to the franchise as a whole.  Creed takes the same approach.  There are a number of nods to the past and they’re great to see.  The best part is that Rocky, as trainer, takes all that history and imbues Adonis with the style of boxing we’ve grown to love in these movies, namely trading head shots until both boxers’ faces look like ground beef.  Head trauma be damned, these boxers just have so much heart that they have to leave it all in the ring.  And do they ever!

As for the cast, Michael B. Jordan is great as Creed and Stallone is better than ever as Rocky.  The two characters come together naturally and it’s a great relationship to see play out, as uncle and nephew take on the world together and give us some classic Rocky moments along the way.  Especially Stallone, who really plays the old man well the whole way through (although at this point he’s almost 70 so it may not even be acting).  Either way there are some very funny moments to be found as the two leads interact with each other.
CARL

Overall, the only way this movie could have been any better is if they had worked in some Carl Weathers flashbacks where he got his stew on. I can see how that was tricky to work in to Creed since Apollo died before Adonis was born, but still, it would have been a nice touch.

Apollo v. Rocky

Want to find out who won this fight? Creed has the answer!

Other than that one shortcoming, Creed is perfect.  It delivers a great story, feels like a natural extension of the Rocky franchise, gives us a ton of nice call-backs to past events, and even answers some burning questions (including who wins the fight at the end of Rocky III).  Those fan-service moments were definitely my favourite aspect of the movie and they added so much to it.  They’re not just winks and nods, they are tools used successfully to remind us of Rocky’s mindset as he tries to pass on his winning ways to a new contender.

As the credits rolled, I reminisced about all the other great Rocky moments (see my list HERE but be warned, it contains tons of spoilers) and at the same time was excited for Creed II.  And mark it down, there will be a Creed II.  The seeds are sown here for at least two more movies and I hope they come to pass, because Creed is not just a great addition to the Rocky franchise, it is an excellent movie in its own right.

Creed scores a knockout: ten triumphant underdogs out of ten.

 

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52 thoughts on “Creed

      1. ridicuryder

        Liked the first two…gave up when it became a franchise. Bruce Willis kinda pulls off the Die Hardfuckfestival though…I’m not sure why he seems to get away with it easier than Stallone.

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      2. Sean Post author

        Well, in a way this is the start of the Creed franchise. Also, Stallone is really charming in this one, maybe because it’s the first Rocky where he acts his age!

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  1. drhumpp

    I’m really looking forward to this one. The last one was far and away my favorite sequel. Your review makes it sound like it hits all the notes that I was hoping for.

    For the record, the only one I don’t care for is IV, which is usually an unpopular opinion!

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    1. Sean Post author

      Yes IV is a very surprising one to dislike. I would have thought if you liked III then IV would automatically follow. For me, III and IV are neck and neck for the best of the bunch. I think both have the formula down by that point so they flow nicely, hit all those notes we love so much, and are endlessly quotable!

      But one thing’s for sure, if you liked the last one you’ll definitely enjoy Creed. And as I think about it, if you didn’t like IV because of what happened to Apollo, then you might like Creed even that much more!

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      1. drhumpp

        III and IV are well done and slick, but Rocky is a little less of the charming character he was in the original. I even like V with the clunky story mainly for how Rocky is portrayed.

        You’re right about how quotable and fun they are though. They feel like music videos.

        As for VI, I’m such a sucker for that sort of sentimentality that I loved every second. I love attention to continuity as well and, from what you described, Creed does that well.

        Your write up has me excited.

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      2. Sean Post author

        That’s a good point about Rocky being different in IV, I hadn’t thought of that. I think they nailed the charming aspects of Rocky in Creed, and it sounds like Creed has everything else you’re looking for too!

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      1. Carrie Rubin

        I’m sure I’ll love it. I usually enjoy boxing films. Though I have to say, Southpaw was a disappointment. I can’t remember what you guys thought of that one, but I don’t think it was too positive.

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      2. Sean Post author

        Southpaw wasn’t great and it was made worse by the fact that Gyllenhaal fought right-handed in it – that annoyed me a lot!

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  2. Amy Reese

    Rocky was such a great movie! Rocky was the one movie that my whole family saw together in the theater at the same time…all eight of us. I’ll never forget that. Maybe I’ll give this one a shot.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Birgit

    Oh this is a movie I would be dragged to…nope i still wouldn’t go:) I have not seen any Rocky films although this one seems to be better than the one where the american boxing gloves blows up the Russian boxing glove(that was the trailers back in the day)

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    1. Jay

      I got dragged and lived to tell the tale.

      However, as someone who is also not familiar with the franchise, I must say this movie is really for people who already know the story. They don’t play much catch up and it took me a while to figure things out. This is not meant to attract newbies.

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  4. SLIP/THROUGH - Dan

    Yes. Just what I needed to hear. I was hoping Creed would hold up. Those trailers were awesome. Great review. It’s good to know there is some connective tissue between the Rocky movies. I’ve come to respect your movie opinions, you Assholes. While I feel bad for Jay, I’m happy to hear at least Sean really liked Creed 😉 Now I’m anticipating it even more.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Jay

      Oh don’t feel too bad, I got to eat crappy nachos and hold Sean’s coat. Or did he hold mine? Actually, we ran into an old friend, so that was pratically worthwhile. Plus I held hands with my hunny and then peppered him with questions like “Why did you smirk when he chased chickens around a yard? And why were there chickens? Why where there urban chickens in Philadelphia?”

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  5. Liz A.

    Yeah, not a boxing fan. And never did Rocky in any incarnation. I like Michael B. Jordan, but not enough to go.

    Jay, you’re not looking forward to Star Wars? I’ve been jazzed for that since I first heard about it.

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  6. Mark Walker

    Ye gotta love Rocky, man. I’m a big fan of the franchise and I’m really looking forward to this. It sounds like they’ve managed to create more mileage here and Michael B Jordan is a solid actor. Great choice to move along with.

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  7. J.

    I’m fairly intrigued by this one … looks like a much needed shot in the arm after V and VI (Balboa coukd have been an interesting movie if they’d just focused on him being the guy telling stories and trying to steal moments of his past life. Might have lacked entertainment over the course of its 9 hour run-time, but it would have have been a charming flick. Especially if they had Wes Anderson on board). What I’m seeing of this reminds me of the first two Rocky movies. When they still had a heart and soul (III and IV are entertaining, but it clearly shifted into perfecting the formula).

    Anyhoo, where was I? Oh aye – cheers for confirming that I need to see this!

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    1. Sean Post author

      I would love to have seen Rocky telling stories for 9 hours. I think there’s a bit of that aspect to Creed – once you’ve seen it, let me know whether you agree. And I definitely think this is a successor to the first two movies, although IV features prominently as well for obvious reasons.

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  8. Jay

    Oh, you know what I forgot to say?
    And it’s a POSTIVE, so relax:
    In the movie, Tessa Thompson’s character has a disability, for no apparent reason!
    She wears hearing aids, not because they contribute to the story particularly, but because sometimes people do. And I really liked seeing that.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Sean Post author

      I liked that too and forgot to mention it. Ryan Coogler wrote and directed a really great movie, he used cliches only when it served him, and provided a lot of nice touches that stand on their own. Like that one.

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  10. Salty Popcorn

    Thoroughly enjoyed it – review on Salty. My one gripe was lack of motivation for Adonis and very weak fight scenes and that montage scene with the kids on bikes made me vomit – the first fight pissed me off. But Stallone was brilliant and I am biased for Michael B – probably my 3rd fave in the entire franchise and hoping for more of them – rumours abound that Stallone will get an Oscar nod for best supporting.

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  11. Khalid Rafi

    I must say I had no intention of seeing this. I’ve only seen Rocky and Rocky Balboa and thought one was good, while the was just okay, but the buzz has got me interested and I really plan on seeing it now.
    Great review, thanks for the encouragement

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  12. Jay

    Sean, not sure if you were reading about the extended one-shot take that they used for Adonis’s first professional match.
    They really did it all in one take! That’s pretty impressive. The female cinematographer, Maryse Alberti gives lots of credit to the steadicam operator Ben Semanoff, who physically got in the ring and did the labour, and even took boxing lessons to prepare himself. Lots of excellent choreography went into the meticulous planning to pull it off. They did 12 takes of the thing and ended up using #10 (must have been exhausting for MBJ) – it was his 3rd day on the set and Stallone’s first.

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