The Best Rocky Film Ever?
Creed (2015): The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.
Ryan Coogler is a genius. I can see why many are saying he was snubbed by the Academy in not receiving a Best Director nomination for Creed. Creed is the brainchild of Coogler, and it just might be the best Rocky film ever made. This is easily my personal favorite Rocky film, which is high praise from me because I am absolutely a sucker for boxing films. I will defend Southpaw and Real Steal till the end of my days as good films, and Raging Bull is one of my favorite films ever. But Creed is not just a great boxing film, it is a great film, and certainly on of my favorites from 2015. So, let's talk about it, shall we?
There's a lot this film got right. Let's first talk about the acting. If Ryan Coogler isn't the biggest snub of the year, then Michael B. Jordan is. He puts in one of the best performances of the year as Creed, and its a quantifiable performance as well given the fact that he added about 40 pounds in muscle weight for the role. Why Bryan Cranston was nominated for Best Actor and not Michael B. Jordan is beyond me. But, don't worry! Because the one white guy involved in this entire movie, Sylvester Stallone, is! There's no doubt that this film is Stallone's best performance of his career, buuuuuuuuut that's really not saying much. But don't worry! He's nominated and Michael B. Jordan is not. That makes sense.....somehow. I doubt he'll win because there are definitely better supporting actor performances out there this year. But you never know. Stallone could get a legacy pick because the Supporting Actor category isn't exactly strong. Anyway, Tessa Thompson also puts in a great and hugely underrated performance as Bianca, though her story arc is for another conversation in a bit. What else does this film do right? The editing. Claudia Castello and Michael P. Shawver did a phenomenal job as the editors for this film. From great "info screens" on the individual fighters to the frantic cuts of the final fight, I was extremely impressed by the work of these relatively new editors. Additionally, there was some awesome cinematography from Maryse Alberti in this film. This includes one of my favorite moments in film from 2015 in the first fight. The first fight in this film is shot in a single take, and what the camera does to make you feel like you are the ref of this fight and right next to the expertly choreographed action was by far the best part of the film. Well done to everyone involved who helped make that awesome scene happen.
However, there were a few problems with the film. The biggest one was Bianca's character. Surprise! Bianca basically solely exists to be the love interest for Creed. As I said Tessa Thompson puts in an absolutely fantastic performance as this bland character, but the story arc of Bianca's character really failed to add any depth to her character. She's totally underused. Sadly, this is not unusual nowadays. My next problem is with how similar this film is to the original Rocky. Now, this isn't a huge fault since the original Rocky is a great film, but especially after the new Star Wars it was slightly amplified this time around seeing how similar this was to the original. However, these complaints are relatively minor all things considered, and I definitely still think this is my favorite Rocky film of the franchise. If you love this franchise, or even just the first film, you should absolutely check out Creed. You'll be happy that you did.
The Critique: One of the big snubs of 2015, Creed is a fantastic reboot for the Rocky franchise featuring a great performance from its deserving new lead.
The Recommendation: A must-watch for any fan of boxing films, or Sylvester Stallone, or Michael B. Jordan. Everyone else? This would also qualify as a great film to invite a couple of friends over, grab some alcohol, and have a good time. It's definitely a great party film.
The Verdict: 8/10 Great
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