Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Creed: Review

I just finished re-watching Creed on Blu-ray the other night.  It is one of my favorites of the year without a doubt but certainly not without its weaknesses. 

Michael B. Jordan as Adonis.
This film centers around Adonis Johnson/Creed (Michael B. Jordan), who is the son of Apollo Creed (out of wedlock).  I originally thought the name Adonis was kind of silly, but when I think about it, Apollo is a highly unlikely name as well.  He's either been institutionalized or liven with foster parents to bitter ends.  He feels like a man without a home or a family.  He's been fighting underground in Mexico and is undefeated in that market.  However, he wants to transition to mainstream professional boxing.  One day he quits his nice Los Angeles office job shortly after a promotion to pursue these dreams.

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky.

He relocates to Philadelphia so that he can find Rocky Balboa and hopefully train with him as well as get some answers about Apollo.  This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  This relocation also leads to a fateful meeting with a beautiful young woman downstairs named Bianca who has progressive hearing loss (Tessa Thompson).  A romantic relationship begins that is meant to recall the Rocky-Adrian relationship that is so pivotal to the original series.  

Tessa Thomson as Bianca.

The primary adversary in this film is one of the weakest in all the films.  "Pretty" Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellew) has a considerably less impressive physique than Adonis, Rocky or any of Rocky's primary adversaries.  Of course, physique aesthetics is a relatively superficial measure of adversarial worthiness, but the weaknesses also extends to the fact that the fighter is at the end of his career and just doesn't have the same level of charisma as prior adversaries, cartoon-like as they may be.  One thing is certain though, Ricky Conlan is the most realistic adversary of the series thus far since he is played by a real professional British boxer.

Tony Bellew as Ricky Conlan.

This film renews the spirit of Rocky in which going the distance and winning the crowd is more important than winning the judges.  This film also weaves much of the cinematic DNA of the series into it: Mickey's gym, the Front Street gym, chasing chickens, illness and hospital vigils, Apollo Creed's trunks from the original film, the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, footage from the original films, and plenty of references to the past.  By the end, I was nearly misty eyed.

I am excited for where a new Creed series may go, especially in the escalation of of Creed's ring adversaries.

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