Film Review | Creed Has Just About the Right Amount of “F*ck Yeah!” to Carry It

The Rocky franchise isn’t all that different in many ways from Star Wars. Both of them are pop icon series of films birthed in the seventies but came to epitomise the death of that decade’s cinema and usher in the glossier, muscle-bound Reagan era blockbuster. The Rocky films also lost their way. Although Rocky did it more dramatically and enjoyably, than the way Star Wars was to do it with its infamously dull prequels.
Creed is in Cinemas on January 15th -
Creed is in Cinemas on January 15th Source

The franchise was always a strange mixture of naturalistic affectation and bombastic cheese. This reboot of sorts walks the tightrope between blue collar pretension and over the top melodrama. The result is a stylish, enjoyable story that doesn’t feel the need for Russian supermen or robot butlers. Like Star Wars, putting new blood behind and in front of the camera while keeping some old faces around has resulted in something that feels like it might be a fresh start. Compare and contrast to the hagiography of Rocky Balboa.

Creed tells the story of Adonis ‘Donny’ Creed (Michael B Jordan), the bastard son of Rocky’s rival turned friend Apollo. Donny is taken from juvy by Apollo’s widow and grows up in luxury. However, his longing to fight takes him to Philly where he badgers an ageing Balboa into becoming a surrogate father figure and mentor.
Creed feels like a passing of the torch. Director Ryan Coogler is definitely a man to keep an eye on. He really knows when to amp up the emotions and when to play it cool and casual. He gets great performances from his cast. Michael B Jordan is charming, engaging and in incredible physical shape. Tessa Thompson, who you may know from Dear White People plays the love interest, Bianca. She plays a role that could easily be cut well enough that you’re glad they didn’t. Spare a thought for the old timers. The film even reminds us that Stallone can act or, at minimum, that he can play Rocky. Here he’s a lovable lump, washed up, admirable and pitiable. It’s hard not to let the big mumbly eejit pull on the heartstrings.
This is also similar to The Force Awakens in that it largely recycles the beats and plot of the first instalment. It does this so well that you won’t mind. When it’s time for this film’s take on the running up the steps montage from the original, it has just the right amount of ‘Fuck Yeah’ to carry it. It’s a synecdoche for Creed as a whole; invigorating.
Creed is in cinemas on Friday 15th January. Check out the trailer below.
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