Ryan Coogler's CREED
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
As far as I know I’ve only seen the first Rocky film (“Rocky”) and the last one (“Rocky Balboa”).
But that doesn’t matter. CREED is easily one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen this year.
Whether or not you’re into boxing, it’s hard not to be sucked into this tale of a young boxer (Adonis Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan) brought under the wing of the aging retired champ (Rocky Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone).
Adonis is the son of Rocky’s late friend and opponent, Apollo Creed. How Adonis’ confidence, identity, and dedication evolve both inside and outside the ring makes for one of the most engrossing and emotionally engaging sport films I’ve ever seen.
Coogler’s direction is superb. I watch a lot of movies. CREED is technically one of the most sophisticated films I’ve seen in how it uses the cinematic language to dramatically portray a story of real-seeming people. Music, editing, camera movement, and sound all work together to propel the viewer along and into what the main characters are experiencing.
It also helps that the acting is so good. Michael B. Jordan’s Creed is conflicted, down-to-earth, and physically extraordinary. The real surprise is Sylvester Stallone. If your view of Stallone after three “Expendables” films is just another washed up 80’s action star, think again. He brings a depth and sensitivity—and humor—to his character that has to be seen to be believed.
The training and fight scenes are worth the price of admission. The final encounter in Liverpool is extraordinary. Every element is combined to illustrate this pivotal encounter for young Creed. Sound, light, darkness, crowd, chanting, old and new Rocky music – they all make for a splendid example of no-holds-barred cinema.
I’m seriously considering buying a Blu-ray when it comes out so I can learn more about how this film was crafted. Plus, it’s a pleasure to see a beautiful old deteriorating city like Philadelphia portrayed so warmly but realistically. I’ve been there many times. Seeing CREED definitely made me hungry for a Philly cheesesteak!
Review copyright (c) 2015 by Dennis D. McDonald