- Directed by Ryan Coogler
- November 19, 2015 (Regency Village Theater) / November 25, 2015 (US)
The illegitimate son of Apollo Creed is trained and mentored by Rocky. That’s the whole story. Oh, and he boxes at the end.
Creed is a film that does its best to ride the coattails of the Rocky series but never reaches the same level of quality as Rocky. Creed is not an underdog story of a man winning by just stepping up to the challenge but of a good fighter getting a boxing match. You could argue that IS Rocky but what he needs to overcome to get there is relatively minor in comparison and does little to show his character or why he is a real champion.
Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) shows up in this film but the Rocky we get just doesn’t seem to be like Rocky from the Rocky movies. Something about Stallone’s performance here makes the character feel more intelligent. Rocky was not the smartest person in the world. He used what little he had to make the most out of his life and what he had was for his fists. He could take a punch but deep thought was not his thing. But this Rocky seems more intelligent and just better educated.
Despite that intellectual boost he gets Rocky is ultimately a bit of a sad sack in this story. On the one hand his business appears to be doing great even though we never see patrons in scenes at the restaurant but on the other everybody around him is dead and he’s suffering from survivor’s guilt. Add in that he’s suffering from movie cancer and just willing to roll over and die. But Creed gives him that push to make him want to survive. The motivating bond just is.
Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed. Did we really need that? I’m not saying Apollo Creed must be put up on a pedestal and portrayed as a saint. But in the films previously released he did have some children. How many was not well defined, and you could slip in a younger son without too much of an issue. I’m not sure why he needed to be illegitimate. Then again that element doesn’t play too strongly into the narrative as he’s already living with Apollo’s widow who treats him like her own child. I am forced to asked why it was even done then?
In this day and age audiences need an answer to every question and creators feel obliged to give them just that. All but gone is leaving it up to the viewer to decide. Making the observer think can be an effective tool in getting the viewer to care about the story. Into this comes the reveal of who won the friendly match between Rocky and Apollo. Given that Adonis is Apollo’s son it is an important moment to bring up but answering the question was not. Was Coogler trying to say Apollo was better so by extension Adonis was going to be better?
Tessa Thompson stars as Bianca, the love interest created for the story to humanize Adonis Creed through his love for her. She brings to this the full range of her acting skills learned at the Kristen Stewart/Mark Ruffalo School of Emotive Acting. She’s not great, but not terrible either. The part isn’t necessarily huge so her limited skills do not harm the movie. Her character is a singer suffering from progressive hearing loss. How tragic! I think the only thing more cliché would’ve been a painter going blind. Leprosy for the painter maybe?
Creed’s story is just the events between Adonis leaving California and the final fight. And by that I mean he has no real struggle to overcome other than getting a girlfriend and getting physically in shape for the final match by polishing his form. His big thing in the story is embracing fully the Apollo Creed legacy. He stops calling himself ‘Donnie’ and ceases using ‘Johnson’ but does so mostly to get that last fight. During the movie he did not want people to look at him differently but then became okay with that to get a fight? What changed?
As dramas go it’s not too bad. It’s standard fair for this era but it’s not necessarily subpar. It’s enjoyable enough and it’s an entertaining watch. I can’t call this movie terrible. The dialogue is good and the characters are interesting enough. But unlike the Rocky films I don’t think there is much rewatchability here. It does not give you the same emotional highs or even explore the same things as that movie.
For me the problem is that it tried to attach itself to Rocky in order to get going. I might be more receptive if it was its own thing or simply did not contain a gratuitous cameo with Stallone. I don’t think Rocky needed to be involved in this story and the element with Adonis being an illegitimate child was unnecessary. It gave him a sad background but did little else.
Creed is not bad, but it is certainly not great. It’s enjoyable enough. You won’t feel as if you’re wasting your time but if you’re looking for something in the mold of any of the Rocky films you might be a bit disappointed. But if you wanna see what the character of Rocky is up to today then take a look.
3 thoughts on “Creed”
I thought this film was better than I had expected it to be. Maybe that’s damning it with faint praise, but yeah, I thought it was pretty good, and a nice way to bring Rocky back onto the screen. In fact, one of the best things I thought Sly has done for awhile.
I think the movie was overhyped.