While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps the best in the series as it tells a standalone story with energy and skill. Reteaming writer-director Ryan Coogler with actor Michael B. Jordan after their underrated gem Fruitvale Station, this pulsing drama is also one of the best boxing movies in recent memory, harking back to classics in the genre while reinventing them with textured storytelling and raw performances.
Jordan plays Adonis, who never met his father, the iconic boxer Apollo Creed. He also refuses to take his surname, even after being adopted by Apollo's widow (Phylicia Rashad) and raised in a Los Angeles mansion with a great education. But he also can't resist the temptation to box, starting out in backroom Tijuana brawls. Finally he realises that something's got to give, so he heads to Philadelphia to explore his roots, meeting his father's former friend and rival Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) and asking him to teach him a few tricks to help further his career. But Rocky is battling his own issues, so these two mismatched men push each other forward. Adonis finds romance with the feisty Bianca (Thompson), and Rocky decides to help Adonis train to face the tough British champ (Tony Bellew).
The essence of this story is that we have to make peace with the past to move on to the future. This is woven into the script beautifully, without ever preaching, as Coogler encourages the audience to constantly see what's happening beneath the surface. This requires the actors to deliver unusually complex performances, and Jordan is wonderfully conflicted as a man whose inner nice guy is warring against his own history. Stallone, meanwhile, delivers one of his best performances ever as the sardonic, battered champion. He's relaxed and open, reminding us why we fell in love with Rocky to begin with.
Continue reading: Creed Review
Tony Bellew, Sylvester Stallone , Michael B. Jordan - The European Premiere of 'Creed' held at the Empire Leicester Square - Arrivals at The Empire,, Empire Leicester Square - London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 12th January 2016
Adonis Johnson Creed is the son of legendary boxer Apollo Creed, who died fighting in the ring after a post-retirement comeback. He has little memory of his father, but shares the same intense passion for boxing. He's always been his own trainer, reluctant to be coddled by anyone, and now he's ready to really carry on his father's legacy in his first major fight. In a bid to become the best, he decides to visit Philadelphia to meet his late father's friend and previous opponent Rocky Balboa, formerly the World Heavyweight Champion, and convince him to train him up. However, Adonis Creed has a lot more to fight than just another boxer, as he struggles with issues of the law, falling in love and underlying self-worth. If he wants to be great, he needs to start believing in himself.
Continue: Creed - First Look Trailer
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The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.