Staff Reporter admittedly impressed by “Creed”

Johnny Mocny, Staff Reporter

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I have to say, when I first heard about the new movie, Creed, I was puzzled.

The Rocky franchise has gone down in history as the single greatest boxing-related series of movies of all time, possibly because it is the only one, but also because it consists of some great movies that range from effectively inspiring filmmaking to awesomely cheesey training montages. The films followed Rocky Balboa from his first boxing match against the legendary Apollo Creed, as well as his trials and victories since. The series came to an end quite perfectly with 2006’s Rocky Balboa. Rocky’s story was done for, and was a solid six-movie saga. Even more so than Star Wars.

It turns out I was wrong.

Creed is focused on the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan). He has experimented in boxing for some of his life, and decides that something is missing. Seemingly on impulse, he travels from California to Philadelphia to find Rocky Balboa (still Sylvester Stallone, as always), who has been living a quiet life after the deaths of Adrien, his wife, and Paulie, his best friend. Adonis introduces himself to the former champ and convinces him to be his new trainer, and we have our movie.

Now, I’m not saying this out of pure post-viewing excitement, because I’ve taken a few days to let this movie settle. And I say without hesitation that I adored Creed. What could have been a cheap cash-grab turned out to be an incredibly well-made entry into the Rocky universe, taking the franchise in a fresh direction. Director Ryan Coogler is definitely a fan of the series, showing his love through homages and nods to the old movies while still constructing a great one on his own. One scene in particular, where Adonis has his first big fight, left me speechless. It is all done in one take, or at least made to look so, and it is glorious. The boxing scenes are nothing short of epic and incredible, but that’s not to downplay the subtleties. The score is amazing, crafting a new theme for Creed while infusing some classic bits from Rocky. I would definitely add it to a “get pumped” playlist.

Michael B. Jordan kills it as Adonis. I think we can all safely erase Fantastic Four from his filmography. He handles the physicality and the heart perfectly. But let me take a minute to talk about my personal hero, Sylvester Stallone. He was the founder of the franchise, and returns to his signature character so perfectly, and gives his best performance in years. I came pretty close to crying at times, and I am not exaggerating when I say this could be one of the best performances of his career. He has more than just The Expendables going on now.

To sound more like an esteemed reviewer, I would like to say I found some flaws in this movie, but in all honestly, I did not.

Creed is a riveting time at the movies, and possibly the best movie in the Rocky franchise since the original. Do yourselves a favor and don’t miss this one, kids.

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