As we wade through this age of constant sequels, prequels and remakes, it’s refreshing to experience a movie, based on another, that stands on its own two feet. If you are willing to take a break from feasting this turkey day, then expect enticing and hard-hitting (pun full intended) action in “Creed,” thanks to director of photography Maryse Alberti’s breathtaking boxing sequences and an intensely personal and well-timed film, thanks to writer-director Ryan Coogler. If you are familiar with “Creed’s” father film, 1976’s Best Picture Oscar winner “Rocky,” then “Creed” is more than just a cool last name. The film’s main character is the son of Apollo Creed, close friend and former rival of Rocky Balboa.
The film follows Adonis Creed (played by Michael B. Jordan) and his pro and not-so-pro boxing career. However, a last name is not the only element borrowed from the original “Rocky” and its subsequent sequels. Most of the film takes place in Philadelphia, a throwback to the original and something that serves to enhance the film’s sense of community.
A star-studded supporting cast surrounds the hero. Creed’s adopted mother (Phylicia Rashad), corner man Rocky himself (Sylvester Stallone), and love interest Bianca (Tessa Thompson) play important roles in building up the man we come to know as Adonis, Don or “Hollywood” as his boxing peers dub him. Mix all these elements in one pot and you cook up one well-built movie.
At the forefront of the flick, the editing feels a bit hasty but slows as the audience becomes more acquainted with Adonis’ character. The movie definitely stands out as more modern and fast paced than the original “Rocky,” something to be expected with a 40-year gap between movies. The soundtrack includes rap songs along with epic ballads and a score by Ludwig Goransson akin to composer Hans Zimmer’s work on the “Dark Knight” Batman trilogy, building to a climax as the action and drama progress.
“Creed” is well directed and acted, most scenes feel genuine with a special chemistry between Michael B. Jordan’s character and Stallone’s. The fatherly spirit we see in Stallone makes their scenes all the more believable. On a scale of worst movie ever or best movie ever, I would give a best movie ever. OK, but in all seriousness, this movie is a viable contender for an Oscar, or at the very least a Best Picture nomination.
I give this movie 5 out of 5 boxing gloves, it was a knockout thrill ride.