Movie Review: Creed
Updated: May 27, 2019
'The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.'
IMDb rating 8.4/10 Metacritic 82/100 Rotten Tomatoes 93%
Now this is the next and 7th installment in the long line of Rocky films (the last being in 2006) but as opposed to Rocky being the main star in ring it focuses on Adonis Johnson, son of Apollo Creed. Written and directed by Ryan Coogler who only had one other major film to his credit Fruitvale Station in 2013 that also starred Michael B. Jordan. What expectations can I have from a writer/director without a lot of major films or blockbusters? It has a lot of story to back it up and build off of and a lot of solid films so there is 'some' expectations with the film in my eyes but nothing like I would hold to a new Star Wars or Star Trek movie done by J.J. Abrams with a proven track record.
A modest budget of $35M and almost made that entire back on opening weekend running approximately $93M gross to date and rising. Most of the film was shot in Philadelphia of course showing off the major scenes from previous films like the gyms and of course the statue of Rocky and the ever popular steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The scenes were perfectly set showing off the rougher areas of Philly just as they had through previous films.
The movie concentrates on Adonis Johnson from when he was a kid going through the juvenile system to when Apollo's widow takes him in and gives him some structure. But even from an early age he has the fighting bug in his blood even as he grows up in a wealthy home with his stepmom he still fights in Mexico as he works at a financial group to an undefeated 15-0 record. He decides to quit his job and look for someone to train him and no one around will train him because of Apollo and how he died in the ring. His stepmother tries to get him to stop and to no avail just pushes him out the door where he moves to Philly to see his 'Uncle' Rocky and beg him to train him instead. He refuses but eventually relents and helps him train for more serious bouts.
The story also focuses on Adonis and his neighbour Bianca that grow close after his moves to Philly but things get strained after she learns that his 'uncle' is Rocky Balboa and his dad is Apollo. He causes her career as a DJ after he explodes backstage in rage at a show she is performing at. But eventually things are smoothed over. At one point Rocky is diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and relents to no treatment after seeing what it did to Adrian. Adonis is lined up for his dream title fight and refuses to train and fight unless he fights his battle as well and they work through it together.
The story is great through the movie and is very touching and tugs at your emotions throughout. Rocky falling ill, the battle of Adonis fighting against the Creed name and learning to accept it or Rocky relenting to the idea of training Apollo's son after visiting Paulie's on his birthday at the gravesite (one of my favorite scenes actually). And of course they do a modernized version of Rocky's training montage which is also solidly done.
Now I didn't care for Michael B Jordan in Fantastic Four and not because of the black Johnny Blaze it was because that entire movie was horrible. Now in this film he shows some acting chops and manages to pull off the boxing scenes quite well. It's believable throughout the film. Stallone continues on with the diminished Rocky Balboa and they are already talking some potential Oscar noms for the film already. I wouldn't doubt it getting some nominations but how many does it come away with I think it goes empty-handed regardless of what I think.
Would I recommend this particular film? Definitely. If you have seen any of the Rocky movies of old by all means definitely watch this. Even if you have only seen one or two of them you will have enough background to catch some of the subtleties of the film. Would I own it? Definitely. Solid through and through and a little bit of a tear jerker as well in spots I don't know too many people that won't well up a bit. Go see it and if you are too cheap to go to the theatre then grab it on demand of through your mobile devices. If you haven't seen the Rocky movies get out from under your rock watch the first 4 (not a fan of Rocky V myself) and then watch this.