Claudio Says CREED Successfully Brings the Rocky Universe To a New Generation

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As far as boxing movies go, I’m not the biggest fan. There is a lot of room to be cheesy and repetitive. It’s a problem with the genre itself because there are only so many stories that can be told, so it’s up to the characters to really draw you in. “Creed” goes above and beyond that. It’s more than a boxing movie; it’s a movie about coming out of someone’s shadow, about fighting the good fight, and ultimately making a name for yourself through your own merits. Creed stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, and is directed by “Fruitvale Station” director, Ryan Coogler.

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Adonis doesn’t go by “Creed” and would rather use his birth mother’s last name “Johnson.” He realizes that the world would see him differently if they knew who his father was. Adonis would rather work his way up with his own name than be handed everything because his dad happens to be the best boxer ever to live. However, his mom doesn’t want that life for him because of the trauma she felt dragging her late husband up the stairs of their house after every match bleeding and swollen. Of course our main character couldn’t care less about those fears. He breathes to fight and will risk being kicked out of his home to do so.

While I enjoyed “Southpaw” earlier this year, I couldn’t shake the fact that Billy Hope was your typical angst-filled punk with a chip on his shoulder. I understand it’s a violent sport, but I’m over seeing the main character stupidly cause all the bad in their life because they thought everyone was out to get them. I really appreciated how Adonis was raised humble. Yes, he had money and a very comfortable living, but he didn’t let himself be stricken with pride. Michael B. Jordan was the perfect choice for this role. He brings the intensity and heart to this film. At moments where things are grim, he’s able to channel all his emotion to bring everyone together. His quest for a mentor leads him to a familiar restaurant to enlist the help of his “Unc”, also known as Rocky Balboa.

I’m of an age where Stallone hasn’t really done his best work lately. “The Expendables” are fun movies, but they don’t hold up. Who would’ve guessed that Stallone had one more Oscar caliber performance left in him? Full disclosure, I’ve never seen a Rocky movie, so I don’t know how this character has progressed, but here he’s the weakest and most vulnerable I’ve ever seen Stallone. He’s retired from the ring and only worries about his restaurant. His life was a well-kept routine until the fateful day that one of his best friend’s son shows up. At first he’s reluctant to put him danger, but he sees something in Adonis that can only be compared to what he saw in Apollo. It will be great seeing Rocky in the corner for the next generation of films in this universe. It’s a tough race for Best Supporting Actor with Joel Edgerton and Jeff Daniels giving one of their best performances in “Black Mass” and “Steve Jobs”, respectively, but Stallone has to be in the conversation.

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From the first shot to the end credits, Ryan Coogler demonstrates what a monster he is at directing. While the pacing may have slowed dramatically in certain parts, a consistent pace and tone is kept throughout most of the runtime. I don’t know how it’s like to shoot a boxing match, but the fights, while obviously choreographed, looked astounding. Coogler is a masterful storyteller and I can’t wait for his next project. Seeing “Fruitvale Station”, I knew he had potential, but now he’s up there as one of my current favorites. No matter the genre of the next movie he does, I have high hopes he’ll knock it out of the park again. It’s not always that I go see a non-blockbuster movie more than once, but you’ll be seeing me in line for “Creed” this Thanksgiving weekend, and I hope some readers are there with me!

Final Word

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