CST Throwback Thursday – Film of the Week

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By Gilberto Campa,

With an impressive full length directorial debut with 2013’s “Fruitvale Station” which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance that year as well as the Audience award for U.S. Dramatic Film, Ryan Coogler instantly became one of the hottest directors in the business with many people wondering what his next film was going to be. And in that same year Coogler signed on with MGM to direct and write the seventh film in the Rocky franchise which would eventually be titled “Creed” and if people didn’t know about Coogler before that would change after the release of this movie.

According to Michael B. Jordan who is the breakout star of the film as the titled character “Adonis Creed” Ryan had the idea and the story of the movie in his head for a long time since he was such a big fan of the Rocky franchise. Coogler just asked Michael if he wanted to shoot the movie with him after they completed “Fruitvale Station” (which he was also great in) and he agreed even before Michael knew what the film was going to be which speaks to the great relationship that they have.

The next thing that needed to happen was getting Rocky himself Sylvester Stallone to read the script and agree to star in the movie which he did after seeing the great vision that Coogler had for the character of Rocky, as well as the overall story that makes Creed a great homage to the Rocky franchise but a successful stand alone movie. The performance that Stallone delivers in Creed is one of his best and immediately trumps his work on the previous “Rocky Balboa” which came out in 2006. With everything that is going on with Adonis in the film (rightfully so) we also get to see Rocky go through a very complete character arch that shows how little he has left and how Creed is able to give him something to fight for again and to carry on (especially in the third act). Because of this performance Stallone earned major critical praise the following year as he was nominated for best supporting actor at the Golden Globes (which he won) and at the Academy Awards.

Michael B. Jordan who had shown many signs of promise in the films that he was in previous to Creed delivers a masterful and raw performance as the lost son of Apollo Creed who wants to follow his father’s footsteps and become a boxer so desperately that he even quits a high paying job and gives up everything and goes to Philly to find the one person that he knows will help him when everyone else doesn’t, that person being his “unc” Rocky. Now this isn’t the first time that we have seen this kind of story before with someone feeling that they have a greater path in life than the one that they are currently in BUT what separates Creed from other similar movies is the director and writer, Ryan Coogler.

From the beginning of the movie you instantly see the tone and style that Coogler impellents as you carry yourself through the entire movie scene for scene which keeps you invested the entire time. And at the same time he delivers the classic Rocky moments and an AMAZING training montage that also pays homage to the first Rocky film that will motivate anyone who see’s it. There is also the effect that the music and overall score has that works extremely well in the film courtesy of Ludwig Goransson the composer for Creed who also worked on Fruitvale Station and will be composing the highly anticipated “Black Panther” (more on that later). The choice of music works really well in the movie because it not only captures the city of Philadelphia with songs from Philly rapper Meek Mill’s, but it also echoes the classic Rocky soundtrack from the earlier films at the appropriate moments that pay off well.

After the release of Creed many studios were coming up to Coogler with speculation on what his next movie was going to be. The answer to that question was not very surprising at least to me but it took everyone else by surprise. Kevin Feige and the producers at Marvel Studios met with Ryan soon after and had meetings about making a movie about a certain King who would debut in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War”. Those talks were later confirmed as Coogler officially signed on to write and direct “Black Panther” which since that time has become one of the most anticipated movies in recent memory for many different reasons. Marvel Studios quickly realized how talented Coogler is and wanted to add his style to their universe but he wasn’t the only person involved from the movie that would come to the MCU. Tessa Thompson who also performed well in Creed was casted as Valkyrie in “Thor Ragnarok” and was one of the best parts of that movie who will be featured more in the near future as the MCU prepares for the invasion of Thanos. And even Sly himself would be casted in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” as Starhawk the leader of the Ravagers which was a pleasant surprise in that movie. And last but not least the frequent collaborator of Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan was casted as Erik Killmonger who will be the main antagonist in the Black Panther movie and looks to deliver a great performance.

To conclude even if you have not seen any of the previous Rocky movies as long as you know who Rocky is and what he stands for then that is all you need to see Creed. It is truly one of the best films of the last five years and is a movie that is a true testament to all underdogs and to people who are looking for acceptance and purpose in their lives. I cannot say enough about it.

Is it February 16th Yet? #wakandaforever

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