Full disclosure, I was in tears from round 11 of the final fight in Creed until the end of the film. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve cried during a movie at the theater but my chin even started quivering by the end round 12 of in the fight, at which point I had to exercise a little self restraint so as not to make a scene. I heard some other sniffles in the theater, but I really don’t know what came over me.
I went in to watching Creed expecting a sports movie with critical acclaim, but it’s just so much more than that.
More full disclosure, I’ve never seen Rocky but it’s evident where director and co-writer of Creed Ryan Coogler paid tribute to the original film while expanding on the story.
In addition to Stallone’s amazing reprisal of Rocky Balboa, the film is set mostly in Philadelphia and uses its score, supporting characters and locations in the city to tie to two movies with 40 years between them together.
Coogler wrote the screenplay with Aaron Covington and their final result is so impressive for new-ish filmmakers in Hollywood, I can wait to see what they do next.
Back to the story itself, Michael B. Jordan stars in the title role as the son of Rocky Balboa’s former rival and friend, Apollo Creed.
The younger Creed, under the name Adonis Johnson, tries to establish his own legacy and keep his familial ties to the star boxer under wraps as long as possible. After a rough childhood and trying to make a go of his boxing career fighting in Mexico, Adonis heads to Philadelphia to pursue fighting full time and train with Rocky.
They develop a fast bond and friendship, with highs and lows along the way, and Jordan and Stallone on screen together for two hours definitely influenced my emotions as the film ended.
I know seeing Creed in the theater also added to the experience. If you have the chance (it’s still at some second-run theaters in Minneapolis) I definitely recommend seeing Creed on the big screen.
Aside from the acting, writing and directing, the editing style and camera work are impossible to look away from — even during the more violent scenes toward the end.
The mixes of sounds from Johnson’s punches –whether training or in the ring — with Rocky’s voice in the background coaching him along were so impressive (I know I keep using this word) and added to the overall picture and display of the relationship between the two main characters.
There are plenty of smaller, quieter moments in film including between Johnson and his girlfriend Bianca (Tessa Thompson) as well as with Rocky that balance out the action and drama and further show the dynamics and drive for each character.
I hope I have sold this film enough here and really have no more words other than, love or hate sports movies, Creed expands on the genre and a historical film on so many levels and you must see it.
“When you get to the top, you think you can fly.” — Rocky Balboa