Creed Movie Review

In a big week of movies with The Good Dinosaur and Victor Frankenstein coming out, one of my most anticipated movie of the year is now in theaters, Creed. In this week’s Throwback Thursday Review, I reviewed Fruitvale Station, the first team up of what could be one of the most dynamic duos in Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan. I really loved what both brought to the table in that movie, so naturally I was excited out of my mind for Creed. As I said in my review for Fruitvale Station, Michael B. Jordan is one of my favorite up and coming actors in Hollywood. He holds his own with some of my favorite actors in the industry. With that being said, Creed is directed by Ryan Coogler and stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed who you may remember from the Rocky movies. Adonis was born after Apollo died in the ring, and was never able to meet his father. He has always been a fighter, just like his father, and now he desires to establish a name of his own outside of his father’s legacy. He leaves Los Angeles and heads to Philadelphia in search of the one and only Rocky Balboa in an attempt to get training and ultimately establish himself as a great fighter. Creed is a rebirth of the Rocky movies and a breath of fresh air. It stands very well on its own, but does have some very nice nods to the original movies. I am a huge fan of boxing and MMA movies as well as a huge fan of the original Rocky franchise. I was really psyched to see this movie, and one thing is for sure: this movie is an instant classic.

Sylvester Stallone (left) and Michael B. Jordan (right) in 2015’s Creed

Michael B. Jordan has not disappointed me once in his entire career, and he actually improves his track record in Creed. He plays the character of Adonis, or Donnie, absolutely brilliantly. Donnie is looking to make a name for himself after never having met his father. He wants greatness, but he wants to achieve it on his own. He is grateful for the Creed name, but he doesn’t want his name to be the backbone of is legacy, and as a man who literally starts from the bottom living in juvenile detention centers and fighting amateur fights in the barrios of Mexico, he really displays the struggle and drive of achieving his dreams. Jordan plays a very hard man brilliantly, but even more brilliant are the scenes where he softens and shows that there is more to him than a street fighter. There are multiple scenes in the movie where you see his attitude and personality crack and they are easily some of the best and most touching scenes in the movie. Each of these moments give you chills and show character development, growth, and range. Also, Sylvester Stallone who is back playing his career defining role of Rocky Balboa gives another incredible performance as the legendary character. Rocky is guiding Donnie through the fighting world, and you really get to see his wisdom and experience, both as a character and as an actor, shine through. Tessa Thompson also gives a very strong performance as Jordan’s love interest in the movie. The entire main cast of Jordan, Stallone, and Thompson all have absolutely undeniable chemistry. They interact so effortlessly, and if Creed takes off as a franchise, which I pray happens, the characters we saw in Creed will become household characters just like Rocky, Adrian, and Paulie. Creed has such great characterization, and that really feeds into the connection the audience is able to build with the film.

Stallone (left) and Jordan (right)

Creed also does a very good job defying the odds. Was it mostly a formulaic fighting movie with a struggling underdog main character, a woman he develops natural chemistry with, and a final fight for all the marbles? Yes. Did I have a problem with that? Not one. Very few times can I go into a movie and see something I have seen before and still be impressed. Creed doesn’t follow the formula to a tee, but it is easy to see where the formula takes its place in the plot. This movie has plenty of re-watchability simply because of the characters and the direction, on top of how the movie progresses. Ryan Coogler directs his second feature-length film magnificently. In my opinion, after Fruitvale Station and Creed, Ryan Coogler is easily one of the best directors in the business at portraying setting. In Fruitvale Station, you get a perfect feel of the bay area. Coogler once again did a phenomenal job portraying Philadelphia in Creed. Creed also has some of the best fight scenes I have seen in a while. They are all very powerful, long, wide takes. In the opening fight, there is only one cut. In Donnie’s first big fight, it is, get this, ONE TAKE! To me, that is amazing. That is incredibly challenging from every perspective, and it turned out absolutely astonishing. I cannot say enough about that scene, and it was one of my favorite scenes in the entire movie. I may have said that a few times in this review, but there are so many fabulous scenes that I have a difficult time choosing my favorites. As someone who is very interested in the film industry, that scene captivated me. I have also heard that Ryan Coogler is in talks to direct Marvel’s 2018 blockbuster Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman. That would really excite me after two incredibly directed movies.

Another great aspect of the film is the soundtrack and score. I truly believe that the soundtrack and score to Creed have the potential to become just as historic as the Rocky scores. The score added to the montage scenes create shots that gave me chills, and I will definitely be giving it a second look outside the film after seeing it today. It was really incredible and fed into the plot perfectly. Finally, I want to talk about the final fight. You can expect a final fight given that it is a boxing movie. It won’t surprise you. However, it stands out because it is a final fight that is so easy to get invested in and shows incredible direction. The relationship between Rocky and Donnie really shines through in the final fight, and you get to see how much they really care about each other while really solidifying the two as a team. I haven’t been invested in a final fight like I was in Creed at least since 2011’s Warrior, and while I love me some Warrior, I personally enjoyed Creed more, and chronologically, may be my favorite boxing movie since Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull of 1980. Creed is right on par with the original 1976 Rocky. As hard as I tried to find one, I had no problems with Creed. In fact, Creed is only the third movie of 2015, with the first two being Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian, that I am going to give a 10/10!

Jordan as Adonis “Donnie” Creed

Are you going to see Creed this weekend? I would definitely suggest giving it a look, as it is one of the best and my favorite movies I have seen this year. If you have, seen Creed, what did you think? Comment and let me know. I would love to discuss this one with you guys. There may not be a Throwback Thursday Review this week, but I will be sure to have one next week in honor of Ron Howard’s upcoming film starring Chris Hemsworth, In the Heart of the Sea. That is all I’ll give you for now, but the next review should have another hint as to which movie I will be reviewing. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm