Movie: Creed (2015)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Writer: Ryan Coogler (story/screenplay), Aaron Covington (screenplay), & Sylvester Stallone (characters)
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Tony Bellew, Ritchie Coster, Graham McTavish, & Gabe Rosado.
One-Line Plot Synopsis: Apollo Creed's illegitimate son Adonis (Jordan), tries to recruit his father's former friend Rocky to train him to become a great boxer like his pops.
Creed came out guns blazing with one of the best movie trailers in a long time. Now, I'm a big movie trailer guy, so I can tell you when a movie comes out with a movie trailer that puts all the other ones to shame or at least distances itself in terms of three main components that I'm looking for: Originality or Interesting Subject Matter, Visually Unique or Experimental, or Adrenaline Inducing. It's really as simple as that. Actually, I'm a sucker for the combination of a good song that goes perfectly with a trailer too. Creed's song and trailer are a perfect marriage. The song (well, technically there's two because it starts off with Smiff & Kreazy's "Lace Up The Gloves") is Wafai Mahir's "The Scented Tree" that plays through the majority of the trailer. It's the right combination of pump up music that allows for the trailer to breathe throughout the dramatic moments needed to pull a viewer in. You could probably give me anyone shadowboxing to a song like that and you can sign me up for about 100 of those movies. That strength of the song and scene combination comes through in Creed much like it did for previous Rocky movie montage scenes.
The new training montage for Creed is basically like an updated version of the old Rocky throwback training montages. Hell, even at the end of the montage (Creed's top of the stairs moment), they blended in a little "Gonna Fly Now" if you listen closely.
After seeing the last two installments of the Rocky franchise with Rocky V and Rocky Balboa, I can't say that my expectations were all that high for Creed. It definitely helped that my boy Michael B. Jordan was starring but I still had my reservations about everything. Sylvester Stallone was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his reprisal as Rocky Balboa (which I'm totally on board with) but I think it was actually Jordan who shone the brightest in his performance as an unwanted son of a boxing legend. I've heard people say that the romantic story line with Adonis (Jordan) and Bianca, an aspiring musician who has a condition which will eventually make her deaf, gets in the way of a good boxing story but I didn't think that was the case. The romantic storyline, which is pretty much a must to balance out this movie, doesn't weigh down the other parts of the story if you ask me. It never lingers too long for my liking on the relationship between Adonis and Blanca but acts as a good transition between Adonis' fight life and his outside the ring life. I thought the balance was pretty good between the two and I rarely found myself getting overly bogged down in one of the scenes between the two. If you want to pick some nits, that's probably where you would go but it didn't bother me enough to make a big deal out of it.
Director Ryan Coogler announced himself to the studios that he can make a big budget film when given the chance, following up his stellar Fruitvale Station with a movie that hit it off with both critics and the public alike. I'm excited to see what he can do with the upcoming superhero movie, Black Panther, and if he'll veer a little bit away from the straight popcorn flicks that have come out recently with all the Avengers filler.
P.S. Was it just me or did the reigning champ that Adonis goes up against look like he wasn't in good enough shape to be as good as he was?
Apparently he's an actual boxer and that's what he actually fights as but it also could have been how freaking jacked Michael B. Jordan got.