Director: Ryan Coogler
Screenplay: Ryan Coogler and Aaron Covington
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson.
The Pitch: ”Hey Sly, my name is Ryan Coogler and I have an idea to continue the Rocky legacy…”
The Tagline: “Your legacy is more than a name.”
The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…
Sylvester Stallone was content that after six feature-length films Rocky’s story had been told. Ryan Coogler had a different outlook and movie fans are better for it.
Creed isn’t a sequel as much as an expansion of the Rocky Balboa universe. In the past films, Rocky was the center of attention and Rocky’s struggle was the reason for the movie. Now the focus shifts to Adonis Creed, Apollo’s illegitimate son.
In less adept hands Creed could have been a straight-to-video attempt to squeeze out the last few dollars from a series that many (including Stallone) thought was over. Instead we’re treated to one of the most satisfying, emotional and uplifting movies that I can remember ever seeing.
Michael B. Jordan is an amazing actor. He is required to go through a gauntlet of emotions throughout the film but they are never overstated or hammy. He and Stallone share a couple of scenes where the actor talking isn’t the most important part of the scene. The range of emotions that they go through is subtle and all the more powerful because they pull us into the scenes.
Sly has never been better. Never. An Oscar nomination should be in the bag. Don’t believe me? Rewatch the scene with the doctor when she tells Rocky his diagnosis. Or when Rocky returns to the gym. Or when Rocky talks to Adonis about Adrian, what she went through and what he would go through for one more day with her. Heck, think about the scene with Rocky and Adonis in the holding cell.
Ryan Coogler deserves special mention for making Creed happen. Not only can Coogler write, but his direction is spot-on. Coogler creates a world where all of the characters are believable.
There are so many cool touches Coogler puts in the film – Adonis watching the second fight between Rocky and Apollo with Adonis mimicking Rocky’s punches – Rocky talking about how everything he cared for has moved on [Adrian and Paulie have died, his son lives in Vancouver, even his turtle tank now only contains one turtle] – the fact that Rocky is still recognized as a celebrity “When were you going to tell me your uncle was Rocky Balboa” is just one example] but that time has moved on as well..
Coogler made what could have been a simple boxing movie into a drama about so much more than boxing… yeah, I guess you could call Creed a modern day Rocky. And you know for me, there is no higher compliment.