TL;DR – Wow what a surprize, did not see that coming, one of my movies of the year.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
So cards on the table, I was not planning to go see Creed. I never really watch the Rocky films, they were always a little before my time and didn’t get the same reruns on TV like movies such as Die Hard. That being said, I know most of the main plot points through clips here and there, impersonations and parodies etc. So not seeing any of the others, combined with it being a sports film, a genre I don’t generally like and the last movie I saw Michael B Jordan in Fantastic Four (see review), his acting was so wooden he could give Chris Pine a run for his money, was a perfect storm of meh, can’t be bothered. But a number of people recommended it to me, and I am glad they did because boy was I wrong.
This is a film where every department worked together to give every aspect of its impact. The cinematography is amazing, with its use of framing, slow motion, the contrast between light and dark, and it really shows off the beauty of Philadelphia. As well as this, the sound work is superb, each hit feels like it hits, this gives everything a sense of realism, because when people get hit you feel it. All of this, along with some subtle visual effects, lets every fight shine, and for a film about boxing that is really important. The absolute stand out moment is the fight in the middle of the movie, I mean wow, I know there are probably cuts in there somewhere, but the direction, acting and editing is so tight you just get wrapped up in the flow.
The next thing that just works in this film is the chemistry between the cast. Part of this comes from the excellent script by relative newcomer director Ryan Coogler, and from the pacing of the film, however, a lot of credit has to go to the cast because they put everything of themselves into this movie. Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky is one of the most parodied characters in the film, but wow Stallone’s performance of a man past his prime, a hero, but irrelevant, is haunting. Michael B. Jordan’s Creed starts out as this spoiled brat, but as the film progresses you can’t help but rally behind him as you feel his pain of loss and abandonment, and you want to see him overcome it. Tessa Thompson’s Bianca would be relegated to just being a love interest in many other movies, but here she has her own story, her own drive, and she more than stand toe to toe with Creed. It’s these relationships which drive the film, in a way I was not expecting all of the cast have chemistry together, it feels like they are people and not actors playing a part. It is a truly moving experience, I was not expecting tears in a Rocky film, but there they were.
Don’t get me wrong I loved this film but it is not a perfect film, though you have to look hard for the nit-picks. The start of the film drags, Michael B Jordan walks around with a John Snow impression, and it is full of clichés, thankfully all of this disappears when the film hits Philadelphia. Also, we get it, Nike, you have a sponsorship deal with the movie, but it felt like your logo was in nearly every scene.
It has been a long time since I have seen a movie that had the audience so engaged with a movie, every punch in the last fight connected with the people around me, it had emotional weight, and everyone wanted to see it until the end. I don’t know if I can give it any more praise than the audience did, but I can tell you this will be appearing in my top movies of 2015 list.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Directed by – Ryan Coogler
Screenplay by – Ryan Coogler & Aaron Covington
Story by – Ryan Coogler
Based on – Characters created by Sylvester Stallone
Starring – Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad & Tony Bellew
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Ireland: 12A; NZ: M; UK: 12A; USA: PG-13