"Creed is a refreshing surprise that breathes new life into the franchise."
In the era of reboots, the Balboa saga continues with Creed. Possibly the most iconic sporting franchise in cinema history, the Rocky films mixed gritty realism and epic campiness, a winning formula that sports films have duplicated since.
This sequel/reboot follows Adonis Creed (Michael B Jordan), who wants to become a world-class boxer but lives in the shadow of his father, heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (who died in Rocky IV). He trains under his father's rival and friend Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone).
Creed is a refreshing surprise that breathes new life into the franchise. Writer/director Ryan Coogler treats the material effectively, creating a modern feel, layered characterisation, solid emotional depth, and exhilarating fight coverage (particularly through long, unedited takes). It isn't revolutionary like the original 1976 film, and still hinges on its legacy. Franchise newbies may not grasp the entire story weight, but it still engrosses.
Jordan proves himself a worthy lead physically and emotionally while Stallone, in his umpteenth portrayal of Rocky, gives the veteran character greater depth, embracing old age fragility and wisdom giving his best performance in years.
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Creed is surprisingly good, hitting all the right spots and making you cheer for more.