AUSTIN VAN PAY, ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST
Even without the iconic name in the title, “Creed” can be considered the official seventh entry in the long-running “Rocky” Franchise that began nearly 40 years ago in Nov.ember, 1976. After director Ryan Coogler’s small-budget success in 2013, “Fruitvale Station,” he returneds to direct “Creed,” which, shockingly, is only his second feature film debut. Coogler’s film not only shines as being an excellent entry into the “Rocky” franchise, but also a fantastic film that deals with anger, love, friendship, family and determination of one young man to reach a dream.
The star of the film, Adonis Creed, grew up in Los Angeles with trips in and out of juvenile facilities and a life without a father. Years later, he’s now living in the lap of luxury with his late father’s widow. Adonis abandons this life and his job in order to take his boxing passion head onpursue his passion for boxing.
The trouble is, Adonis’s father is Apollo Creed, one of the greatest boxers who ever came out of Philadelphia, and the name follows him everywhere he goes. Adonis seeks to live up to his father’s name, while making his own name for himself in the process. Adonis knows only one person who can help him become great, and he’s one man who faced his father head- on in the ring, Mr. Rocky Balboa.
Although “Creed” still contains the boxing tropes that you come to expect, it surpasses expectations and delivers some of the best cinematography and performances of the year. Thanks to fantastic cinematography from Maryse Alberti (“The Wrestler”), Philadelphia becomes a character itself. The boxing scenes are intense and spectacularly shot to the point where you can almost feel the impact when someone lands a punch.
The greatest assets of the film are actors, Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan. Sylvester Stallone returns to play one of his most beloved characters, Rocky,, and delivers a heartfelt and emotionally powerful performance of a man that is growing older and seems to have lost everything that kept him going. Stallone was born to play this character, and it’s one of the best performances of his career. Michael B. Jordan shines as Adonis Creed, a young man who isse angry, vulnerable, determined and wanting so badly to have someone in his life whom he can truly call family. He’s someone that you want to root for. The bond that builds between these two characters is unforgettable and, in many instances, pulls at your heart strings.
Overall, “Creed” is a fantastically shot, directed and acted film that breathes life into the long running “Rocky” franchise. Both the actors and Ryan Coogler have successfully rebooted “Rocky” for a new generation.