Creed (2015) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Creed (2015) Directed by Ryan Coogler. With Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson. 

Brody-Creed-Is-a-Knockout-1200

After achieving critical acclaim together on 2013’s Fruitvale Station, the teaming of writer-director Ryan Coogler and actor, Michael B. Jordan takes an unlikely left turn into the world of Rocky Balboa with Creed, a film that continues the legacy of the Italian Stallion while birthing a new, youthful strand of storytelling.

Jordan plays Adonis, the son of Apollo Creed from the first four Rocky movies. A prime physical specimen, Jordan is excellent in a performance that conveys a great balance of reverence, arrogance and guts – mirroring the personalities of both Apollo and Rocky, while conjuring a new character born out of abandonment, learning how to live and love. It’s exactly the kind of emotional depth many people wrongly disassociate with the Rocky movies, which in essence, are a series of films about a character who happens to be a boxer.

Stallone is never more at home than in the skin of Rocky Balboa, a character he has built and evolved throughout six previous films of varying quality. In 2006, his return to the screen (and ring) as Rocky was a glowing triumph of nostalgia and heart, in which the passage of time had forced the character onto the ropes of life as the underdog we could all root for, once again. That same theme is continued here, almost 10-years later as Balboa opines – “Time takes everybody out; time’s undefeated”. 

Huge recognition must go to Ryan Coogler, who does a J.J. Abrams with Creed, co-writing and directing the film to appeal to fans old and new – not only fully understanding the sense of heart and rhythm a ‘Rocky’ movie needs to have, but also the importance of past and present, and never being bogged-down by trying to service both. It’s a hard trick to pull off, especially to make it all feel so natural, but he does it with ease.

Familiarity and affection for the character and the series as a whole, is a must for getting full value out of Creed. There are nostalgic references to each of the six movies, but one particular nod to Sylvester Stallone’s real-life deceased son, Sage, who co-starred alongside him in Rocky V, is so heartfelt and touching, that as Stallone plays the scene, you can see the love, affection and loss burning behind his eyes. If only for this moment, the man deserved that Oscar statuette. In short, a beautiful, emotional film that resonates a strong sense of love, friendship and family. 5/5

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About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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31 Responses to Creed (2015) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. Amazingly beautiful review

    • garethrhodes says:

      Aw, thank you so very much for saying that. The film made a massive impression on me. I’ll be thinking about it for months. Isn’t it wonderful when a movie does that?!

  2. Martin Richmond says:

    Loved this movie, quite possibly my favourite film in the franchise!

    • garethrhodes says:

      Martin, I completely understand why you’d pin this one as the best in the series. I think it stands toe-to-toe with Rocky (1976) and Rocky Balboa (2006) as a wonderful piece of heartfelt storytelling.

      • Martin Richmond says:

        100% agree Gareth, I certainly think it’s the best performance Stallone has given as the character, and Michael B Jordan wow, I really felt he deserved more award nominations for his work!

      • garethrhodes says:

        Yes, Stallone plays the loveable banter so well in the previous films, and he’s still got that here, but there are things in this movie that demonstrate what an underrated actor he is. Totally with you on Jordan too, he turns in a massively impressive display here. I wonder if we’ll see more from Adonis in future movies?

      • Martin Richmond says:

        I hope so, I look forward to see where they go with the franchise.

      • garethrhodes says:

        Yes, I hope we see Sly again too, even if it’s only a little cameo. I want to know that Rocky’s OK. The ending with the steps leant toward a sense of hope that he was going to be.

      • Martin: Out of this Film World says:

        I certainly think Sly will be a big part of the next movie, who’s gonna direct it though I wonder? As Ryan Coogler is busy with the Black Panther film

      • garethrhodes says:

        I’m curious about that too. A high standard has been set now, so it needs to be in the hands of a special talent.

      • Martin: Out of this Film World says:

        Definitely, trying to think of a director who I’d like to see take it on but no one is jumping to mind at the moment…

  3. dreager1 says:

    I definitely thought that they did a good job with this film. It was better than I expected.

  4. brettmkane says:

    I went into this film not knowing what to expect, and left blown away. It still resonates with me all of these months later. On the surface, it’s a boxing movie, but it’s really about the relationship between two men who are in search of a true purpose in life. I love every second. Great review, Gareth!

    • garethrhodes says:

      You’re absolutely right in what you say, and you say it beautifully. What an impressive film Creed is. It’s one that will be looked back on with increasing fondness, as the years progress. There’s so much genuine, heartfelt love in this movie.

  5. I was hesitant to see this one because it didn’t seem like my “type” of thing, but I’ve heard great things about the film and your review really elucidated them.

  6. Chris Evans says:

    Excellent review Gareth, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this one. I’m yet to see Creed but as a big fan of Stallone and the original Rocky/Rocky Babloa (and I have no shame in admitting that I enjoy the other sequels for what they are, sugar coated, cheesy feelgood factor and all) I plan to rent it very soon. It’s great that Marvel have enlisted Ryan Cooglar to direct Black Panther to potentially deliver a superior breed of superhero film.

    It’s easy to knock Stallone as an actor, and he’s admittedly made some lazy choices in the roles he’s taken over the years, but with performances in Rocky, First Blood and Cop Land he’s much better than he’s often given credit for.

    • garethrhodes says:

      I’m very much looking forward to your review Chris, I can more or less guarantee your enjoyment here, bearing in mind your affection for the series. You’re absolutely right about Sly, he’s a highly talented guy with a huge body of excellent work, even if he has done a few turkeys over the years. Who hasn’t?!

      As for Coogler, Black Panther is lucky to have him. This guy is a real talent to keep tabs on.

  7. SpeedySailor says:

    Though I didn’t love it as much as you did, I thought it was great film and an excellent review. Check out mine if you’d be so inclined; https://stuffandthatreviews.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/creed-2016-review/

  8. I keep forgetting to rent this one; sounds like it’s very well worth the time to find it and watch it. I think Michael B. Jordan has a great career ahead of him.

  9. Lloyd Marken says:

    I’m so glad you’ve finally reviewed this film and enjoyed it as much as I did. We got lucky last year with arguably the first good delayed sequels to beloved film franchises. I hope they quit here but I said the same thing after Rocky Balboa. I enjoyed your review, check out mine if you’d like. In Stallone’s performance I was struck how he played the scenes directly after the diagnosis. I agree the photo of Sage is a nice touch. I really wanted him to win that Oscar, just goes to show there’s still too many snobs in the Academy. It would have been such a Hollywood moment and really he did deserve it as much as anybody.

  10. Awesome review, glad you liked it as well.

  11. moviemeal says:

    Love the review. Huge Stallone and Michael B Jordan was fantastic. I just started a movie blog myself for university and I would love it if you could give it a look. My passion for movies is now being marked by a professor hah almost took the fun out of it. Interaction on my blog is one of the areas I am marked on so I would love if you could help me out. Sorry about the long post! Thanks!
    https://moviemeal.wordpress.com/

    • garethrhodes says:

      I’ll head over to your blog and have a good root-around then. It’s good to encourage each other, and more so, a complete stranger. I wish you success.

      Thank you for reading my review. Sometimes, I get a bit gushy about films I love. I find that the hardest thing to hold back, when my enthusiasm is bubbling over.

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