WARNING: This review will contain spoilers, so go watch the movie then come back and enjoy my thoughts on 'Creed'
My knowledge of the Rocky franchise isn't great since I've only seen the first one, however Creed made me want to watch all of it due to the excellent story, breathtaking finale, and excellent depiction of the strong fighter Adonis Creed. Not only that, but 'Creed' offers stellar performances from the cast, particularly with Sylvester Stallone.
All of the fight scenes in the movie were done fantastically. The one in Mexico and the one in LA were both done in one shot, and it added to the realism of the scene. The choice of doing one shot was an excellent decision done by director Ryan Coogler. However, by far the best fight scene was the last one in England. Each cut just added to the intensity and stakes, and one thing I noticed was the usage of close ups. There were plenty used in this scene, and it was mostly focused on blood and suffering caused in the fight. This was another excellent decision as it added to the whole intense and brutal feeling that was mentioned before.
'Creed' gives us excellent depictions of themes such as inspiration and the will to win by the fights shown in the movie, but the relationship between Rocky and Adonis was an excellent depiction of fatherhood and having someone to look after you. One major theme I saw was when Adonis was knocked to the ground and cut to the past events, but eventually getting up when he remembers Apollo. This showed us the importance of what his father meant to him, and how he values a male figure for guidance in his life. We also saw this theme play out through the relationship with him and Rocky. Stallone's iconic character doesn't play as a fighter, but more as a mentor who teaches Creed to become the best not just in the ring, but in life as well. One of the best examples was when Sly said that he himself is his greatest challenge, which can be interpreted both ways. I also thought the idea of Rocky getting cancer was great as well, as it showed us that Adonis can prove to be a mentor for Rocky as well by telling him not to give up. One of my favorite scenes was when Rocky and Adonis speak once he finds out about his cancer secret. This showed us that even our mentors can be at fault as well since Rocky's thoughts of how he viewed Creed were inaccurate. Although they're technically not family, they both count as family due to the ways Apollo had an effect on Rocky. As a whole, these scenes displayed the themes gloriously on screen, and I was very pleased with the way they chose to execute it.
I don't like to mention acting performances as I feel it's a way of simply getting more written down on a review, but I must discuss the performance done by Sylvester Stallone. He stole the show for me because he proved that he can still act! The past few years have not been great ones for him since he's starred in movies like 'The Expendables', however Stallone proved that he's still great as Rocky Balboa as he captured the idea of a mentor/teacher to Adonis brilliantly. Not only that, but even the most heartfelt/emotional scenes were VERY well done, and Stallone showed us all that he's still capable of actually acting! He blew me away with his truly moving performance, and I wish he will do more in the future like this. Great job, Sly!
Although there was much to like about 'Creed', I did find some parts very unnecessary and not needed, mainly with the love story. The way Adonis and Bianca both met, the fight they had, and their relationship as a whole was very uninteresting and predictable because I've seen it done before numerous times. I also didn't like how It's the simple "boy meets girl" story where they meet, fall in love, get into a fight, then get back together situation just done in a good Rocky movie. The first Rocky movie did have a love story between Adrian and Rocky, but that was a much better storyline since that's what 'Rocky' was mainly about. It ended with Rocky and Adrian declaring their love and we see them progressively get closer and closer. It was executed well in that film, but I wouldn't say the same because about this one since it's handled very poorly. It's not the center of attention and only adds slowness to the film. I think removing this storyline completely would be satisfying and decrease the slow parts of 'Creed'.
Overall, I was very surprised by how much I likes 'Creed' because I wasn't intrigued by the trailers. They set it up to be another cliche boxing movie, similar to this years 'Southpaw'. However, I was very surprised by the enjoyment I found in this Rocky sequel due to the themes that are explored beautifully and the intense, heart-racing boxing scenes. Sylvester Stallone also did a fantastic job as Rocky himself, and provide that he's still a great actor. Check out 'Creed' if you have the chance!
MY SCORE: 9/10