DIRECTOR: Ryan Coogler
At first glance, this would seem to be jumping on then reboot bandwagon. Following the mixed reception for 2008’s Rocky Balboa, Creed is accepting that Rocky has had his day, quite litterally.
Rocky is no longer the titular character of what is essentially a soft reboot of the forty year old franchise which bagan with the both oscar winning and career defining breakthtough from Sylvester Stalone, earning him the Best actor gong back in 1977.
But after the gritty street-to-prize fighter flick from 1976, the franchise gradually slipped into generic franchise mode, culminating in the most outragiously entertaining Rocky V; after Rocky IV was erroneously credited with ending the Cold War a full two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall!
Rocky V would prove that they were out of ideas and ended the franchise on a low note, only for it return in 2008 with the aformentioned Rocky Balboa, along with John Rambo (or just Rambo as it was called in the end), a film so poorly recieved that it barely reached a cinema screen and fell in to abject obscurity, unfairly might I add, but I digress…
But here we meet Apollo Creed’s illegitimate son (Michael B. Jordan), who is, of course, out to prove in traditional Hollywood fashion, that he is not his father and will box his own legecy.
Along the way he meets up with his estraged and late father’s rival turned best bud, you guessed it, Rocky Balboa. The aging fighter turned restaurateur/trainer who takes him under his wing and the pair fight their respective battles until Creed the younger is pretty much in the same place as Balboa was in the legendary finale of Rocky (1976), losing the fight but winning where it counts.
But, we can forgive this as like Rocky (1976) four decades earlier, this was a boxing film of its time. As gritty in 2015 as Rocky was in the mid 70’s, the boxing movie with a heart of gold was back, with a slightly different story to tell but as far away from the latter Rocky movies a possible.
This could have been a bog standard movie of today, but there is no doubt that the appearance of Stalone’s Rocky’s makes this something special.
Like Star Wars: The Force Awakens did that same year, it pulls out every nostalia card possible and pulls on the heart strings of its core fanbase and the casual viewers like me, in order to elivate this standard tale into something, feeding on and expanding the mythos surrounding it.
Would this have been as enjoyable if it was just about some lad call Creed? Probably not, but when he is being trained by a cinematic living legend, it feels greater than the sum of its parts.